The first weekend in May is all about eye-candy. A plethora of artists call the Rim Country home. Twenty-six of those artists will show their work in 17 studios during the 'Neath the Rim 2008 Open Studio Tour. Jim Bayles is one of the newest artists on the tour. Traditional, one-dimensional stained glass pieces did not intrigue him, nor did working with ready-made patterns.
"I figured I wanted to make something functional that could sit on a floor or a table, so I struck off on my own and started making clocks," Bayles said.
Four years later, at the prompting of his neighbor and renowned batik artist Marilyn Salomon, he joined the tour.
From an idea in his mind, Bayles creates his own paper models including a downhill skier, a hummingbird in flight, an elk and a bear, first.
Next, he does his color layout, then he figures out where and how the clock will fit into the design.
Presently he is working on a hummingbird clock with flowers, which he plans to complete in time for the tour.
3D stained glass is "fun and relaxing" for the mechanical engineer who, by day, "draws straight lines" in his job designing air conditioning systems.
Come nighttime, for the past few years, Bayles spends about three hours "dabbling" with his soldering iron and bits of colored glass.
For the man who has always given his creative work away to family and friends, this is his first foray into the business side of the art world with sales and commissions.
A snow boarder, two elk locked in battle and a golfer are all projects on his drawing board.
He is looking forward to the public's reaction to his clocks.
The annual tour is an opportunity for people to leisurely peruse Rock Newcomb's intricate Southwest still-lifes and portraits, Pat Sessions' wildlife oil paintings, Carole and Alan Snyder's pottery and Georgianne Smolenski's hand-woven, wearable art pieces, to name but a few, while they talk to the artists.
Artists on the tour come from all walks-of-life, including "professional" artist.
For instance, Rock Newcomb, now famous for his realistic Southwest still-lifes, walked away from early-retirement at age 53. The former teacher is on the road five months of the year at shows, and paints the remaining seven.
Pat Sessions calls herself a "beginning artist." Painting is an exploratory process. "Life is too short not to try everything," is her motto.
Smolenski has a friend who spins the llama and alpaca hair she weaves with dyed rayon and cotton on her looms. The resulting textile is visual, tactile and wearable.
The Snyders have played in mud for 83 years. Alan likes pieces that are multi-functional such as platters, tabletops and wine carafes.
Carol finds pottery an addicting medium. Stained glass and copper are often combined in her works.
"She was the best student I ever had," Alan said.
The studios are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, May 2 through Sunday, May 4.
Tour guides and maps for the show are available at Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Payson Library. Signs will point the way to the different studios from Pine through Payson to Christopher Creek. Maps are available at each location.
Each studio on the tour will have a raffle item. Raffle tickets cost $1 each or six for $5. Proceeds go to support arts at Payson Head Start, JRE, FES, Payson Community Christian, Shelby, Payson Center for Success, Payson Community Kids, Tonto Basin School, Son Shine Club, Whispering Hope Ranch, and Shining a Light in Pine. Payson Art League provides hands-on art experiences and library books in area elementary schools.
2008 Studio Tour Artists
Glenda and Bob Roark
Carole and Alan Snyder