Karen Ford, artistOne of my favorite events of the season in Westport’s Holiday Art Trail, where local artists open their studios and invite visitors in to view their work and hear their stories. This is the third year of the Art Trail where finding the studios is like an adventure hunt. Some are tucked away next to streams, situated in an old  barn behind a house, or down a windy road in the woods. Each of the artists are a delight to visit with as you experience their creativity.

I wish I had seen more children on the Art Trail, being exposed to art and the creative process. I’ve written before about how language is linked to art as kids create and talk through their masterpieces. Sometimes a child’s favorite part about writing a story is illustrating it. They come up with new ideas as they express themselves visually.

I was pleasantly surprised to see artist Karen Ford at the first studio stop. I had been impressed with Karen’s ceramics since I was introduced to her at this summer’s SoNo Arts Celebration in South Norwalk, Connecticut. She describes her work as “functional porcelain with melted glass inlay thrown in a Japanese, contemporary style.” Translated, that is a beautiful combination of peaceful, aesthetic pieces to use or just enjoy looking at.

Elise Black, artistThe next stop was Elise Black’s studio. This gracious multi-media artist encouraged us to wander through her home, taking in her impressive collection of works. From the custom glass backsplash in her kitchen to this vibrant collection of found objects, (one canvas included a bicycle wheel), you are visually entertained. After reading Elise’s bio, with a background in fashion illustration and textile design, it made sense that her studio had bags of fabric scraps and canvases using suede and other fabrics.

Keep your eye out for special programs during the holiday season to expose your kids to the arts. Don’t limit yourself to seemingly adult programs, just like you wouldn’t skip The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ask your child to choose a favorite piece of art and ask them why? You might just learn something.