Press Releases

Studio Tour Press Releases

Chestertown RiverArts

CONTACT: Barbara Vann

For Immediate  Release: September 2013)


The Chestertown RiverArts 14th Annual Studio Tour, October 26-27 and November 2-3, has grown and diversified. The first tour was held in 2000; there were twelve artists in their studios. This year we are thrilled that there are fifty-eight artists and artisans on the tour spread out among some forty studios.  Here is the opportunity to meet the artists, learn about their creative processes, and see their varied surroundings.

The studios can be divided into four categories. There are several storefront studios that include the working area and a gallery showing off the latest creations. There are two small studio complexes: Cannon Street Studios  and  Arts At Still Pond Station. And finally, there are studios that are at the artist’s home; some are detached from the house and others are in the home itself.

Below are descriptions of some of the studios, many in the words of the artists themselves:

Dave and Patti Hegland began moving their kiln glass studio to downtown Chestertown about a year ago. “WeStudio Tourbit  -Hegland Glass studio - love being in the heart of Chestertown with RiverArts as a neighbor”, says Patti, who with her husband, Dave, are partners in Hegland Glass. “There is a lot of energy in this location. Visitors enjoy seeing first-hand the process of creating kiln glass art, gain an understanding of the complexities of our craft and have the opportunity to purchase Hegland Glass directly from the studio.”  Their new location, in the breezeway of 315 High Street, provides the space needed for the design and construction of their pieces, storage of their raw materials, room for their kilns, a separate sound-suppressed “cold-shop” where the glass is ground and polished, as well as a gallery area for display of finished work. 

Marjorie Morani – “I work in oils with a palette or painting knife and in pastel. Much of my work is figurative or landscape but lately I have been exploring more abstract painting. Up until 2012 I worked in a studio in my basement. The light was artificial but adequate. In October 2012 I rented a space in the Cannon Street complex…I go in five days a week and generally work 5-6 hours. I’m getting a lot more painting time as I am not doing the zillion things that need to be done at home. I also love the fact that there are other artists in the building. There is a lot of support and camaraderie. The studio is one large room with windows on the western wall…The skylights have northern exposure. I do my own framing so I have a framing table on one side of the studio. I love my studio; it is my home away from home.”

Rick Bisgyer– “As a porcelain artist creating wheel thrown vessels inspired by the graceful curves of sails and hulls, and the ever-changing character of wind driven water, it is my very good fortune to create my work amongst the beauty that surrounds my studio. Studio #3 at Arts at Still Pond Station is in one of the old bunk rooms with a view of the docks from a repurposed Coast Guard Station on Still Pond Creek. Window sills hold collections of beach glass and found objects. The shower is used as my storage locker for windsurfers and sails, waiting for the right wind conditions. During Studio Tour you will find my studio a combination of working ceramics studio and brightly lit gallery for my work. The pottery wheel sits at an angle to take in the sunlight and allows me to daydream about boats and sailing…My drying racks are arranged with bowls, vases, and my signature ‘Sailing Vessels’ with their sail shaped lids. This is a place where I play as well as work, and strive to stay centered through clay.”

John and Nora Carey (Davis Creek Studio) are husband and wife who share a building which is adjacent to Studio Tourbit - Nora Careytheir house and contains their workspaces. One of their goals when moving to the Eastern Shore was to pursue their individual creative work.

Nora’s studio is upstairs. According to Nora, “I paint in pastel and watercolor. My space includes a large table where I can spread my pastels and choose a color palette for my paintings. At the north end of my studio, French doors lead out to a deck which overlooks Davis Creek. Here I can paint the clouds and water in their swiftly changing moods. My studio includes many unique features designed by John including arched doors with driftwood handles.

John Carey has a workshop below Nora’s art studio. John says, “I was encouraged to join in the Studio Tour since I built the studio and house and have made most of the furniture and fittings in the house. I enjoy making things from found and local wood. One can expect to see a variety of items mainly made of wood. I’m retired and now spend most of my time in my workshop or mending my wooden boats.”

Studio Tourbit - Robert Fox

Robert Fox – “I build furniture in the Shaker style made from cherry, walnut, mahogany and poplar. My studio consists of a small garage crowded with woodworking machines. I cannot even walk around in there.  But, when I open the garage door there is a brick pad outside. That is my true studio. All the machines are on wheels. It takes just minutes to bring out whatever I need for the day – sander, planer, table saw, joiner, drill press and the rest. The blowing wind is part of my dust disposal system. I have the birds, fresh air, and extensive gardens to enjoy. Our house on the Chester River is isolated. My solitude is thus complete and I can focus…on my passion, striving to make each piece better than the last.”

Linda Hall – “My studio is in the sunroom of my kitchen. I love it because it’s so light but adjustable with blinds and ceiling track lighting. I always wanted a separate studio with north light but now realize if it were separate from my house, I might not go out to it as often to paint. I enjoy being able to peek at a piece in progress, sort of sneak up on it to get a removed view of the work and find that’s good for self-critiquing. Also if a piece is not working out for me, I studio tourbit Linda Hallcan always cook, stir a pot of soup to be creative. I work primarily in watercolors and oils. Because of having my studio in the kitchen I switched to water-soluble oils that don’t use a toxic solvent. They can be cleaned up with water.”

For more information on the tour and to download the brochure with descriptions of all the artists’ work and directions to their studios, go to



What do a mechanical engineer, journalist, accountant, computer engineer, commercial artist, architect, teacher/social worker/ management development specialist, a nurse, an administrative assistant, a mayor, and architect all have in common? They are now artists and artisans who will be opening their studios to the public for the first time during the RiverArts 14th Annual Studio Tour, October 26-27 and November 2-3. A theme that runs throughout the artists’ “stories” is that they have been interested in art and craft from a very young age.

David Biehler has always been interested in art but somehow the practicality of earning a living prevailed and heVirginia Shack by David Biehler spent his career in the technical systems arena. For the past ten years he has been very active in camera clubs in Northern Virginia serving as their president and web manager. He was awarded Photographer of the Year several times. Now that he is retired he can pursue his passion for photography more vigorously.  “I strive to ‘get it right in the camera’ but will make minor computerized adjustments to recreate and emphasize the mood and feeling of the location. The Eastern Shore supplies ample opportunities for beautiful images of wildlife, landscapes, and life on the water. The atmospheric conditions in early morning and late evening are perfect for all artists.” 

John Carey is a woodworker who enjoys using old wood to make furniture and other items. “The first thing I remember making is a sled out of an orange crate when I was about seven years old. It fell apart the first time I used it. Whimsical Windsor Chair by John CareyThe only training I had was in a program run after school which I attended for a year around the age of fifteen.  Woodworking is a hobby which I have clearly enjoyed since I was a boy” But what a hobby! John built his house and detached studio and made most of the furniture and fittings in the house. His career was in the packaging industry as a mechanical engineer. Happily retired, he divides much of his time between repairing his two old wooden boats and building things in his workshop.

Melinda Carl can’t remember a time when she wasn’t interested in art. “I remember going straight to the art books whenever I had a chance to go to our local library while growing up.” Although she didn’t pursue art school, she minored in art as an English major and was often “painting in my mind when I didn’t have time to paint.” Melinda has worked as a journalist, editor and freelance writer and most recently, served as a public affairs chief for an environmental agency. Soon after she stopped working out of state last year, she looked for a place to paint away from her house where she had trouble escaping unending projects. This summer she rented one of the Cannon Street Studios in Chestertown. “Even though the studio is about 12 miles from my home in Rock Hall, it’s exactly what I need to immerse myself in painting nearly every day” She works in oils, watercolor and pastels and paints weekly with a local group of plein air artists.

Karen Douglas sees herself on a twisted road well traveled. She earned two degrees; one in art history and the other in accounting at the Virginia Commonwealth University. Opportunities to travel and study had her in Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Russia, England and the Netherlands, where she was drawn to sculptural and architectural elements. Mesmerized by a potter working clay on a potter’s wheel, she took classes and later taught adults and inner-city children. Mentored by a raku potter, Karen is drawn to the spontaneity, unpredictability, and instant gratification of the raku firings. “The process of pulling hot pots out of a fire, plunging them into sawdust, smothering the oxygen, and discovering the hidden glaze and crackle when the pots cool is awe-inspiring.” Now retired from a career in accounting, she works as a potter part-time. Karen will be one of three artisans displaying raku and stoneware pottery at Joan Reed’s Georgetown Studio. “Visitors are welcome to select a pot to glaze for raku firing and take home their own one-of-a-kind design.”

Betty Kerr says she was always doing some kind of fiber art, but found rug-hooking her true love after seeing it at a fair. “I received Pearl McGown Teacher’s Certification after studying and attending week-long workshops for four years around the country and abroad. I consider it painting with wool, using my own designs as well as commercial patterns. Teaching rug-hooking is my second career, the first was as an administrative assistant in the business world.”

Joe and Bonnie Masslofsky have very different backgrounds but have both come to love designing jewelry. Joe Ice Blue Sterling Wrap 500 by Joe Masslofskywas a computer engineer when computers were the size of a large room. Bonnie has a degree in commercial art and worked in advertising and publishing. After these careers, they owned their own bed and breakfast in Pennsylvania. They converted an 1888 Queen Anne Victorian into a 5 guest room inn. Following the sale of the inn, they continued in the business managing other b&bs. That brought them to St. Michaels and the Eastern Shore. Bonnie signed Joe up for an art class to learn PMC jewelry making at the Art Academy Museum. “I told him to come back with a hobby. It worked and he fell in love with it. Then I learned how to make jewelry from Joe.”  Joe and Bonnie work with natural sea glass that they find in the Bay area. Joe wire wraps them with sterling silver and 14K gold filled wire. Bonnie likes to combine the pendants with semi-precious stones for one-of-a-kind necklaces.

Judith Miller has always been interested in art, born to it as she sat at the knee of her grandmother, who was a working artist well into her 80’s.  Judith studied at the Portland School of Fine Art in Maine as a painting major. Still her formal fine art education was almost parenthetical to the education realized as she moved from watercolors and graphite drawing by Judith Millerpen and ink through pottery, pastels, and finally graphites.  Her other life, as a career woman, included being elected Mayor, a Municipal Authority Manager and work in the Non-profit Sector. Throughout that time she continued as a working artist, including ownership of a graphic design company.  Currently Judith’s passion is working with graphite “due to its almost mystical ability to preserve the most intricate of details while reducing the subject matter to a binary dance between darkness and light.” Born in a love of traveling and the kindness she has received as a stranger both here and overseas, her work is focused on preserving disappearing peoples through graphite images – drawing attention to the loss of habitat, the death of native languages, cultures, and dress, and the relentless global encroachment of the richness of their lives and legacies.”

Carol Mylander works in oils, watercolor and pastel. “I have been painting in oils since I was 14; I was taught by my artist grandmother. Eventually I attended the Maryland Institute of Art. I paint landscapes, oyster shell studies, the disappearing landscape, ancestral houses and nature in all her glory. I think there is a common thread between my careers in gardening, art, and cooking – same creativity using different mediums!”

Glenda O’Neal taught art for 37 years kindergarten through high school. Now she finds time to create her own art, working in clay and watercolors. Her favorite subjects are the bay and flowers and she especially enjoys making tiles.

Kenneth Schiano is a painter whose work is constructed from dust (dry pigments or anything else lying about) The Slope of Time VIII by Ken Schianousually on prepared paper. “I’ve always been interested in art; my father was a weekend painter… I took a circuitous route in the pursuit of an artistic career. I received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cooper Union and while there I could often be found hiding out in the painting studios of Wolf Kahn and Robert Gwathmey. Other than those experiences though, I suppose I am primarily self-taught.” While Ken’s primary career has been as an architect, he has been a full-time artist since the 90’s.

Cynthia Stafford has always been interested in art since her mother would sketch or paint in the little free time she had (which wasn’t much since she had eight kids), “ I fell in love with watercolor during a high school art class.” Cindy was a teacher, social worker, and spent 20 years as the Director of Governor Services with the American College of Physicians. In 2005 she began preparing for an art-filled retirement and started taking occasional weekend workshops at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. She has also taken classes with Linda Hall so “I guess I am a mixture of self-taught and training. I work in watercolor, doing primarily flowers and landscapes. My biggest interest in landscapes is the sky. I love trying to depict the sky in different weather conditions and timeframes. The city life in Philly was very interesting and stimulating, but I love it here on the Eastern Shore and now I want to really use the right side of my brain!”

Pam Watroba says she is a self-taught artist. “I have been interested in art since I can remember. I worked at various painting crafts (oil and acrylic) off and on while working a full time career as a nurse and raising a family. My son majored in art at Salisbury University and my love of art was renewed. I still paint but my love is now mosaics. I try to use recycled articles in my mosaics such as beach glass, tumbled glass, recycled tiles, small chains, gears, etc. Each piece is a labor of love and no two are alike.”

For information on all the artists on the tour go to where you can download the 2013 Studio Tour  brochure.


CHESTERTOWN (July, 2013)


If you would like to see the grand scale of the custom timber frame workshop where Vicco von Voss creates his signature one of kind pieces of furniture, please visit 145 Island Creek Rd in Centreville on November 2, 10am- 5pm, rain or shine, during the Chestertown RiverArts 14th Annual Studio Tour.

If you would like to see perhaps the smallest, yet coziest, of the studios on the Chestertown RiverArts Studio Tour where architect, Ken Warwick, creates his abstract charcoal drawings, then visit 20 First Avenue in Betterton on October 26-27.

Vicco von Voss is a well known furniture maker, whose designs are inspired by forms found in nature.  His work often contains and can be recognized by his signature “von Voss Swoop,” a shape based on a water droplet.  His furniture also draws influence from art deco and contemporary European design.  Central to his philosophy is listening to the inherent nature of the wood when creating his work.

After developing his business for 15 years in his downtown Chestertown studio, in 2008 Vicco was ready to create his dream workspace.   Once his idea was set in motion, he devoted eight months exclusively to completing his vision. In February 2009, the doors of the new workshop opened, and Vicco resumed his commissioned furniture work.

The 2400 square foot workshop has a spacious feeling, with arched ceilings rising 26 feet high. The floor plan is much like a cathedral with the central bay and hoists and two side aisles for upstairs storage of wood. There is also one bay set up as a metal shop so Vicco can fabricate his own hardware.

The building design was organized around an open floor plan that would accommodate a central hoist system that allows Vicco to lift and move timbers, slabs, and furniture around with ease. There are two massive doors that open up so that Vicco can bring in equipment, his trailer or truck. “Essentially, I designed the space so that I can single- handedly manage my projects.”

A traditional post and beam construction, the timber frame is held together by 100 braces, 1000 pegs, and no nails.  A truly “Green” space, most of the building material was in some way recycled: all the lumber used in the building was salvaged from local trees that had fallen in storms, and other components, such as the spiral staircase and the funny gremlin shaped wood burning stove  which were trades and hand-me-downs. In addition to the small wood -burning stove inside the shop, the workspace is kept warm in the winter by a radiant floor heating system. This system is fueled by a large outdoor wood furnace fed by milling off-cuts. Vicco custom engineered and constructed the exterior walls to be extremely energy efficient.

Ken Warwick’s work is created comfortably within an intimate space. His drawings are about time and timelessness, structure and intuitive response.  He takes pleasure in choosing the simplest thing you can do – making small marks and repeating them over and over.  He then builds up layers until he creates a rich, complex design, giving up the white of the paper as it becomes darker and darker. More recently, he has turned to color, again using the same approach.

In 1989 Ken came to the Eastern Shore looking for a getaway home, something completely different from his urban Baltimore row house life. An article in the Baltimore Sun led him to Betterton where a water view, which was essential to him, was affordable. He fell in love with the remnants of the old Victorian resorts there, the friendly character of the town and all that Kent County had to offer.  His home is a contemporary reworking of a small summer cottage, steps from the mouth of the Sassafras River and the Chesapeake Bay and was featured in Chesapeake Life magazine.

In 1991 Ken bought a piece of property a block away from the beach but the house he designed for it was never built. In 1998 he bought the property adjacent to it which had a small structure on it.   He planned to rehabilitate it but found that only the slab was salvageable.  Instead he designed his cottage on the original footprint. He moved in finally in 2006. Today there are three structures on the site; a 750 square foot cottage of which the studio takes up 210 square feet, a separate screened in structure which has a water view, and a garage that may one day be converted into a painting studio.

Though it is small, it feels open and airy. As profiled in the Chesapeake Life article, “Ken borrowed a Japanese design characteristic where rooms are open to one another, creating a feeling of continuation, movement, and space.” When you sit in one space, you always see another; you never feel enclosed. At its peak, the ceiling is 18’ high which adds to the open feeling. “Another cultural inspiration came from the minimal, clean design favored in Scandinavia which is where he got the idea to paint the pine floors bright, reflective white.” Ken also made sure that there is natural ventilation throughout the house; it picks up the prevailing winds off the water.

While Betterton is mainly a summer community, Ken uses the cottage year round. “I like it here in the winter”, he says. “It’s very quiet and peaceful. My drawing work tends to be somewhat cerebral, and it’s kind of nice to have that simple, quiet, almost stark quality around….My artwork has changed being here. Before it was rigid, dark, and more theoretical. Now it’s more open and the landscape is creeping into the work.”

Ken’s work is found throughout the house. Unfinished pieces grace the walls of his studio so that the design can be studied and evolve. Visit Ken Warwick’s home/studio to see a wonderful space and learn more about his process,

To learn more about the Studio Tour call 410-778-6300, email or go to where you can download the brochure which describes the work of all the artists, gives directions to their studios, and includes a user-friendly map.