For 15 years now, the Philomath Open Studios Art Tour and Sale has brought together artists, art forms and art enthusiasts.

Artists from each of 15 host studios select a new artist to pair with to display and sell artwork during the two-weekend event. The 15th annual tour, which kicks off on Saturday, features 32 artists.

Watercolor artist Debby Sundbaum-Sommers has been involved in the tour for 13 years, and has shared her studio with many different artists.

"I started out as a host studio when I joined the group, and have hosted a variety of artists from jewelers to woodworkers," she said.

Her guest artist this year is Nena Bement, who works with glass and fiber creating fused glass objects and quilted pieces. Sundbaum-Sommers will display watercolor paintings and hand-pulled prints.

Some hosts try to choose artists who work with other media they feel will complement their own art.

"Nena's fabric work and glass pieces are a wonderful, colorful counterpoint to my work," Sundbaum-Sommers said.

Fiber artist Beth Rietveld returns as a guest artist for a second year in ceramic artist Aaron Reizes' studio.

"He thought fiber arts would be a nice combination. I think we work well together," Rietveld said.

New guest artists joining this year's tour are painter Dominique Bachelet, who will be at clay artist Dale Donovan's studio. Woodworker Katherine Edwards is with host digital artist Kat Sloma, and painter and printmaker Jana Johnson is paired with acrylic artist Faye Cummins at her studio.

West Albany High School art teacher Babette Grunwald is hosting two of her student artists, photographer Bennett Holt and painter/illustrator Jenna Thomas.

The 15 host sites will display mixed media, metalwork, oil paintings, pastels, stoneware, wood-fired ceramics, jewelry, mosaics, kiln-formed glass, drawing and printmaking.

"Our visitors mention how much they enjoy seeing the different studios and meeting the artists," Sundbaum-Sommers said.

The tour allows them to ask questions and have the artists explain their individual processes.

Rietveld remembers how Reizes fielded many questions about his pottery last year. People watching him work with his wood-fired kiln were full of questions.

"His studio is right next to the kiln. It's quite exciting to see when he's actually doing the firing," she said.

Rietveld often worked on her baskets during the event, and is more than happy to discuss her process with visitors.

"I love sharing that information with people. I think it's important for us to share our art, and how we create it," she said.

Rietveld said meeting new people has been her favorite aspect of the Open Studios event.

"We had a lot of traffic on all four days. I met a lot of people who were familiar with my work and, of course, that makes me feel good as an artist," she said.

Sundbaum-Sommers said another perk of the tour for viewers is getting a sneak peek at projects the artists are creating.

"At several studios, it's an opportunity for people to see new artwork before it's been placed in a gallery setting," she said.

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