Category Archives: open studio


My brand new studio door. The studio is new, the door sign is new, and the door is freshly painted. studio door!

My brand new studio door. The studio is new, the door sign is new, and the door is freshly painted. So…new studio door!

There are so many reasons why artists and other creative types should have open studios. You’d be surprised how many of them aren’t about the money.

Our big move to California last September upended a lot of things for both my husband and I. For me, I missed the League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair, which generates almost half my annual income for me. I’m also missing the FFAST open studio tour, and the Keene Art Tour, which I co-founded a few years ago.

I left without saying goodby to many lovely, loyal friends, collectors and patrons of my art.

And arrived in Santa Rosa where nobody knows my name. (OK, you folks in the back row saying, “Oh, WE know who you are, you smart aleck…”)

Today is the SOFA Art Walk, and my first really truly open studio, in my brand new space, filled to the brim with artwork, displays, and supplies.

I’ve been worried about the lack of traffic that usually happens down my little alley. I was worried about the massive construction project going on in the cafe around the corner from me, and the fact that Atlas Coffee won’t even be open this weekend. I’m worried my new visitors will suffer sticker shock. I’m worried about…..

Luann. STOP.

Finally, my right brain kicks in. Just as reasonable as my left brain, too.

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter how many passers-by I attract to my studio today. Walk-ins were not how I grew my audience in Keene, NH.

It doesn’t matter that Atlas Coffee is closed. The owner has his own dreams, and his own audience. This is when the work had to be done (and you can already see how beautiful the improvements will be.) If anything, people will be just as interested to see the work-in-progress there, though we all miss their coffee. Depending on another small business nearby is not how I grew my audience in Keene.

It doesn’t matter that my prices may seem high. They’ve always been “high”, especially compared to big box stores and other small producers. Low prices and appealing to the masses is not how I grew my audience in Keene.

I think people grew to love my work for many reasons.

I’ve always wanted them to feel comfortable in my studio and in my booth. From the start, I’ve encouraged people to actually touch my work, pick up a little bear, or horse, or fish, and hold it.

I’ve always shared my stories, and my passion for my art. I did learn not to overwhelm people with my yakking (somewhat.) I let them browse, read, ponder. I let them really sink into the work, and wait for them to let me know they want to hear more.

I’ve (mostly) handled even rude and difficult customers (few and far between, thank, goodness!) with courtesy and patience.

I grew my customer base slowly, over the years, with these principles in mind.

And the same will happen here.

In my heart, I know it. As surely as I know, in my heart, that my work has a place in the world.

(And it helps that I also have a really great layaway plan!)


Filed under art, open studio

I’m Getting Ready for Art Walk and the Art Tour!

Today fellow artist Tina Siart Boylan and I put together our window for Keene Art Walk (which opens officially this Friday.) Tina is sharing my studio space for the Keene Art Tour, which also starts this weekend–Saturday and Sunday, May 3 & 4, from 10-5.

Tina’s art is different than mine. She paints lush florals, delicate treescapes and small robin’s nests with acrylics on canvas.

But the window came together beautifully.

Our window at The Knitting Knook, right on the circle on downtown Keene.

Our window at The Knitting Knook, right on the circle on downtown Keene.

I hope you’ll join both Tina and I at my studio at 271 Roxbury ST in Keene this Saturday and Sunday, May 3 & 4 from 10-5.

And you can enjoy our window for the entire week, through May 11.

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You can read more about the process of window-sharing here.


Filed under open studio


Okay, I’m cheating a bit. This is a duplicate post from our Keene Art Tour website post for today.

Hey! I had to write four five articles today. (Ack! I just remembered another one!) Something had to give!

Seriously, if you’re in the area, come on by. If you’re not, pass this on to someone who might like to visit. I can almost guarantee they will not be bored! :^D

Check out the little Keene Art Tour contest hosted by The Keene Sentinel–win a sweet little prize!

Also, a surprise for you… When we drew up our brochure and map, Robert Seaman had bowed out of the tour. When we found out why (he’d moved, and no longer had a public-accessible studio), why, we got him back on as fast as we could! Unfortunately, by the brochure was printed without him.

Bob is a congenial and talented artist, and we treasure his presence on our tour. So when you visit Luann Udell at Stop #7 on the tour, you’ll also see Bob Seaman and his beautiful paintings! (Inquiring minds will want to know where the heck Luann found room in her visually-dense studio for him….)

Bob not only paints, he’s also known as an exemplary teacher at the prestigious Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough.

Stop in to meet both artists–both create many items well under $100 for your delight or for distinctive gifts for the holidays. Talk to Bob about his classes, browse through his prints and more affordable work, or take home an original work of art this weekend. Watch Luann make jewelry, perhaps even a piece made especially for you! (Also check out the prize mentioned above…)

And if you’re STILL not sure, take a virtual visit to Luann’s studio right now!

Beach sculpture II by Robert Seaman.

Beach sculpture II by Robert Seaman.

Sea Glass IV by Robert Seaman

Sea Glass IV by Robert Seaman

Bear Clan: Shaman's Dream fiber wall hanging and sculpture by Luann Udell

Bear Clan: Shaman’s Dream fiber wall hanging and sculpture by Luann Udell

New "ancient glass" jewelry by Luann Udell.

New “ancient glass” jewelry by Luann Udell.

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Oh, yeah! She has that Open Studio thing next weekend!

Yes! Yes, I do. And you’re invited!

I’m on the Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour (aka “FFAST”). Next weekend, Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13, from 10-5, here at 271 Roxbury ST in Keene NH. (1/2 mile east of downtown Keene, long tall white house with pillars, studio is in the big red barn at the end of the driveway.)

Me and my studio, we clean up good!

Me and my studio, we clean up good!

Come see new work: Refurbished antique box displays with art jewelry and sculpture. You can wear it, and you can display it, it looks GREAT either way.

The art-in-a-box presentation has been getting rave reviews!

The art-in-a-box presentation has been getting rave reviews!

Every time I set them up, it changes. Fun!

Every time I set them up, it changes. Fun!

In addition to the my usual work, I will have work for sale I don’t have at the League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair (aka “Sunapee Fair”)–monoprints, gemstone jewelry, vintage button jewelry.

I will demonstrate simple jewelry-making techniques. In fact, if you have a favorite piece of jewelry that’s broken or you’ve lost a favorite earring, bring in the survivor. Maybe I can turn it into a pendant or a bracelet for you.

I always have interesting snacks (rarely healthy, but I may have some carrots & stuff for you more disciplined folks.) And I always have coffee, hot cider, tea and W*I*N*E.

We are moving to California, hopefully before next winter. I can’t possibly move my entire studio. So there will also be some sale items, giveaways, odds and ends for sale. If we drink enough wine, who knows what I’ll be selling?? :^)

Come browse, hang out, chat while I work, eat, drink, the merry-making thing. Bring your friends! Bring your co-workers! Bring your family! Bring your dogs! (Wait. Don’t bring dogs.)

See…All my scissors in one place!

These aren't actually ALL my scissors. Just the big ones. Yes, I have more.

These aren’t actually ALL my scissors. Just the big ones. Yes, I have more.

See….More beads and buttons that you’ve ever seen! See…A clean studio! (No fair peeking behind stuff or underneath stuff.)

Buttons?  Yeah, I got buttons.

Buttons? Yeah, I got buttons.

Yes, Bunster is still with us. She’s not loose in the studio too more–she kept running into things. But you can still visit her in her big comfy cage and feed her Cheerios.

I'm so blessed to still have Bunster! She still loves her Cheerios.

I’m so blessed to still have Bunster! She still loves her Cheerios.

Hope you can come!


Filed under open studio


Rarely this clean, but always interesting--my studio.

Rarely this clean, but always interesting–my studio.

Last year, a fellow artist and I put on Keene’s very first open studio tour, the Keene Art Tour.

Few things in life are harder than getting a couple dozen artists together (figuratively), collecting checks (Paypal button next year!), gathering images and artist statements for the brochure (“Just take it from my website!”) and everything else entailed in creating a city-wide event. Fortunately, it was hugely successful, for visitors and artists alike.

The only thing harder?

Doing it again.

Artists forget how good the crowds were, how much they sold and how much fun they had. That’s normal. Artists, being human beings, are sort of hard-wired to only remember the hard work, the studio cleaning, and how much we hassled them for said images, statements and money.

I’m learning that as a show organizer, “getting an early start” this year really means, “Let’s spend longer trying to get the same components together as last year.” That’s a good lesson to learn.

Some of the cold feet-itis is understandable, too. The last few years have been hard for creative folks. Some have hunkered down, some have moved on, some have diversified, and others are in that awful stage known as “transition”–moving on from what we’ve done while not quite knowing what’s next. Change is hard, and rarely fun.

“I don’t have anything to sell!” says one artist. Another says, “The kind of work I do, I don’t have ‘things’ to sell. So why would I want to have an open studio??” “I don’t have any new work!” says another. “I might be busy that weekend. When do I have to let you know?” (The answer to this question, by the way, is “Two months ago.”)

So here’s my response to all these questions:

An Open Studio isn’t just about selling your work. It’s about telling your story.

It’s the strongest way to form a powerful connection not only with new customers, but also with current customers, your community, and with future artists. And it’s a way to revitalize your own connection with your art.

There’s one artist who does murals for public places. No ‘things’ to sell in their studio, so they don’t want to participate.

What a lost opportunity! Now, I have no desire to buy a mural. But I’ve always wondered what’s entailed. How did they get started doing this? How do they find out about proposals for public art, especially internationally? What is the design process like? Do they hire other people to help? How long does it take to paint a mural? What kind of paint do they use? How long does a mural last? Where is their work displayed? Do you get to travel a lot? What are the fun parts? What are the downsides? What the heck does their life LOOK like???

There’s a couple who are working on a graphic novel. No ‘art’ to show in their studio. People would be bored.

Really? I can think of a few dozen young artists who would give anything to know that that process looks like. How do you get started? Are you self-published or are you working with a publisher? What does that look like? Do you do the writing and the drawing, or do you collaborate? Is it possible to make a living doing this? Do you teach classes?

There’s an artist in transition who needs to sell their old work before they can can make new work. And they’re not very far along in the new work.

Artists go through transitions? Just like other people?? Is it hard? What made you stop making your old work? What would you like to do next? What do you think will stay the same, and what will change? What inspires you and sustains you through this difficult time?

There’s someone who has new galleries, and may not have any work available for sale.

Actually, this is one of the best problems to have. Do you have earlier work that you’ve kept? Do you have works in progress? And the finished pieces you’re ready to ship–can we just LOOK at them? If I want one, can I commission you to make one? There’s a waiting list?? Oh my gosh, I better get my order in NOW!

Meanwhile, in your horde of visitors (and everyone had hordes of visitors), there are people who wish they could do what you do. They want to meet the people who ran away to join the circus. You are actually in your studio, making incredible stuff every day–how fabulous! Be their art hero.

There are people in transition who need to know there’s a ‘there’ after ‘here right now.’ That perseverance and vision and hard work will get us through. Be their art hero.

There are people who hope someday to be in your shoes. There are artists-in-waiting who need to know that it’s possible to have that life, to make their own work, to carve out a place in the world for themselves. You are living proof that it can happen. Be their life hero.

There are all kinds of creative folks in a community, artists of all sorts who make this town a better, richer, more beautiful place to live. We do more than just fill art galleries or people’s homes with our work. We teach, inspire, enrich, model our values to our community. Be that community hero.

Open your work space, that incredible place where the magic happens, where your vision for your art becomes a reality. Let people see what your life looks like, for two precious days in November. Be that art hero.

Give yourself the gift of seeing yourself through other people’s eyes–the people who see you as creative, gifted, exciting, interesting, fortunate, blessed. Because we are. It’s easy to forget that in the slog of making our way in the world. Let our community help you remember.

Be your own hero.


Filed under art, open studio


And boy, is her studio clean!

Well, not clean, but neat. Yes, I’m finally ready for my Open Studio today (because I just looked at the clock and it’s after midnight!) Saturday and Sunday, October 6 & 7 from 10-5.

If you haven’t been to my open studios in the past, I hope you’ll stop by. It’s pretty informal here. I sit around making stuff for people, or showing them how to make something, while other people poke around in all my drawers, admire all the bones, shells, stones, antlers, dolls, fabric and sticks.

If you’ve been here before, you know the drill. Wander, peek, open drawers, touch, talk, eat, drink, be merry, talk, laugh, talk some more.

I have work for sale, of course, but it’s okay to just hang out and have a nice time. Have some cider, or coffee or tea, and munchies. Ask for the secret chocolate drawer! (Carrying on a proud tradition–KRISTEN!!) Oh, and the wine comes out when it’s 5:00 somewhere in the world! :^D

My artist friend Nicole is in her camper, parked on my lawn, with her work on display, too. And she's making cookies!!!

I have plenty of brochures if you're doing the entire Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour, so come grab your copy and git goin’!


P.S. THANK YOU for the people who pointed out my revisions added up to a lot of stuff being repeated. This is why we should not do brainy stuff at 3 a.m. !!!

Luann Udell
“Ancient stories retold in modern artifacts:
Jewelry, sculpture, fiber works inspired by ancient and tribal art.”
271 Roxbury ST
Keene NH 03431


Filed under announcement, art, open studio

FALL FOLIAGE ART STUDIO TOUR! (And why you should visit an artist studio…)

Just a quick announcement about the next opportunity for you to see my work…..

I’m part of the Fall Foliage Open Studio Tour (affectionately known as the FFAST tour), aptly named because it takes place during some of the most beautiful days here in New England. On Saturday and Sunday, October 6 & 7, I will open my studio to the public–YOU, dear reader.

There are two preview shows for this tour. One just finished up at the Jaffrey Civic Center in Jaffrey NH.

My big big framed piece on display, with two horse sculptures.

The other will run through the month of October at The Works Bakery on Main Street in Keene, NH.

You can see peeks of my studio here. And see more details about the FFAST tour here.

And now I have to find my vacuum cleaner and dust cloths. And find a place to stash my 250 old wood boxes for my new series I’m working on. And make it look like I actually did use the dust cloths in here…!!!

So….Why should you visit an artist’s open studio?

Well….Years ago, it was how I found out I was an actual artist.

I stuck my head inside the door to ask a new housemate something. To my amazement, he had the same vast collection of beach pebbles, small animal bones, acorns, interesting sticks, sea shells, sea glass, bird’s nests, squashed rusty metal objects and other little doodads as I did.

He was a “real artist”–enrolled in art school, making cool stuff, etc. It slowly dawned on me…. maybe I wasn’t “crazy acorn-hoarding squirrel person”. Maybe….I was an artist, too! An artist-in-waiting, perhaps. An artist who hadn’t actually honored and made room for her creative spirit–yet. But an artist all the same.

It was the beginning of an incredible journey. And I’ve never forgotten that first moment, that shock of recognition, that foreshadowing of what I was supposed to do in this world.

Other reasons to visit an artist’s studio:

A chance to talk with someone who makes stuff.
A chance to snoop through drawers and bins and shelves. (You cannot believe all the drawers, bins and shelves I have in here, and what they hold.)
The opportunity to see work I can’t display or sell at the League of NH Craftsmen shops and Fair. (Hint: It involves PEARLS and semi-precious stones!)
The opportunity to watch me make stuff.
The chance to buy really cool stuff. Like jewelry, and wall art, and sculptures, maybe even a handmade print or two.
Wine and crackers and cheese. And maybe chocolate. Oh, and more wine. Cold cider. Or hot cider, depends on the day’s weather. Did I mention the wine?

And who knows? Maybe, as you exclaim (with astonishment, or dismay) at my immense collection of pebbles, sea glass, driftwood, elk antlers, moose antlers and deer antlers, buttons, bird’s nests and such, you, too, will have that same flash of insight….

Maybe I can be an artist, too!

Vintage buttons plus antique glass trade beads equals very cool jewelry!

Antique mother-of-pearl earrings.

These symmetrical antique keys remind me of ancient ankhs and other mysterious metal artifacts.


Filed under announcement, art, open studio