Blue Wolf Studios is North Lake Tahoe’s newest art collective. A working ceramics/art studio in the back, and shop up front, Blue Wolf Studios is full of life in every way. Hand-made solar terrariums line lake-facing picture windows, while brightly colored canvases and photographs adorn the walls. Blue Wolf Studios’ co-owners, Amanda Dabel and Anthony Marrone, are two of Lake Tahoe’s most talented up-and-coming artists, and are responsible for its vitality. The shop’s humble brick façade on the main drag in Kings Beach faces Lake Tahoe.
The shop is alive with expertly merchandised shelves full of delicate jewelry, leather moccasins made just a neighborhood away, and 3D wooden maps of Lake Tahoe. A large tree, made by local artisans at Three Dot Studios, greets you as you walk in the door, and tables display pottery imprinted with the outline of Lake Tahoe. Their mugs, plates, and bowls are exactly the type of keepsake travelers want to bring home, or that locals want to snatch up.
“[Blue Wolf Studios] sells objects that commemorate the memory of people’s time in Tahoe,” explains Dabel.
If you haven’t been to Blue Wolf Studios, you must go. Prepare for an inspirational and zen-like experience. You’re likely to be greeted by Dabel or Marrone — both artists work in the large studio space behind the storefront — and, if you’re lucky, you might catch Dabel shaping a mug on their pottery wheel, or Marrone burning an illustration on wood.
Dabel and Marrone have different skill sets that complement each other. Originally from Tahoma, Dabel graduated from Sierra Nevada College in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Ceramics and a focus on anthropomorphic sculpture. Inspired by animals and limerence (the uncontrollable state of mind as a result of attraction), Dabel’s work is full of soft lines and bright colors.
“I love making stuff. I’m interested in the way humans interact with animals and the way we treat them,” says Dabel.
Driven and focused, Dabel taught herself to rebuild a kiln that was previously unusable. Once she got it up and running, she began making logo mugs for West Shore Market and other businesses around Tahoe’s North Shore. As the mugs began to sell, sell, and sell, Dabel decided to open her own store and called Marrone.
“It was a great feeling, when you actually start selling. You’re like, hell yeah, people want it!” says Marrone as Dabel nods in agreement.
Introduced to Dabel through mutual friends, Marrone signed on, and the two artists began working to get Blue Wolf Studios up and running. An incredibly talented artist in his own right, Marrone is influenced by Asian art and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Hailing from Tamworth, N.H., Marrone graduated from Colby-Sawyer College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics, but credits his apprenticeship with David Pellerin as his biggest learning experience. Marrone took classes from Pellerin in New Hampshire and paid for them in return labor. Eventually, Marrone was skilled enough to teach his own classes. Marrone joined his brothers in Lake Tahoe and began drawing and creating illustration on wood. With the same strong motivation and talent as Dabel, Marrone was a natural fit as co-owner of Blue Wolf Studios. The store and workspace opened in October 2015.
Marrone and Dabel perused Instagram for new artists and pulled a lot of talent from Sierra Nevada College. Blue Wolf Studios currently has over 36 artists selling their work in the shop, including Molly Allen, Nick Cahill, Casey Wold, and Tracey Barroza.
This summer, Dabel and Marrone will expand their workshop space into a high-end art gallery. The gallery will be a space where artists apply to showcase canvases, photography, or installations — their collection will be up for public viewing and for sale.