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Whidbey Woodpalooza showcases woodworking artists

Tom Fisher, a member of Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild, attaches the seat to a one-of-a-kind rocking chair. Fisher and 20 other artists are displaying their handmade furniture at the Bayview Cash Store during the fourth annual Whidbey Woodpalooza. - Spencer Webster
Tom Fisher, a member of Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild, attaches the seat to a one-of-a-kind rocking chair. Fisher and 20 other artists are displaying their handmade furniture at the Bayview Cash Store during the fourth annual Whidbey Woodpalooza.
— image credit: Spencer Webster

CLINTON — Whidbey Woodpalooza has returned to the Front Room at Bayview Corner for its fourth annual showcase of custom furniture from the artists of the Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild.

Not only will the artists’ one-of-a-kind pieces be displayed, but for the first time this year, all pieces will be for sale and were made this year especially for the show.

“There are 21 members of the Whidbey Island Woodworker’s Guild that will have items in the show, representing a lot of different aspects of the trade,” said guild member Tom Fisher.

Expect a bit of variety, he said.

“There will be some turned items. There will be some sculpted items. There will be residential furniture and there are some items that I am not sure of,” he added.

Each artist will provide at least one item for the the showcase. But there may be more.

In addition to changes in the showcase itself, the show has also been extended through Sept. 16.

Fisher, who initially became interested in woodworking while living in Alaska, moved to Whidbey Island in 1983 and set up shop. When the guild formed, he jumped at the idea.

“On the island here, there is an appreciation of art you don’t find in a lot of communities. There is a blossoming of all the different arts,” he said.

The annual show is not only a chance to see the finest work from local craftsmen, but it’s also a chance for guild members to pull themselves away from the work they love.

“Woodworkers are like fisherman. It is hard to get them in one room for any amount of time,” he said.

The guild also serves to persuade the artists to come together to share ideas about how to build furniture, how to promote their businesses and how woodworking can be a livable occupation, Fisher said.

The guild works with new woodworkers, as well, mentoring them as they learn.

“We try to bring together a group of people that will not only help each other but also encourage people that are coming up through school shops to know there is a living community of woodworkers here,” he said.

“It is a viable trade to go into. Part of that is the welcome that is given to art on the island. There is an alternative to the factory-made cabinetry and factory-made furniture. I think sometimes, it is hard to find that.”

The furniture that is on display at Bayview Corner is a way for the artists to express functionality through creativity, said Fisher.

“It is putting our own twist of creation into something that was invented millenia ago,” he said. “We don’t kid ourselves that we’re inventing anything new here, but a slightly new way of doing the same thing.”

Fisher is looking forward to the show because it will be an opportunity for the public to interact, if indirectly, with the artists and be able to see what is behind the furniture.

“It’s the only showcase that currently is offered on the South End for furniture. It is a good chance to see the hidden processes that go on, on the island,” he said. “It is a good opportunity to see how much is going on here in the way of furniture. And there is a lot of very accomplished woodworkers showing their stuff there.”

Whidbey Woodpalooza is again being held in the Bayview Corner Cash

Store’s Front Room on the second floor.

For more information about the show or the Whidbey Island Woodworker’s

Guild, call Fisher at 579-2329 or e-mail Rob Hetler at rhetler@hotmail.com

Spencer Webster can be reached at 221-5300 / swebster@southwhidbeyrecord.com

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