Arts and Entertainment

Experience art at the source on Whidbey Island Open Studio Tour

Eric Leiberman, Dave Gignac and Don Singleton demonstrate teamwork in creating a blown-glass vase at Island Art Glass.  - Betty Freeman / The Record
Eric Leiberman, Dave Gignac and Don Singleton demonstrate teamwork in creating a blown-glass vase at Island Art Glass.
— image credit: Betty Freeman / The Record

Artists offer a glimpse of their worlds, demonstrate and explain their creative processes, and sell their artwork during the 16th annual Whidbey Island Open Studio Tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6 and 7.

The free two-day tour brings art lovers from all over to the island, when 55 painters, sculptors, photographers, potters, glass blowers, woodworkers, jewelers, weavers and textile artists open their studios to the public at 45 different locations island-wide.

The Whidbey Island Open Studio Tour is a cooperative effort by artists and the Island Arts Council. A brochure with descriptions and photos of the artists’ work, a map and detailed directions to each tour stop can be accessed at island Bright yellow tour signs will guide visitors, and the brochures also include a QR code to help find studios.

“Everyone’s excited to share their work and welcome people to their studios,” said textile artist Janis Saunders, tour artist coordinator.

The tour can be experienced in a number of ways. Organize your itinerary by location, genré or areas of interest.

From Clinton to Greenbank, 30 studios will be open. North of Greenbank, 15 studios are listed. A bonus of the tour is the chance to explore the island’s rural back roads, finding unusual living spaces and resourceful artists blending their artistic lives with pastoral surroundings.

Observing artists creating also enriches the Open Studio Tour experience. Most offer “artist in action” demonstrations.

Glassblowing, which is nearly always a team effort, is exciting to watch.

Glassblowers on the tour include Rob Adamson and Janis Swalwell at Island Art Glass, and Joi and Dan LaChaussee, located near each other in Langley, off Newman Road.

Adamson said, “We’re going to have our first annual glass pumpkin sale during the tour, and in the hot shop we’ll be making garden art and fish.”

Sherren Anderson makes fused copper foil glass art in her Clinton glassworks.

Sandra Whiting will demonstrate how to make handmade books and printmaking in her Sweetwater Farm studio in Clinton. Mary Ashton makes handmade paper, books, prints and textiles focusing on the process and natural materials in the Marcy Johnson studio in Greenbank.

Textile artists, from weavers to silk painters, include Barbara Zander and Mary Burks in Langley, Anne Davenport in Freeland and Janis Saunders in Coupeville.

“I’ll be demonstrating Japanese kumohimo braiding for the tour,” said Saunders.

Interested in photography? The 2012 Tour boasts five photographers from Clinton to Coupeville, including Tom Trimbath, Zoe Osenbach, Lorraine Healy, Don Wodjenski and M. Denis Hill.

Pottery makers include Dan Ishler in Oak Harbor, Carol Bauer of Freeland and Jodi Cable of Clinton.

If sculpture interests you, visit Dan Freeman’s mixed media studio in Clinton, Johnathan and Jandellyn Ward’s metal shop in Greenbank, or Gerald Pike’s “ceramic archaeology” studio in Oak Harbor. Greenbank artist Ron Ward creates encaustics as well as bronze sculptures.

Fine woodworkers on the tour are Rob Hetler in Greenbank and Bruce Launer in Clinton.

Jewelry artists include Tammi Sloan in Langley, who makes jewelry from eco-friendly metal clay, Barbara Mundell in Freeland, whose silver and gemstone fabricated jewelry expresses botanical themes, and Lynn Copeland in Oak Harbor.

Some artists have more than one specialty, such as Marcy Johnson of Greenbank who is a weaver and a metal jewelry maker. Mary Ellen O’Conner in Coupeville creates metal jewelry in addition to silk painting.

The tour offers 21 painters scattered around the island. Some artists share studio space with others for the tour, so visitors can view works of multiple artists in one stop.

Oil painter Libby Berry and her daughter, illustrator Bonnie Christensen, welcome painter Leogene Brown to the New Renaissance Artists studio in Freeland.

Sumi painter Angie Dixon pairs with fused glass artist Richard La Londe in Freeland, as do painters Cary Jurriaans and Gordon Enberg in Langley.

Painters Sue Owen and Nancy Anderson share display space at Blue House Gallery in Useless Bay Colony. At the Pacific Northwest Art School in Coupeville, painters Barbara Marks and Jennifer Bowman show their works.

Other painters on the tour include Pat Brookes, Joy Dennis, Pete Jordan, Kent Lovelace, James Moore, Kay Parsons, Gary Schallock, Mark Skullerud, Linda Stahoski Webster and Mike Wise.

Several artists combine eclectic materials to create unique art.

Lynda Rickey of Langley makes multimedia collages assembled from handmade and commercial papers, fabric, paints and fibers. At the same studio on Saratoga Road, Barbara Zander displays abstract constructions combining hand-dyed painted silk and metal.

Kim Tinuviel of Freeland describes her work as “an artful orchestration of cameras, computers, wax, metal, stone and assorted mixed media.”

Patty Picco of Coupeville creates mixed-media works, utilizing encaustic techniques, collage, photography and printmaking.

Kathleen Otley’s woven willow and metal wall art is in a class by itself. Steve Nowicki’s name for his shop in Oak Harbor says it all — Shock ‘n Awe Metalworks.

Be awed by the array of talented visual artists on Whidbey Island and show your support for their creative work on the Open Studio Tour.


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