By Maggie Nelson
The Soap Creek Artisans, a group of artists who live in the Soap Creek Valley, will be hosting their third annual Soap Creek Show and Sale at the historical Soap Creek Schoolhouse on Saturday, Sept. 6. The historical Soap Creek Schoolhouse, a unifying figure for the group and “beacon of the valley” as group member Anne Lahr rightly put it, is nestled into the valley, along Soap Creek Road.
The group was founded over three years ago when Vicki Idema, who works with fabrics and fibers, sat down with Deanna Peters, who fuses and sculpts glass, and together they broadcasted their idea of starting an artisan group within the valley. Soon after, several artists across the valley were meeting about once a month, discussing artwork, getting feedback, finding support and encouragement in a unique environment, and developing together as artists. Today they are a total of eight: Anne Lahr, Sam Hoffman, both potters, of personal unique styles; Dale Draeger, Judy Dedek (aka Judy Moon), both painters, but of very different genres; Joe Crockett, a photographer; Kelly Nutter, the group’s other glass artist; and Idema and Peters, the founding mothers of the group.
The Soap Creek Valley is, in the words of Draeger, the “daily bread” for these artists. It is a means of support and connection for the group. It is a place to find solace, but also to escape the isolation which comes with being an artist. It is a place to convene with other artisans from different backgrounds, and to reach similar goals. The valley is thus not simply their home, but inspiration to their artwork, and in turn, the Soap Creek Artisans are the medium and the mouthpiece of the intoxicating harmony of the Soap Creek Valley. For this reason, the group stands fastidiously on the grounds that all members must live in the Soap Creek area, but as long as applicants meet this criterion, and produce high quality fine art, they are eligible to be considered as new members.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the show and sale on Sept. 6, you will find pieces of fine art from all members of the group for sale, as well as a unique variety of wines from Treos Winery, including one of the self-claimed “biggest, baddest, boldest” pinot noirs you’ll hope to encounter, and live music. Find out more information about the group, check out some of their artwork, and keep an eye out for more upcoming events at their website, www.soapcreekartisans.org/index.html.