The Artist Studio Tour is the story of a handful of island artists who gathered together to support each other and create a venue for the public to visit their studios. Twenty six years later, the event has evolved to include 61 individuals.
“We have more artists this year than ever before,” said jeweler Yvonne Buijs-Mancuso, who has been a part of the tour for the last 23 years. “And there is much more depth. Everything from wood, glass, textiles, jewelry, ceramics, to two-dimensional oils, pastels and encaustics.”
The tour runs Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Maps of the 20 studios participating in the free, self-guided tour are available at Griffin Bay Books, Island Studios, the San Juan Chamber, or online at www.sanjuanislandartists.com.
“The tour is educational, showing the public how artists live and work,”Buijs-Mancuso said, adding that many of the tour’s participants, like glass worker Darleen Nixon, give demonstrations to attendees.
The event has been popular with the community, as it gives islanders a chance to connect with their usually introverted artist neighbors. According to Buijs-Mancuso, however, more often than not, attendees of the event are visitors to the island, not locals.
“The islands are really becoming an art destination,” she said. Given that San Juan County has one of the highest artist per capita ratios in Washington State, this is not surprising. According to Buijs-Mancuso, creative individuals inspired by the beauty of the islands, are continuing to move to the San Juans. Those who wish to become involved in the tour, she recommends contacting Nancy Spaulding as early as November or December.
“Being a destination studio isn’t for every artist,” Buijs-Mancuso warns, mentioning interested participants may wish to start out as a guest. “It takes a tremendous amount of effort to be a host studio, cleaning up not just your workspace and home, but your entire property.”
New to the tour this year is woodworker Jim Hoyne, whose furniture tends toward classic styles with unique details. His studio, listed as number 13 on the official studio tour map, is located on West Valley road, where Jason Munkres’ hand woven rugs will also be on display. Long-time islander Lisa Lawrence returns this year. Her studio features potter Lisa Lange, acrylic Kim Bruder, jeweler Cady Davis, water colorist Beth Hetrick, as well as ceramic sculptures by Maria Michaelson, and bronze sculptures by Eban Shay. Ceramic artist Lauren Jawer’s studio is back this year, featuring textilist Claire Wright, oils by Taylor Bruce, jeweler Stella Joh, and earthen culture by Jason Loon.
Each location listed on the tour is a working studio as opposed to a gallery, and those involved, Buijs-Mancuso said, are not dabblers, but dedicated to their art.
Each studio will hold a raffle, the winner drawn at the end of the tour. Raffle items will be from one of the artists at that location, Buijs-Mancuso explained, meaning potentially cards, scarves, earrings, a matted picture or a small sculpture could all be raffle items.
“This is people’s chance see the artist in their element, see the landscape inspires them on a daily basis,”Buijs-Mancuso said, noting that marine biologist Trish Morse whose jewelry often features sea creatures, will be featured at Sammy and Laura Long’s studio located on the west side of San Juan Island, looking out over the straight. The tour benefits artists as well, however, Buijs-Mancuso continued, “It’s a great chance for them to interact with the public and hear feedback about their work.”
For more information, visit www.sanjuanislandartists.com.