"Carved Basket" by Nick Blaisdell
"Carved Basket" by Nick Blaisdell (courtesy photo)

FARMINGTON — For the fifth year, Colorado artists will be opening their studio doors to give visitors a glimpse of an artist's inspiration.

The Durango Open Studio Tour starts at 11 a.m. Saturday and continues Sunday. It features 22 artists in Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio.

Friday night, doors will be opened at the Durango Arts Center, where some of the participating artists will be displaying their work.

Nick Blaisdell, a ceramic artist, will show his work. He will also be showing at Feat of Clay Gallery in Aztec later this month as part of the gallery's ceramics show.

Blaisdell said he makes highly-decorated stoneware, but a lot of it is not functional.

"The work sort of speaks for itself," Blaisdell said.

Blaisdell, who has been doing pottery since 1965, said he has dedicated his life to art.

He has participated in the tour for the past two years. He asks people what intrigues them and then shows them how its done. For example, he will show them how he decorates his bowls or how he makes a slab pot. He said if no one asks questions, he'll just do whatever he feels like doing that day. However, people almost always ask questions.

"People are enthralled with the process,"

For Blaisdell, after a month of hard work getting 50 pieces ready to be placed into the fire, opening the kiln to see the finished product is his favorite part of ceramics.

"That's the ultimate rush," he said.

Denise Leslie, publisher of Arts Perspective Magazine, which puts on the event, said when her company took the tour more than three years ago, 20 Durango artists participated. Since then, the tour has expanded to include surrounding communities.

Leslie said the tour is a rare opportunity when artists open their doors into their "personal space."

"It's understanding how that piece is created," Leslie said. "It's always an educational experience."

Leslie said art is important for people because it provides a way to deal with stress.

Leslie, who is an ukulele player, said she turns to music when she's stressed and feels lost. She said music and art provide a therapeutic escape for people.

"I always say art saves lives," Leslie said. "I truly believe that."


What: Durango Open Studios Tour

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Preview: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Durango Arts Center, 802 E. 2nd Ave.e

More info: durangoopenstudios.com

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.