If you want to watch Franc van Oort etch, you might have to set up a tent in the front yard of his studio along Upper 4th concession Road outside Perth, and wait out the procedure; for the acid etching to get done, it takes about that long. Before that is the drawing, and that takes some time, too. What takes the least time is the printing on his 50-year-old printing press. Depending on the etching, he’ll print maybe 75, perhaps 100, possibly 150.
Thanksgiving Day was the third day of the Perth Autumn Studio Tour. It was grey and drizzly, but the studios bright and inviting – a good way to end the long October weekend.
A warning on the studio-tour map cautioned drivers to be aware of narrow, winding country roads – and mostly they were. No one wanted to miss a studio.
Van Oort, along with 20 other artists, welcomed visitors, some offering a demonstration (as van Oort did).
Six studios opened their doors, each hosting one or more artists – painters, sculptors, printmaker, fence maker, carvers, canoe builder, glass blower, furniture maker, weaver, felt maker, photographer, and, of course, a chocolatier.
A traditional rail sheep fence met those driving into the yard of Studio 2; inside, visitors could be fitted for a perfect pair of leather shoes, choose a colourful cushion, or a mobile.
Another studio featured an ‘Ent’ table (not to be confused with an end table); at one, Eye of Sauron-like metal art jumped out, heavy glass goblets at another and then there was Ludwig Ratzinger, Mr. Chocolate himself. All in all, it was a good tour, very Canadian scenery and left visitors with hopes and wishes for the Christmas to come.