This September, Sierra Arts Foundation presents Open Studios 2023. The 13th annual event will allow the public to tour 12 studio locations displaying, demonstrating and offering for sale the work of over 20 artists in Reno, Sparks and Wadsworth. Ahead of this exciting opportunity to peek into the practices of local artists working in a wide variety of mediums, we spoke to four participating artists about what attendees can expect from their contributions to the event, which will take place Sept. 8-10 from 11am-5pm. 

Katie Packham— Mosaic Art at Copper Cat Studios

Since mosaicist Katie Packham quit her day job to become a full-time artist 15 years ago, her practice has grown to resemble her primary medium. In addition to working as a yoga and reiki instructor, Packham is the owner of Copper Cat Studios, out of which she runs Tessera Glass tile supply and teaches courses in mosaics alongside a dozen other artists who instruct in a variety of mediums. For Packham, these pursuits unite under their shared potentials for healing. Originally a muralist and interior designer, Packham transitioned to working in mosaics after moving to Reno and has participated in Open Studios for over a decade. For this year’s event, she will be demonstrating a new “chunky, 3D” mixed-media mosaic style that makes use of organic materials, broken pottery, glass, and rusted metal set directly into tinted mortar.

A mosaic piece by Katie Packham

Tina Drakulich— Papermaking at 1000 Cranes Paper Mill at Artech

Tina Drakulich, founder of 1000 Cranes Paper Mill and the DJD Foundation, considers papermaking to be a “pregnant” art form—one that, besides existing as a diverse medium in its own right, possesses the ability to give birth to works of sculpture, painting, printmaking, and more. For Drakulich and the many veterans she serves through the David J. Drakulich Art Foundation for Freedom of Expression, papermaking can also be a catalyst for healing. Drakulich founded the nonprofit, which provides art classes and workshops in papermaking and writing free to veterans, after the 2008 loss of her son David, who was deployed with the US Army in Afghanistan. In her own practice, Drakulich creates large and small sheets, origami sheets, and many origami cranes that may be spotted floating around town. For her first year participating in Open Studios,1000 Cranes Paper Mill will be offering papermaking demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on experience at Artech.

A string of cranes by Tina Drakulich

Karen Vetter— Ceramics at Dreams to Reality Pottery Studio

After relocating to Reno from Berkeley, Karen Vetter was working as a medical administrator for UNR’s School of Medicine when she started taking pottery classes on Wednesday nights 26 years ago. Now, Vetter is in her 16th year teaching ceramics at the Nevada Museum of Art and is the founder of Dreams to Reality Functional Pottery Studio, where she also teaches pottery classes. Dreams to Reality operates out of Vetter’s property in Spanish Springs, from which she will be participating in this year’s Open Studios event for the fifth time. At this year’s Open Studios, she will be offering pottery for sale, and, on Saturday, an interactive demonstration of Horse Hair raku firing, a technique by which ceramics are decorated with the carbon impressions left by laying strands of horse hair on burnished pots fresh out of the 1600-degree outdoor kiln. Guests will have the chance to watch the outdoor firing and to participate by laying the horse hair designs. 

Karen Vetter’s ceramics are decorated with the carbon impressions left by laying strands of horse hair on burnished pots fresh out of her kiln.

Maria Partridge— Painting (and more) at Artech

Since moving to Reno from the Bay Area 20 years ago, Maria Partridge has become deeply instrumental in the Nevada art scene. Since 2017, Partridge has been the Executive Director of Artech, a collaborative studio space that hosts artists’ studios, creative entrepreneurial endeavors and also offers art classes to the public. She is the Curator for Sierra Arts Foundation, a Liaison for Playa Art and previously spent almost two decades teaching a variety of artistic mediums at TMCC. A lifelong painter, Partridge says she was heavily influenced by a creative family that boasts Flamenco dancers and a Mexican muralist. Her practice, which began with watercolor, now mainly consists of large-scale acrylic works that depict abstract natural landscapes. At this year’s Open Studios event, you can visit Artech to see her pieces alongside the works of many other artists and makers at the cooperative studio space that sits on 13.5 woodland acres.

Sierra Arts presents Open Studios Sept. 8-10 from 11am-5pm. The event is a self-guided tour to 12 artists’ studios in in Reno, Sparks, and Wadsworth. You can preview the  route and learn more about the artists here.

Photos courtesy of the artists

Cover photo: Karen Vetter’s ceramics are decorated with the carbon impressions left by laying strands of horse hair on burnished pots fresh out of her 1600-degree outdoor kiln.

Posted by Delaney Uronen

Delaney Uronen is a Northern California-born writer and UNR graduate who now lives in Reno. Art, community, and landscapes keep her bouncing between both places.