Arts and Entertainment

The 20th annual San Juan Island Artists' Studio Tour

“I might be making some teapots, I need to do some anyway,” said Paula West, who will also be demonstrating how she uses surface treatments and carving to decorate her pottery.  - Contributed photo
“I might be making some teapots, I need to do some anyway,” said Paula West, who will also be demonstrating how she uses surface treatments and carving to decorate her pottery.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Nancy Spaulding is still amazed by the San Juan Island Artists’ Studio Tour.

“We had such humble beginnings and I never thought it would  be so successful 20 years later,” said Spaulding, who works with pure pigment pastel and oil pastel, and is one of the artists that initially came up with the concept of a tour.

“It [the tour] has been extremely rewarding... the growth and community response from people.”

Once again, artists invite you down hidden drive ways, into out of the way private studios and downtown public workshops to demonstrate and explain how local art is created.

This June marks the 20th anniversary of the San Juan Island Artists’ Studio Tour, featuring 19 artists and 23 guest artists, making this the largest group in the history of the tour.

Over the years, various studio owners have shared their space with guest artists, either professional or emerging that don’t have their own studio.

Spaulding’s guest artist Melissa Calohan, who creates glass and metal insect sculptures creates an interesting dynamic between three dimensional art, photography and pastels in the studio, located just outside of town.

“Her work is about natural history too, so it compliments the other work and makes a nice collaboration,” said Spaulding, “It’s perfect for her and for us.”

Paula West has three guest artists, working in jewelry, stone, glass and ceramic sculptures, at her pottery studio this year.

“We’re all different mediums, and having a jeweler to bring variety makes it more festive and fun,” said West.

You’ll find an array of art displayed at her studio, located on the west side of the island, including wheel throwing demonstrations.

“I might be making some teapots, I need to do some anyway,” said West.

She will also demonstrate how she uses surface treatments and carving to decorate her pottery.

“I am interested in function and the beauty that comes with use. I strive to find a balance,: said West. “I love the smooth, white, translucent qualities of porcelain and the contrast of black slip on white.”

West is one of many artists displaying work, which includes prints, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photography, sculpture, and fiber.

Yvonne Buijs Mancuso’s studio showcases her glass and encaustic art, which is a 3,000-year-old technique of combining color pigment into ‘molten’ beeswax and using it as a painting vehicle.

Mancuso is self-described as ‘a moth drawn to light’ for her attraction to color and the way light plays on it.

Matthew Gray Palmer and Danielle Dean Palmer have been living and working on San Juan Island for over five years.

Their studio is located just outside of town across from the fair ground.

Matthew Palmer creates sculptural works from miniature to monumental, using cast bronze and carved stone. His large public monuments are located across the country.

In the same studio Danielle Palmer works with a collaboration of photography, painting, encaustic and sculptural techniques.

At Ann Walbert’s studio, located in town, you can admire her paintings on display and watch her work on an oil painting.

“Every studio is a little different, but we all have the same goal to share what we create and encourage others to enjoy it,” said Walbert, who invites visitors to sit down in her studio and paint for themselves with supplies she provides.

“Often people come in saying, ‘I can’t paint’ and then they leave with a nice piece of work,” said Walbert.

In addition to the art, there will be guest musicians, gardens, and a drawing for an art prize at each studio. The tour provides a chance to purchase art at the source, often before the art is exhibited in national art shows and galleries.

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