Studios and galleries open for spring tour

The Spring Art Studio Tour, now in its 30th year, is on the first two weekends in May, from 10 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4, and, May 10 and 11.

The Spring Art Studio Tour, now in its 30th year, is on the first two weekends in May, from 10 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4, and, May 10 and 11.

Twenty-one studios along with group shows and galleries are open for an insider’s view of art.

All participating places are listed on a map-brochure that is available at most Island businesses and online at

On the north end, there’s Karen Amanda’s Draw the Line Studio (#1 on the map) where she combines mono-printing, collaging, and painting; the Willow Street Woodshop (#2), on Dolphin Point, where driftwood becomes art; and, Brian Brenno’s (#3) signature blown glass hats and garden art.

Moving south down Vashon Highway, don’t miss Lightmark Photography (#4) and Vashon Visions (#5) at Vashon Community Care Center.

Drive east towards Dilworth Point to see steel sculptures and jewelry at the Zartman Studio (#20), and glorious bells and dreamy views at GRB Bells (#21). Then, drive back to Vashon Highway for fused glass garden art at Glass on the Highway (#6).

Moseying down Cove Road, stop in at the Fox Tales Studio (# 7) for Karen Fox’s rich oil paintings, the incredible garden sculpture and group show at Barnworks (#8), and then Jiji Saunders’ intriguing luminous paintings further south on Westside Highway (#10). On Cemetery Road, stop in at Liz Lewis’s homey Cemetery Road studio (#11), all earthenware and raku pottery.

Visitors approaching the home and studio of Mary Margaret Briggs (#9), who first joined the tour four years ago, will see a sweet, broad-porched house before they are immersed in the pink of cherry blossoms, giant red silk Japanese lanterns and stately stone buddhas. Her collaged panels, composed of botanical and abstract monotypes, are the result of many influences: her former life as a textile designer, her four years in Asia and her love of the verdant beauty of her home here on Vashon.

Inside her spacious studios, she has set the stage for her art and guests with upbeat, unidentifiable world music and gracious furniture. Her panels are layers of light, stem and leaf from her own garden, infused with incredible color that somehow combines vibrancy with calm, and, unframed, are ready to hang.

“Take a step back and think ‘not plants,’ but form and color,” she says as she talks about how much she’s learned about botany from this process of art, about the growth habits of different plants and, sometimes, even the geometry of how plants grow. “I’m just grateful,” she says. “I think we’re given gifts that we’re supposed to use; it’s honest to listen to who you are and spend your days doing it.”

In town, stop in at Elemental Stitches Sewing Studio (#18) for soft sculpture, and then, perhaps, see Pam Ingalls’ “Facing Jamaica” show at The Hardware Store (#19) before ambling over to Ridge Road to check out Irene Otis’s Tiles (#17).

Just south of town, find the brand new Roobiblue Photography Studios (#14), and, on Quartermaster Harbor, Penny Grist and Larry Muir’s jewelry (#15) and Mary Hosick’s fiery decorative pottery (#16). In Burton, it’s a three-woman show of paintings, jewelry, and hats at the Back Bay Inn (#13).

The listings above are a sample of what is showing on the tour, and perhaps the greatest pleasure those taking the tour over the years have had is the chance to talk with artists in their places of work, talking about how they create the art they love and why they love it.

Also on show are galleries and businesses featuring tour art, including all the galleries on the First Friday tour, kicked off by the show at the Blue Heron Gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 2, that highlights one piece from each artists on the tour.