Tuesday, May 19, 2009

San Juan Island Artists' Studio Tour 2009

Well, it is that time of year again!!! The whales are back, making close passes at the lighthouse, poppies are blooming all over the island, fox pups are bounding on the sides of the roads and the 18th Annual San Juan Island Artists' Studio Tour is just around the corner. Between June 6th and 7th, the Island artists will be offering free self-guided tours of 17 studios featuring 39 local artisans. And it is all free!

The studio tours started back in 1991 and has become a popular island event for both residents and visitors. The tour is completely self guided and allows visitors to see many different types of art as well as interact with the artists in their galleries. Lots of GREAT spaces, art demonstrations and door prizes- during a time when the island itself is in full bloom. Participants will have an opportunity to see a wide variety of artwork including paintings, fused glass, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, photography, furniture, and textiles. And I am absolutely honored to have been invited as a guest photographer in Michelle Shober's studio (#11 on the map)- and simply cannot wait to spend the weekend meeting everyone!  We've been working on the Studio of Collaborative Creation to get it ready for the guests- lots of hangings and creativity going on right now. 

A bit about the art group who meets there- can you say talent?  Each Sunday we gather together at Michelle's studio to focus on what art truly means in our lives as well as sharing great conversation, dreams, ideals and good old fashioned friendship. Different artists visit throughout the months, but the core group includes Bobbi Hamilton, who is an extremely talented graphite and colored pencil artist, Marsha Ashbrook- an extremely patient and incredibly artistic graphite artist, Katy Barsamian (loves the color purple and can design anything in lilac- even a flamingo) Gretchen Allison (owner of The Duck Soup Inn and a fantastically creative painter), Midge Patterson, Diana Sheffer and myself (although throughout the summer my attendance is completely whale dependent!). I really find this group defining- there is such a huge collection of talent (and one would think egos but that is not the case) in one room, each with varying strengths and weaknesses.  But there is a distinctly common factor. We have become friends, keeping us sane and allowing us to laugh while being who we each need to be. There is a distinct empowerment in that - we empower each other in our mutual appreciation for what each of us brings to the table. Perhaps when no one else will. We share ourselves, our successes, our fears and our love for one another, allowing us to grow together in both our art and in ourselves. It's really quite amazing- it is such a safe place full of trusting, honesty and creativity.

So when Michelle opened her new studio this winter, we all decided to create a "studio warming" gift. Since Michelle has ALWAYS loved flamingos- what else could possibly be better to design? We had alot of fun over the next few weeks designing special birds that represent us- each of us adding a flamingo to the studio presence. I thought you might like to check some of them out---and be sure to visit in June!!!!

The studios on the tour will be open 1:00pm to 5:00pm both days---and there is absolutely no charge to tour the studios and enjoy this popular event. All anyone needs is a map (see above) and the time wander the from studio to studio enjoying both the art and the scenery of San Juan Island. Hope to see you on the island!!!!

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