Jillian Barber sat stringing ceramic sea creatures Thursday morning in her Jamestown studio.
"There are almost one hundred of them," said Barber, a ceramic sculptor who grew up in Westerly. "I have some beautiful fish ... a whole school actually ... and sea horses, baby turtles ... and mermaids of course."
Barber, who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design — where she studied clay with Norman Schulman and glass with Dale Chihuly — is one of 30 area artists participating in this weekend's 14th annual HopArts Studio Trail. She plans to set up her creatures — and several other creations — at Ashaway's Crandall House, along with woodworker Richard Heines Jr., watercolor artist Catherine Radix Mansell and jeweler Carol Nash.
"It's fun being a guest," said Barber, who is participating for the second year in a row. "It's an incredibly well-organized event."
Barber said she has created a ceramic lionfish adorned with hand-made lace, a rosefish with a flower, and an assortment of plates and dishes, all of which will be on display.
A free, self-guided tour featuring stops in Hope Valley, Wyoming, Ashaway, Rockville, and Carolina, the HopArts Studio Trail will take place Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The annual event, begun in 2005 after a few local artists decided to showcase their work together, has grown to include artists with studios in farmhouses, barns and mills, according to Etta Zasloff, who helps publicize the event. Participants will be giving demonstrations throughout the two-day event, Zasloff said, and selling their work.
Larry Davidson of Westerly, a retired teacher who has been "in love with photography" since he was very young, will show his work inside a Hope Valley barn along with Claudia Hartman, an art teacher at Chariho Middle School.
"This is the first time for me," said Davidson earlier this week in an email. His work, he said, "ranges from realistic to abstract," and his subjects include "people, nature, and cityscapes."
Davidson said he's been participating in art shows for "about four years now," and while he's "always loved taking pictures," it's only recently that he's "begun to do 'art' photography."
He and Hartman, whose ceramic and fiber work reflects natural objects found in the woods, are at number four on the tour.
Award-winning mixed media artist Rick Devin, who has exhibited his work across the country, and has been creating his whimsical, one-of-a-kind pieces for more than 40 years, will open his Hope Valley studio to visitors. Hans Viets, an artist and musician who also has a studio in Brooklyn, will open his Rockville studio to show his paintings, which are typically created "using acrylic and sometimes oil paint on canvas or wooden panels."
Zasloff said a gold banner will fly outside each artist's site with a wooden number that matches the map in the HopArts 2019 brochure, the official guide to the 7-mile-radius driving tour of open studios and exhibits. The brochure, which includes a map and biographies of the participating artists with images of their work, is available online and at many area businesses.
Funding for the trail has been provided in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and other private funders, Zasloff said.
More information, along with the brochure, are available at www.hoparts.org.