Monthly Archives: September 2011

Studio Tour, Gardening, Canning and Freezing

It just got busy around here.  Studio Tour weekend, the apples and grapes are ripe, if we don’t get the grapes soon the raccoons will eat them.

9_21_11_grapes 9_21_11_appletree

So we secured them with a mesh cover while they finish ripening.  After the tour we will make apple sauce and apple jelly, then work on the grapes.

We’ve almost always have had a vegetable garden in the back.  When the girls were growing up we grew a lot.  We even had a pretty good size corn field one year.  I can picture the kids picking the carrots, washing and eating them.  I remember when we hired Annie Wise, a friend and Sheppard, to watch after Emily during the summer months when we were busy.  They would stroll through the garden sampling the bounty.

This year we had problems in the spring.  It was too wet.  Our tiller broke.  We were too busy.  We started some seeds as we always do, but there was such a lack of sunshine that it was just terribly hard this year.

I guess that’s why I’m so excited about the apples and grapes.  We made and froze seven apple pies yesterday.

With the price of food and fuel and absolutely everything, we are making a concerted effort to economize.  Canning and freezing berries and vegetables just makes a lot of sense to us right now.  We always have too much during the summer and not enough in the winter and I really dislike buying food from Mexico and Chile.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with those countries, except for maybe the civil war going on in Mexico.  There might even be one in Chile and I wouldn’t know right now, there’s just too much going on here.


Here’s what the gallery entrance will look like for Studio Tour this year.  We got a good deal on 10 mum plants, love the colors.  In August we planted two very nice Asters.  The Aster pedals are very good in paper so I have to remember to peel them after this weekend and dry them for my next paper making episode.

Studio Tour 2011

This is the third year we’re doing the tour with the Adirondack Artists Guild in Saranac Lake.  They do the tour in the Autumn, we always did ours during the summer months.

Initially the Jay Artisans Studio Tour was the second weekend in July.  The second was noted because it was always a slow weekend coming off of the Fourth of July.  Then the Ironman Race decided that was the weekend they were going to race.  Of course no one bothered to poll the businesses in town as to whether this was a good idea for our tourist dependant businesses and so we moved the Jay Tour to the second weekend in August.


I dug into the archives on my cloud and found this from 2003.  Cheri Cross went out and got sponsors for the tour so we raised move printing money.  I worked on the brochure.

9_21_11_studiotour05By 2005 we were combining the JEMS brochure with the Studio Tour brochure, I think this was Fred’s idea, it was also used to promote Tourism for Jay.

I did the brochure and Cheri got our advertisers

2007 was my last year doing it, because it was too much of a hassle dealing with all the details it takes to put it together.  I had some serious fallings out with people and I just decided it was better use of my time to look after number one and our own business.

Joan took the Tour over for two years and did a wonderful job.  It was a real treat to just pay our $50 entry and sit back for the benefits.  I never got paid for all the time spent on the brochure, gathering info and dealing with people.

That’s why we love this new Tour too.

Sue was the impetus to get us involved in the Saranac Lake Tour.  They get a grant and a large distribution.  There are over 30 studios to visit and it goes for three days.

We are very happy to be a part of it.  We don’t see nearly as many people over here as they do in Saranac Lake and compared to our Jay tour it’s probably less than 25%, but ours was in the heart of summer, and to have this Tour happen on a Fall Foliage weekend works really well.  This year we will be demonstrating, wheel throwing, clay instruments, raku and book binding.

History of Studio Tour

You really forget so much of what you did 15 to 20 years ago, at least I do.  Raising a family, running the business, volunteering in non-profit organizations.  I was trying to date the original Jay Artisan’s Studio Tour so I took down the box on the top shelf which contains 15 pounds of scrap clippings, brochures, etc….

I found so much more related to the eventual Studio Tour that I decided to start in a chronological order from the time that we were married and our business started.

We’ve always enjoyed talking and demonstrating our work, so people have always come into our studios.

pday_1987_article1987 – We started the Participation Days with a screen print, (don’t remember the image) but people could come with a tee-shirt and print the image themselves for free.  People came with lots of shirts or just fabric. Later on I received a gift of my screen image on a pillow.

It’s been fun over the years to see people wearing the tee-shirts that they printed here.  My favorite hiking tee-shirt is one of those images, “Adirondack Swirling”.

Sue had mugs ready to be decorated with colored slips, we clear glazed and fired the mugs for just $3, good deal.  It was fun to see the designs and hear the stories about where the mugs were going.

The idea was to get people to see the handmade nature of the work we were doing.  To understand that it was made here in the Adirondacks, by American Craftspeople, that it was original and one of a kind.


pday_1988_cardprintWe began our Holiday Card Printing.  People could print their own holiday cards with our screen image.  Standard size cards came with an envelope.

It was a big hit and I had to schedule some people in for other times to accommodate everyone.

The map on the poster/mailer on the left shows other businesses in town.  We were also promoting how a person could shop in Jay at the different businesses.  One business was the Sugar Bear who we created a special relationship with and we would give fudge away to customers for free, or once we arranged to have a free lunch for customers.

Those are stories reserved for another article on all the Merchandizing trials we have over the years.


pday_karenglass demo_suepottery
 We began having other Craftspeople join us in the studios helping people Participate in their crafts with them.  Over the years Sue has given many demonstrations in her studio, to home schooled groups, girls scouts and many others.


Over the years we’ve tried a lot of things to our art out to the public.  We’ve always felt a need for people to understand the exciting techniques that we use to create our hand made work.

We created an “Understand Raku” presentation, complete with a video and examples.
We tried it in several venues around Plattsburgh.


The Studio Tour begins.  It included the large country block bounded by route 9n to the east, route 86 to the north, Hardy Road to the west and Springfield Road on the south.

It was in both Jay and Wilmington.  We had balloons to show where each studio was, it eventually became pointing fingers and now it’s “Artist At Work” signs outside each studio.

We got some good press right off the spot.  We knew from doing press releases the papers liked black and white photos, so we always would include images in our press releases.


I remember that we did it originally the weekend after the Kiwanis Craft Show…..we eventually advertised it as a week of art and craft in the town of Jay, beginning with the Craft Show and ending a week later with the Studio Tour.

Many people had their hand in the making of the tour, but it was still a lot of work getting the map together, dealing with people and printers.  All the little details it takes to get something like this off the ground every year.

st_1992_map st_1993_map
  Arto Monaco was on the tour this year, having his old studio open to the public. This map was designed by someone else for this year, I didn’t care much for it, but it was nice to have someone else do the work.
pday_1993_poster pday_1994_article

We continued our Participation Days right through the Studio Tour period.
in 1993 that day would have been one week after the Tour and two weeks after the Craft Fair.
So we were having good business in the month of August in those years.

I see that the date for 1993 is the weekend before Labor Day.   We had organized a craft show outside Saranac Lake at Donnelly’s Corners, it eventually became the Lake Clear Juried Craft Show.  When we stopped doing it there and it moved we then had that weekend open and I believe we were doing Participation days in July and August.



1993 must have been a very busy year for us.  Emily was 2 and Corrine started school that year.
In addition to the Participation Days and Studio Tour we did our First Annual Holiday Card Screen Printing.  I have posters showing that we began card printing in 1988, so I don’t remember why we called it our First Annual…..perhaps we stopped doing it while the kids were still toddlers.

Once the children began school, Sue was very active in the girl scouts and in the elementary school with art projects for the children and the school principal Joe Kahn was very supportive of her work there.

st_1994_map1994 – I couldn’t nail down the date that this first morph of Studio Tour ended.

But this is last year I have for the Wilmington/Jay Studio Tour.  By this time it was called the “Artisan Studio Tour.

Its always been an effort getting a group of people together, organized, to make something happen.

I’ve found it best to work with a firm deadline and budget so that everyone involved knows exactly what to expect.  When those aspects of a plan aren’t adhered to, disaster results.  I know.

The Studio Tour stopped at some point, because I was hoping someone else would take it over.  True we made good money on that weekend, but for all the time it was taking to put together it just didn’t seem worth it to me anymore.

So I stopped doing it, tried to get others involved, but the Studio Tour stopped.


We were doing two Participation Days during the summer, one in July and one in August, we worked hard to drum up business.

It was working, we got a lot of press and we had advertising that included all the events we were having at the gallery.

Up to this time we were still showcasing our work in our old gallery space and all the Participation and Demonstrations occurred in the studios.



By the 4th annual card printing date we were getting quite a following.  I never kept track of how many cards we screen printed, but we needed to make reservations.

Sue and I would work out new designs every year, one of my favorites was the teapot pouring out ice skaters over a frozen Adirondack Lake.

pday_1988_cardprint_2The Covered Bridge was a very popular card that year.



This poster for a Raku Demonstration from ’95 included a small handout receipt for a drawing for a piece of raku.






1996_demodays pday_1996_flyer

By ’96 I think the Wilmington/Jay Studio Tour was over.  Regardless of whether a group was formed to make the Studio Tour happen Sue and I continued to do our Participation Days, in July and August.  In place of the tour we had a Demonstration Day that year.

Here I was offering a “Spontaneous Drypoint Etching Workshop” among the other events that year.


I remember Grace Potthast from Gallery in the Glen asked about starting up a Studio Tour again and that is how the second incarnation of the Tour began, this time as the Jay Artisan’s Studio Tour.

By now there were more artists and craftspeople in Jay that wanted to get involved in the Tour.  Sue created the Moose and Rider drawing and we were going in a more whimsical direction this time.



As I remember there was certainly controversy almost every year of the Tour.  First the Ironman came to town and happened to be on the date we traditionally was using for our Tour… we had to move our date.  It was annoying to be pushed aside by the town and not having our businesses considered. In view of the fact like many north country businesses we totally depend on summer traffic and here was a weekend that they were taking away from us.  It continues to this day, the Ironman race that comes through the town of Jay has been disastrous for small businesses like ours.

There were other controversy’s within the Tour group….who should be on the tour, was it a tour for artists and craftspeople or should other businesses be involved.  It was always on going and even Sue and I were on different sides of the issue.  I wasn’t a purest, I was a realist.  I was for other businesses, I felt the more the merry as long as we were all making money.

st_2001_lpnews st_2003_article st_2005_article

from the years  2001 – 2008 the Jay Artisan’s Studio Tour got a lot of excellent press in local papers, mostly the Lake Placid News was very supportive.  We also got North Country Public Radio from Canton as a sponsor. In 2002 I got the domain name, and put our little tour on the web, with an interactive map.  Click on a number and you went to one of our fourteen studios


I had a woman from Washington State call me around 2003 and ask questions about our studio tour.  She had been to the studio tour website. She was writing an article about such tours and after I filled her in on how ours was organized, she decided that we had the best tour in the country for artisans, and she was going to write about it.  There was a link from the magazine article to our website.

What made it so good was the cost per artist and what they received from it.  That’s because several of us did all the work, getting sponsors, graphic design, dealing with printers, dealing with participants….etc.  As I looked around the web at other studio tours, you could see that many of them charged quite a bit more for participants on the tour, and very few equaled the quality of our graphic brochures.

Here’s the 2003 brochure and map.

st_2003mapCherri was able to get us sponsors as Patrons of the Arts
and I believe it was her who got us a grant from the Visitors Bureau, and so we were able to
increase the amount we got printed.  It was also around this time we combined the brochure
with the JEMS brochure of summer events.

st_2004_brochure st_2005_brochure

As the years moved forward I continued to do the graphic design work, deal with printing and around 2004 we began advertising other events that were going on in the town of Jay.  It seemed only natural to combine JEMS as I was with the group since the beginning and it was an important part of our town by now.

Probably 2005 was the peak year for the Studio Tour in my mind.  It was the last year I was involved in the planning and graphic design for it.  I was getting burnt out from dealing with people both with the Studio Tour and with JEMS, we were busy building a theater in Jay at this time, and I was feeling unappreciated, as well as having a daughter going overseas as an exchange student, business was going sour and changing, friendships were deteriorating as well.

I’m not sure if there was a Studio Tour in 2006 I think I decided too late for anyone else to take it over and therefore it did not happen that year.

I bowed out and Joan took over the tour planning for the next two years.  I continued doing the website and I made the posters for the tour.  Graphic brochure was done by someone else, and all we did was put our $50 in, sit back and get a crowd on the Studio Tour day.

 2007  2008
st_2007_flyer st_2008_flyer

It was enjoyable having other people do the work, and I really got a kick out of it.  After all I was still quite involved with the website and posters.  BUT it wasn’t enough to keep the tour going and when Joan didn’t want to do it after two years, Jay Artisans Studio Tour was over.

Essentially, because I didn’t want to do it anymore.

I say that because the first time it ended, it stopped because no one picked up the ball from me,  this time Joan managed it for two great years.  But being retired and with grandchildren and other plans there was no one else to do it.  I felt that we could still generate Studio Tour interest ourselves, like we did before with our Participation and Demonstration days.

2009 – 2011


But our lives are changing too.  Health concerns, taking care of aging parents, it would be difficult to be involved in the same endeavors these days.  That’s why we joined the Studio Tour organized by the Adirondack Artists Guild in Saranac Lake.  They do a wonderful job as this tour has grown to forty studios spread out from Jay to Tupper Lake.  But we just received word that the woman who was organizing the tour has decided to bow out after five years.  Bummer.  We’re hoping someone will pick up the ball and run with it, again…..

Looking back on my days of the tour I have this advice for anyone who was as energetic as I was, and as passionate about showing your art/craft work and demonstrations as I was.  Do it yourself, get grants to pay yourself and have people who do the tour pay you a proper amount for your work.

Orders, New Designs and Cutting Lottsa Paper

Goblet sales had slowed down for this summer and then out of the blue four separate orders came in.

Sometimes customers want to have the wording around the rim specialized, I don’t think Sue charges extra for that.  She keeps a list of her sayings posted somewhere in the studio, so she doesn’t have to come up with new sayings each time.

We’ve never understood how retail sales work, but after being in business for so long we have seen patterns emerge.  One of the patterns is like these orders for goblets.  Goblet sales really were lax over the summer, usually it’s one of the more dependable items, people are always buying them for gifts.  Then out of the blue come four orders.

Sometimes in the gallery we’ll notice something that is just sitting there for the longest time, we will pay attention to it and move it, or turn it around or something like that, and very soon after it will sell.  No kidding.  We’ve seen it so much it’s spooky.  It’s like we put our attention and energy into the piece and customers were drawn to the energy that was still there.  We’ve talked with Lee & Cheri from the Jay Craft Center about this and they totally agree in this phenomenon.

Recently Sue did some Raku.

We had a new propane tank put in and we tested it, it worked fine as you can see.

I love her shapes they are so organic and alive.

I’m her biggest fan.



A while back I advertised for apprentices to help me cut paper.  I got a big response from the Jay News and chose two.  One fellow I just never seemed to hook up with and he lived over by Styles Brook which flooded really bad, so I might not hear from him again, as he was a professor in a university and must be back at school by now.  My other apprentice still might work, but she teaches pre-school and we have yet to work out a time.  So….I started the dreaded cutting of signatures for forty books.

I have a cardboard template I made, line up the slots and cut away, I have 6 sheets of paper there, so I’m cutting through 12 layers all together once folded.  This is why I hate doing this part of the book, it’s so tedious and hand numbing.

I’ll also take some photos when I weave the pages and covers together, then I’ll make a creative tour of the Piano Hinge book and put it on my Bookarts website.

Sue unloaded a kiln yesterday.


I thought this piece was really cool.  Sue was pinching this pot with the neck off to one side when she did a demonstration for someone to show them how her molds work.  She chose the cat mold and then she didn’t want to waste the cat so she attached it to the pinch pot she was working on.  That’s how this pot came about.  I love the little pink tongue.

Blueberry Stoneware mug by Sue Burdick Young, Young's Studio & Gallery, Jay NY

I noticed this mug came out of the kiln, I love her blueberry design, I hadn’t seen it on a mug before.

Pottery by Sue Young, Young's Studio & Gallery, Jay NY

This is Sue’s new blue glaze and new Multicultural design.  It’s based on Henna designs and Sue keeps some ideas on a sheet of paper tacked up in her studio.

9_7_11_hennadesignsThe thought just occurred to me about making an Eating Art page about all the things we have hanging in our studios.

Recently I heard Sue telling a customer about the energy she receives from the gourds she has hanging in her studio.  They wanted to buy one and she wouldn’t sell it, and that was the reason.

Sue had a wall of admiration until recently, we had to move it when we put the pellet stove in.  It contained letters and cards from people and groups that Sue has made work for or did volunteer work for.  We’ll have to find another place to put it.

In my studio I seem to have a lot of written words on the walls, or sketches of ideas.

The Flood

The flood of August 28-29 in the valley of the East Branch of the AuSable River was devastating to many families and the community at large.

First off we had no damage, I was busy for three days running a generator for my Mom who was on oxygen, cooking and cleaning, etc…..

We have friends who lost their homes, some of them are salvageable but will have to be stripped of sheetrock and probably re-wired.

Luckily we only lost a week of business as roads into Jay were cut off and detours abounded.  We continue to help out where we can.

I feel really lucky and we are giving back to the community in many ways, but I also wonder about what is going on, with almost everything.

This flood was seven feet above the former high water mark, houses flooded that never flooded before in 150 years of living in the valley. That was pretty unusual.

I’m concerned that the weather is really affecting business in general, that the government, both sides, have really affected business too.  There just seems to be an incredible greed and corruption that has eaten away at the fabric of our Government.  I know business is good if your a very large international company, because they’ve moved all their jobs overseas for cheap labor, but that’s left a huge portion of country out of the middle class and thus, out of small mom and pop business like the one Sue and I run.

I know it’s a fact.  We have many friends who are just like us, run really small businesses and we are all in the same boat.  The fabric of this country is changing and I don’t know it or like it.

So this has turned from weather into politics and that is never good.  ha ha ha

I guess it’s just frustration with everything.  We have close to 30 years of business in the Adirondacks, many ups and downs, making it totally as craftspeople.  Raising two thriving daughters, contributing to the community and the Adirondacks in so many ways.  Making a difference I will dare say.  And now facing an uncertain future, with the weather and the economy.

Like so many others.