David Therriault hopes art lovers will do two simple things during Countryside Artisan’s Spring Gallery/Studio Tour during the weekend of April 26 to 28: slow down and enjoy.
Therriault, of Alden Farms in Beallsville, is a stone sculptor and one of 18 artisans opening their studios for the free, self-guided tour. With all the studios located in the countryside in Montgomery and adjacent counties, the tour requires a bit of driving — but with spring in full bloom, that’s part of the appeal.
“It’s all about not rushing through, about taking time to enjoy the art and the scenery,” Therriault said. “I’d suggest that people pick out a group of four or five studios, hit those, then grab lunch and head home for a nap.”
The tour involves artisans from Middletown to Sandy Spring, working in mediums ranging from oils to glass to wood to textiles. Left thirsty for more? Then check out the tour’s winery and brewery artisans.
Therriault, who grew up in Potomac, moved to Alden Farms 30 years ago. He and his wife ran a garden shop on the nearly three-acre farm until he began to focus on sculpting stone about eight years ago.
Sculptor David Therriault at work.
Photo credit: Pam Heemskerk
“I’d worked with a Japanese artist as a teenager and learned so much about the weight and balancing of stone. I used stone in landscape designs, then graduated to making benches and even bells,” he said. “Now I have pieces all over the country.”
The former retail shop houses his studio, or what he aptly refers to as his “dusty area.” Often inspired by the Aztec and Native American cultures, Therriault has his design in mind — but not on paper — when he selects a stone slab to shape.
Tour visitors can view some 50 sculptures in marble, limestone, sandstone and granite, placed along paths that wind around Alden Farms gardens. One disc-like, etched sculpture in granite includes a half-moon of glass, while other pieces incorporate steel accents or patterns created by intentionally rusted surfaces.
While the size and weight of stone lends heft to each piece, there’s also a sense of movement in many of his designs. “I often use lines etched into the stone,” Therriault said of a piece inspired by Kachina dolls. “Lines help the eye to find a place to rest, but at the same time, provides movement.”
Many of the studios will offer craft demonstrations, live music and food, and have invited additional guest artists in to display their work during the tour weekend. Alden Farms, for example, will have nine “pop-up” artists set up in tents on April 27, as well as bluegrass music and lunch (reservations required) from noon to 3 p.m.
“I hope people come out and enjoy themselves. They don’t need to buy anything,” Therriault said. “It’s enough that they pat me on the back and say they like my work.”
Countryside Artisans of Maryland spring tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday through Sunday, April 26 through 28. For information, visit www.countrysideartisans.com