Note: The Beachcomber partners with Vashon Island Visual Artists (ViVA) to publish regular profiles of members of Vashon’s vibrant visual arts community. Below, we hear from island painter and potter and Barnworks founding member Sharon Munger, in her own words, about her work and what has inspired it.
I remember always drawing and painting since an early age and have continued working in several different medians up until today.
I moved to Vashon Island in 1967 when I was 27 years old, with two very young children, and started substitute teaching. Because I had been an art teacher, I was often asked by reading and math teachers if I could teach their students art. I was invited to join a women’s group called Vashon Allied Arts in 1968.
I was the youngest member at that time. There were several summers of teaching art to children at the old scout cabin at Ober Park for VAA. During the middle 1970s, I was the high school art teacher until school levy losses forced a change and I became a UPS diver on the island for twenty years.
During this time, Barnworks was started with several other women and we started going to street fairs in the summer and our own Strawberry Festival with a booth and batiks. Around this time, a watercolor class wanted to show our work and I opened my mouth and said, “I have a building that we could use.”
The Barnworks group showed in my large studio for the next 35 years, eventually twice a year. The building was then retired and those of us, the last Barnworks group, still show our art once a year at The Hardware Store Restaurant Gallery. My life on Vashon now involves water walking, drawing, watercolor and pastel painting.
Pottery is a big part of my life and I am fortunate to have a potter’s wheel and kiln. Gardening takes a good deal of time in the summer and during winter months quilting is resumed. This past year, a new median of “alcohol inks” has been very enjoyable and interesting working with a fellow artist.
Art has sustained me during the past year while being at home. My children grew up on Vashon and 54 years have passed. I am into serious “senior citizen status.” I know of no other place I want to be, with such a vibrant art community.
It makes a difference.