Island potters, painters, printmakers, glassblowers, candle makers, sculptors, photographers, tile makers, woodworkers, weavers, bell makers, jewelers, soap makers and lavender artists will open their studios to exhibit and sell their latest works during the first two weekends of December.
This annual Vashon tradition allows shoppers, collectors and art enthusiasts to meet artists, shop locally and buy direct this holiday season.
The 2008 Vashon Island Holiday Art Studio Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Dec 6, 7, 13 and 14, at 32 art studios located all over the Island. More than 60 artists are participating.
“Vashon is chock-full of creative, talented and hard-working artists and craftspeople,” said Liz Lewis, a well-known Island potter who is enthusiastically promoting this year’s tour.
Lewis urged Islanders to “delight in the discovery of a couple of studios you have never before visited, and then, stop in to check out the latest offerings of artists who are old friends.”
Color maps of the tour can be found online at www.vashonislandartstudiotour.com as well as at many Island businesses.
A closer look: Mud Mamas
Three clay artists who call themselves Mud Mamas will come together to display their pieces in the upcoming art studio tour.
The Mud Mamas — also known as Joy Goldstein, Tami Anderson and Jane Neubauer — will show their work at Neubauer’s wooded home and studio at 15635 115th Ave. S.W.
Goldstein recently explained the group’s focus.
“Most potters on Vashon make pots on the wheel,” she said. “It’s a demanding skill to learn, but once mastered, it allows the potter to produce a variety of forms quickly. And the forms aren’t necessarily round, they can be cut or paddled or shaped into a wide and wonderful variety of objects.”
Why, then, do these “mud mamas” not use the wheel?
Actually, Tami Anderson does, making exquisite small bowls and charming mushrooms balanced on slender stems.
But she also works with richly textured slabs of clay, making larger free form pieces for plant pots.
Anderson began as a painter in college, working in encaustic, and found it carrying over into ceramics, especially when she created elegant, highly detailed surfaces.
“Mostly I just like making stuff,” she said.
Gardening, nature and art inspire her, she said.
“I keep trying to listen to what the universe is telling me,” she added.
Goldstein began learning from a potter who had been a dancer in his earlier career and whose history of physical practice led him to teach handbuilding — pinching, coiling and slab work — as fundamental to wheel work.
Goldstein learned to use the wheel but found that for her, the spinning motion came between her and the clay. She went back to coiling, making a series of lamps that reflected trees or the water cycle.
She also forms slabs over rocks to make plates and bowls. “Literally, stoneware,” she said.
Jane Neubauer began to play in the mud late, taking classes from Liz Lewis in 1998.
She said she is influenced by the natural world. Her forest garden inspires her to make slab plates and vases impressed with ferns and grasses.
Her other roots are in folk art from indigenous cultures, where she says she sees sculptures of sacred animal spirit figures as carrying the energy of earth and fire, bringing people into a profound connection with their own creative energies.
A closer look: Studio 29
Like many artists, Lotus began showing her work out of a desire to share the incredible natural beauty of Vashon Island.
But art follows life, and as Lotus became an enthusiastic consumer of local organic food, her photos followed suit.
Her recent photos still show local beauty, but with the added beauty of familiar people in their natural surroundings.
Some images are from Vashon’s Farmers Market, and some are from farms themselves.
“I want to prostrate myself before our local farmers,” she said. “They are the foundation of civilization, really, and they make so little money at it!”
Lotus is opening her home for the December art tour.
Joining Lotus at Studio 29 are Debra Paulsen, Val Columbia and KB Jones.
Paulsen’s photos, calendars and cards also celebrate local scenes and Vashon wildlife, and she will also share items from Paulsen WoodGoods, including wooden toys, cutting boards, clocks and other fine hardwood items.
Columbia’s whimsical crocheted hats and scarves reveal a unique sense of design and color. Many enjoy the “cat ear” hats.
Jones, an accomplished glass artist, will hang some of her glass feathers.
Studio 29 is located behind Rock Island Pub & Pizza and across from its parking lot. It will be open starting with the First Friday art walk, along with many other studios on the art tour, from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 5.
Lotus’ images are also hanging in Homegrown Café in November and December.