By day, Lynn Gustafson is a buyer for the City of Scottsdale.
But on nights and weekends – and any other spare time she may have – she’s in her home studio creating countless fused glass art pieces.
It’s a hobby and passion she picked up about 15 years ago, and her love for the art is the reason she and her husband purchased their home in southern Scottsdale neighborhood, Sherwood Heights nearly 11 years ago.
“Part of the reason we bought this house is because of this room,” Gustafson, pointing to her studio.
“What’s nice is this neighborhood has a bunch of working artists in it, so it gave us an opportunity,” she continued. “I’m one who loves to see other people’s workspaces, and I like to see how people organize their workspaces.”
Gustafson soon learned she wasn’t the only curious neighbor. So, she and a handful of others organized the Camelback Studio Tour and Art Sale.
The free event, which enters its 11th year this year, takes place Nov. 1-3, and includes nine stops featuring a total of 26 artists ranging from metal art and gourd art to fiber clay, oil, watercolor, and acrylic paintings, and more.
“I try and make it different mediums, different folks so that we’re not swamping the market,” said Gustafson, now the sole organizer of the event.
And at each studio, attendees can purchase pieces directly from the artists.
“We wanted to fill a void, which was a place for artists to show their work that wasn’t a gallery, and for people to realize that there is more. Scottsdale doesn’t just stop at Main Street, as far as art is concerned,” said Gustafson.
While some artists are in a gallery, the Camelback Studio Tour and Art Sale is the only time most of the participants show their work.
“Or, it’s their biggest display of work,” Gustafson said, adding that the event attracts about 300 people over the three days.
“We wanted to make it small enough, so now I cut it off at 25 – except for this year because I didn’t count myself and we have 26 – but it has grown,” she said. “What’s interesting is we get, every year, a few more people, and we have a lot of repeat people, which is fun.”
Gustafson describes her fused glass art as “schizophrenic” and “functional.”
She creates everything from earrings and keychains to catch-all dishes and framed pieces — many of which feature her favorite icon imagery, skulls.
“I enjoy having my nuts or berries or whatever in art pieces,” she said. “I think glass is a very vibrant medium – just because it’s sparkly, and we’re all a bunch of crows.
“There’s lots to learn, which I like that aspect of it. So, I don’t know if I could say I have a style because it’s pretty varied.”
Gustafson’s home, which is Studio No. 3 on the Camelback Studio Tour, will feature five other artists: glass and metal jewelry artist Anita Farrah, Julie Gilbert Jewelry, fellow fused glass artist Anne Mello, oil painter Devon Meyer, and Fiona Purdy, who creates fine art portraits of cherished pets.
“The Camelback Studio Tour and Art Sale not only offers art enthusiasts a chance to mix and mingle with their favorite artists and see current works in their own studios, it is also a great chance to buy local art direct from the source for holiday gift-giving,” Gustafson said.
Gustafson, for example, will have jewelry, bowls, and artwork for sale with prices starting at $10.
“We are proud to host this event which serves as a way to promote local artists and preserve their masterpieces,” she said. “I think Scottsdale would still like to be thought of as an art-driven community besides the Western stuff.”
Seven of the nine stops are located within the Scottsdale neighborhood located between 54th Street and 60th Street and Oak Street and Thomas Road.
The tour does include, however, two stops in Phoenix, just outside of the Scottsdale neighborhood.
The two special stops include stops to artist Kevin Caron’s studio on 46th Place and The Shemer Art Center, which is hosting an art show the same weekend.
Guests are welcome to start at any point during the self-guided, three-day tour, and a printable map is available on the event website.
“The best part of it is you see where the people create, and you get to talk right to the artist and see how they do their art and what inspires them. And I think that a lot of people buy art because they like the artists,” Gustafson said.
If you go
What: Camelback Studio Tour and Art Sale
When: Nov. 1-2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Various homes in southern Scottsdale and Phoenix