First Friday gallery cruise includes powerful works by women

Take an art stroll on Friday to see new exhibits and greet friends and neighbors.

Slowly but surely, the light is now lingering longer into the afternoon and evening.

Celebrate by taking an art stroll on Friday, March 1, to see new exhibits and greet friends and neighbors. Most shops and local eateries will also be open, so make a night of it, supporting local businesses.

Puget Sound Community Credit Union

In March and April, the walls at Puget Sound Community Credit Union (PSCCU) will be embellished with Karen Biondo’s art made from the flowers and fauna around her on Vashon, where she lives, farms, cooks and makes art.

Join Biondo from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 1, for beverages, treats and conversation as she displays her botanical steam-pressed and Tataki zome prints on watercolor paper, finished with cold wax, and framed in reclaimed wood.

Tataki zome is a method of direct transfer of color and pattern from flowers and leaves. A hammer and a little muscle on paper or fabric release the color and pattern from fresh-cut flowers and leaves. The top side of flowers and leaves provide a similar but different pattern from the underside of the same, making the underside a shadow image.

“Steam-pressed flowers and leaves create a dreamy watercolor effect,” said Biondo. “… It is all ordinary magic to me as I am delightedly surprised with each piece every time. Each ‘reveal’ inspires me to make another and another and another.”

Granny’s Attic

Stop by Vashon’s favorite charitable thrift shop, which has extended hours until 7 p.m. on March 1.

McMurray Middle School

Check out the work of talented art students at McMurray Middle School in a special First Friday showing of their work, from 5-7 p.m. Friday, March 1, at the middle school.

Senior Center

Join artist Carol Digardi at an exhibition of her work at Vashon Senior Center, running through April, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 1.

Digardi, also known as Carol Thal and Carol Barsky, moved to Vashon a year ago to finally “retire” and be nearer to her family. She is very familiar with Vashon and has enjoyed visiting the island for more than 20 years before moving here last year. She attended the University of Washington School of Art and graduated in 1962 alongside popular contemporary artist and friend, Chuck Close, who nicknamed her, “Lady Rembrandt.”

Digardi taught art and special education to high school students for more than 40 years and was the director of CASOLS, a private day school for special needs students.

Swiftwater Gallery

Stop by to see new work and hobnob with members of the artists’ cooperative gallery and other island art lovers, in Swiftwater’s storefront gallery in the center of Vashon.

VALISE Gallery

VALISE Gallery will launch its March show, “Removing The Fig Leaf,” from 6-9 p.m. Friday, March 1, with a soft opening taking place from 1-6 p.m.

The show, according to organizers, is “an exploration of nudity and being naked, in all senses of the word.” Gallery-goers should expect a modest, R-rated show, ranging from small to large paintings and some sculptures.

Participating artists are Gregory Burnham, Pascale Judet, Stephen Schildbach, Sharon Shaver, George Wright, Robert Passig, Rachel Lordkenaga, Manuel Alvarez, Jiji Saunders, Hita Von Mende. Lenard Yen and Dot Cherch.

The show runs through March 30. Regular gallery hours are 1-6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Vashon Center for the Arts

Two new exhibits at VCA will celebrate Women’s History Month with exhibits of two art forms historically dominated by women artists — fiber arts and pottery.

“Unwearable Apparel: The Femme Series,” by Seattle artist Margaret Chodos-Irvine, is a series of oversized dresses, some large enough to walk into. The works interpret the emotional language contained within familiar feminine garment forms. Referencing vintage sewing patterns and 20th-century clothing, Chodos-Irvine has altered the usual layout of garment parts: arms connect or constrict; skirts knot or join together; bodices expand into tents. The resulting unwearable garments are built from whole cloth, each constructed to tell a story and/or ask a question of viewers.

“Clothing is our human-made exoskeleton, Chodos-Irvine said. “Besides functioning as a protective layer, it reflects how we see ourselves, and how we choose to be seen by others.”

Another group show, featuring the work of 10 members of Tapestry Artists of Puget Sound (TAPS), will also be on view.

In recent decades, as tapestry artists have embraced an increasing array of materials and methods in their practices, new fiber and fiber processes have emerged. Textiles’ texture, color, and physicality, and their associative power — personal, cultural, and political — make them a potent resource in the contemporary maker’s toolkit.

In this context, the members of TAPS are exploring the medium, all having developed a distinctive and mature body of work, ranging in size from miniature to mural-sized.

VCA’s Gallery Shop will host a collection of figurative pottery, hand-painted mugs, and bowls by Vashon artist Sara Barry. Barry is a painter who uses pottery as her “canvas,” creating whimsical designs inspired by beloved people and animals she has known.

VCA’s shows open on Friday, March 1, with an artists’ reception from 5-8 p.m., and will be on view through March 31. On International Women’s Day, Friday, March 8, the gallery will open at 7:30 a.m. for conversation, free coffee and pastries to honor the contributions women have made to the world.

Windermere Gallery

Windermere Vashon will host an opening reception for Vashon artist, Jeff Good, from 5-8 p.m. Friday, March 1, at at 17429 Vashon Hwy. SW. The exhibit will exclusively feature Good’s watercolor travel paintings.

Good began painting while a student of architecture at the University of Kansas in the mid-1970s. His overwhelming favorite medium has been watercolor.

“I like its transparency and fluidity and, most importantly, the pure pleasure of letting the pigment and water create effects on the paper in a very spontaneous and rapid manner,” Good said. “Painting and teaching watercolor is a passion and joy for me.”

Good retired as a principal of GFF Architects in 2016, and currently spends a great deal of time in his studio on Vashon. His paintings have been exhibited nationally and internationally during the past 15 years. His work is represented by Gather Gallery and Waterworks Studio, both on Vashon, and through his website,