Arts and Entertainment

Tilers share their vision for Vashon in a new art show

A group of talented tile artists has mounted a new exhibit at the Blue Heron Gallery that is not only bursting with colors but also with ideas about how to transform the Island into a more beautiful place.

The show “Imagine Vashon” is the latest creation of the Vashon Tile Guild, nine tile artists who have banded together in the past to present memorable group shows at the Blue Heron and Two Wall Gallery. The group also hosted a 2009 tour of significant tile installations on the Island, and in September, the guild unveiled its latest public work — an obelisk monument, tiled with more than 5,000 pieces of beach glass and porcelain, that marks the entry to Dockton’s new historical trail.

It’s all part of the group’s ambitious goal — to adorn some of Vashon’s most public places with tile art and, in the process, raise awareness of tiling as a significant art form.

“In many ways, the goal is to make Vashon Island a tile center,” said guild member Nadine Edelstein. “We want to have a center for education and workshops, and we want to be on the map for the world of tile.”

In keeping with that mission, the guild’s show at the Blue Heron presents a vision for Vashon that many Islanders may find intriguing.

“This show is the talk of the town,” said Janice Mallman, the Blue Heron’s gallery curator. “Everywhere I go, people have been saying, ‘Wow.’”

The exhibit includes not only individual pieces by guild members, but also large installations meant to inspire Islanders to think about the Island in a new way.

One walk-in installation, “The Mutt and The Budgie” by Cory Winn, shows what a Scottish pub on Vashon would look like — if that pub were covered from floor to ceiling with Winn’s meticulous tile work.

A black and white installation by Mary Lynn Buss re-images Vashon Theatre as a place of art deco opulence, with a tiled wall embellished to look like a strip of film, complete with delicate black tile sprockets and silkscreened images of iconic movie stars.

The back wall of the gallery is covered with a colorful collection of tool-shaped tiles made by Clare Dohna, along with a Photoshopped image of the place Dohna would like to see those tiles installed — outside of The Hardware Store Restaurant.

As it turns out, Dohna’s vision to adorn the Hardware Store’s entryway will be coming true sooner than she imagined — the restaurant’s owner, Melinda Sontgerath, stopped by the exhibit’s opening last Friday and immediately decided to buy the tools.

“It was a splurge, but we’re going to definitely do it and create something really interesting for the public,” Sontgerath said.

Dohna is also currently at work creating tiled cupcakes and other images of confections, which she plans to install in Bob’s Bakery as soon as the Vashon Tile Guild can raise enough funds for the project.

Edelstein said she hopes to raise enough money to start that project by next spring and that Islanders will support the group by purchasing pieces in the Blue Heron show.

“These are all things we want to see done,” said Edelstein. “Some of these ideas are really crazy, and some are really doable — we just wanted to show that kind of a range.”

“Imagine Vashon” will run at the Blue Heron Gallery through October. All of the works in the show are for sale, with proceeds from some pieces going to the Vashon Tile Guild to help fund the group’s dream of tiling public places on Vashon.

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