Studio art tour promises a wealth of gift ideas

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 arts studios.

“Seven Flies

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 arts studios.

More than 60 artists are participating. A map of the tour can be found at many Island businesses or online at

From making ornaments at Brian Brenno’s glass studio, to experiencing the sights and smells of Fiddle Home candles, to seeing Liz Lewis’s new pottery studio addition, Islanders will be able to “art tour” to their heart’s content during the next two weekends.

Some of the studios will also be open for First Friday festivities from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5.

Here’s a roundup of just a few shows and studios that are part of the tour.

Wood toys

What would the season be without toys? Chuck and Betty Gardner are V-M Island Crafts & Jewelry (#21 on the map).

She makes jewelry; he works in wood.

Some years ago, Chuck was asked to make ferry boats for the Heron’s Nest in addition to his beautifully decorated walking sticks, toy trains and free-standing wooden puzzles.

His prototype was inspired by a North Carolina ferry that he and Betty had taken while on vacation, but Chuck quickly learned that Pacific Northwest children wanted Pacific Northwest ferries.

Now, his boats come with two tiers, six cars and a dock ramp.

Try weaving

Sue Willingham’s studio, The Willingham Weavery (#16 on the map), is filled with looms (including a small table loom, just for children), shelves of densely colored thread and tables stacked with hand-woven wearable and home decorating items.

“Women go straight for the tables,” she says, and “the men want to know how the looms work.”

Willingham gives lessons and invites her studio visitors to give weaving a try.

Totem poles

How many Islanders know that totem poles are made on Vashon?

Israel Shotridge has created commissioned totem poles and carved screens for more than 25 years, and the Shotridge Studios (#2 on the map) has always featured one major piece in the tour.

But this year there are two — a 12-foot “Lovebird” totem pole that’s lavishly carved with animal spirits (the first one in 13 years that’s been for sale on the tour) and two massive panels that will eventually find their way into a Belltown condominium building.

The studio also will have silver and abalone shell jewelry by Sue Shotridge on display.

See a preview at

Encaustic paintings

Janice “Kooch” Campbell, Carpe Diem Primary School’s owner, began as a Seattle Children’s Theater illustrator and became an established painter at Vashon’s Waterworks and Barnworks.

Three years ago, she began working with an encaustic process that uses layers of paint, resin and beeswax, manipulating texture and light to achieve an unusual effect.

“I was ready for something less rigid and more creative,” she said.

Her studio (#14 on the map) is aptly named Animal Botanical, and it is filled with small paintings of owls, crows and Island meadows.

Barnworks — a good cause

Barnworks (#9 on the map) will offer its 26th annual show, featuring 11 artists working in watercolor, pastel, oil and acrylic. Artists include Jerry Balcom, Donna Botten, Mary Hodgins, Dayl Holst, Sharon Munger, Geri Peterson, Jayne Quig, Hartmut Reimnitz, Ilse Reimnitz, Jon-Eric Schafer and Jan Wall.

Each year Barnworks donates to the Vashon High School scholarship fund.

This year, their donation will center around a colorful collage depicting the Vashon Farmers Market. The piece will be on display and raffle tickets will be sold during the show. All raffle proceeds will go to the scholarship fund.

Barnworks will have a special preview party from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5.

That’s Italian!

Pam Ingalls will show oil paintings of everyday objects and Italian scenes at The Hardware Store Restaurant. Ingalls was in Italy last December to participate in the 2007 Florence Biennale exhibition.

“Italy is so paintable,” she said. “Every little street is full of centuries of life, light and color.”

Along with Ingalls’ European cityscapes, there will be interiors and still lifes from Vashon and Jamaica. The show opens from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, with Daryl Redeker playing guitar from the stage above the gallery.

Preview the art at

‘Painterly’ photos

Andie Styner, at Roobiblue Studios (#13 on the map), is a transplanted East Coast graphic designer who found herself home when she moved to Vashon four years ago.

Using her fine art background and her talent for photography, she creates some distinctly provocative “fleurotica” flower photography, along with photographs with 15 to 20 layers of detail and texture.

She offers prints and magnets, along with her popular Wish Rock cards and containers. Styner’s studio will be open for the First Friday art walk.

For a preview, visit

An array of Islanders’ works

Waterworks Studio (#22 on the map) will offer a wide array of artful gifts created by and for Islanders.

The studio showcases the work of Christine and Darsie Beck, Vicki Browne, Ginny Ciszek, Mike Maher, Janice Mallman, Ray Pfortner, Nancy Wing, The Lavender Sisters, Kate Rutherford and Lindsay Aickin.

The studio will open its doors for a preview party from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5.

Art ranges from watercolors, etched glass creations, sculpture, photography, Japanese paper lamps and night lights, prayer flags, unique ceramics, distinctive jewelry, fine soaps, baskets and brooms, Island-grown lavender products, notecards and more.

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