Maria Tinnell, graphic designer in the Office of Communications and Marketing, has a studio in Open Studio Weekend. Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography.

Artists from all over Louisville will open their doors Nov. 4 and 5 for Open Studio Weekend 2017. The event, co-hosted by UofL’s Hite Art Institute and Louisville Visual Art, gives anyone who appreciates art the opportunity to step inside studios all over Louisville where they can meet artists and experience how and where local art is made.

Now in its fifth year, the event continues to grow, with more than 120 participating artists – more than ever before. Many of the artists have UofL connections, whether they’re alumni, faculty or staff, like Maria Tinnell, a graphic designer in the Office of Communications and Marketing who creates specialty miniature baskets. This year, her work was selected for display in the juried exhibition at Hite’s Cressman Center (100 N. Main St.), where the Open Studio launch party will be held from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 3 during the First Friday Hop. And, her studio will be open all weekend for OSW visitors.

Tinnell took time out of her schedule to talk to UofL News about her work and the preparation that goes into Open Studio Weekend. 

In describing her work, she says, “I am a fiber artist weaving baskets from linen thread and nylon cord. The technique of coiling baskets is a very old one. I have taken that technique and made it my own by using lots of color and non-traditional patterns and materials. People tell me all the time they have never seen anything like my baskets.”

UofL News: How did you get started making this type of art?

Maria Tinnell: I first learned this technique in college, I have a BFA from UofL; my major was textiles. I took a class from Lida Gordon call Fiber Construction. I learned weaving, felting, braiding and coiled basketry. I fell in love with the technique. I still have the first basket I ever made; it was woven with wool yard and jute cord and is a fuzzy reminder of how I got started.

UofL News: Why do you participate in Open Studio Weekend?

Maria Tinnell: I have been a member of the LVA for several years, more than I can count, participating in shows and events and I went to school with Keith Waits LVA’s current Facility & Gallery Manager. I support the work that the LVA does encouraging young artists at summer camps and promoting local artists on Artebella. The money that is raised from the Open Studio Weekend helps fund those projects and I am happy to be a small part of that.

UofL News: What can guests expect if they come out for studio tours?

Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography

Maria Tinnell: I have always said my studio is wherever I am, because my art is portable. I take it with me everywhere I go. You might see me working on a bench outside on campus at UofL, my favorite spot is the fountains near Schneider Hall. That is what I love about my work, it does not require electricity or machines, just some linen thread, cord or rope and some needles.

For the Open Studio Weekend my ‘studio’ will be my front porch. I have a nice swing to sit on and work on a basket. You are welcome to stop by the South end of Louisville and see first-hand how I weave thread and rope into a miniature wearable basket, and if you are interested I will tell you the story behind the inspiration for some of my baskets.

Open Studio is noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 4 and 5. The cost is $20 or $10 for students, art educators and LVA members. Purchase tickets at the Cressman Center or online. Ticket sales support scholarships at Hite Art Institute and LVA. 

Photo by Sarah Katherine Davis Photography
Niki King
Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.