Island Getaways

Art with a view

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Labor Day weekend acts as a stark reminder that the pleasures of summertime will soon be a distant memory.

But whether you choose to spend the holiday weekend soaking up the sights at a nearby campground, making your way to Seattle for the creative extravaganza known as Bumbershoot, or checking out one or more of the island getaways I’ll be detailing forthwith, keep in mind that the act of seeking out and appreciating beauty isn’t confined to one season.

This is especially true when it comes to the Lummi Island Artists’ Studio Tour, which will feature more than 35 artists and craftspeople offering their work for public perusal Sat.-Sun., Sept. 1-2 at 25 locales around the eight-mile land mass located approximately 20 minutes (and a short ferry ride) from downtown Bellingham.

The event happens three times throughout the year—on Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, and in mid-November in advance of the winter holidays—but the one just around the corner is my personal favorite, as it portends the island’s dry dock, when the Whatcom Chief leaves Lummi Island for its annual checkup and paint job, and islanders are left without a vehicle ferry for as many as three weeks.

At the same time visitors are driving or biking around the island and peeking into studios containing the work of painters, jewelers, quilters, potters, metalworkers, photographers, woodworkers, quilters and more, residents will be battening down their hatches and stocking up on supplies for the coming days, when they’ll have to rely on a passenger ferry to get them from the island to Gooseberry Point, and vice versa. After what is typically a busy summer, fewer cars and visitors means residents have a chance to catch their collective breath—and artists can start planning for the next studio tour.

Stellar views will also be part of the 22nd annual Lopez Island Studio Tour happening Sept. 1-2, which will feature dozens of artists in multiple locales who will be sharing a number of genres of art.

“As you visit our studios, you will discover that some are works of art in themselves, hidden in lush garden settings, by a pond, in the woods, or at the waters edge,” organizers say. “You may have to park your car and walk a ways. Consult the map and follow the studio signs. They will direct you around the island and take you on a treasure hunt of fine art and fine craftsmanship.

“You will encounter painters in oils, pastels, watercolors, acrylics and mixed media; print makers and digital imaging artists; ceramic artists, woodworkers, metal sculptors and textile weavers.”

For a sneak peek of what you can find with a little searching, make your way to a preview gallery at the island’s Community Center, where select works from the artists on the tour can be perused—giving you a better idea of what sorts of visual treasures await you.

Finally, just getting to the Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild’s annual “Woodpalooza” event happening Sept. 1-3 at the Whidbey Center for the Arts is reason enough to embark on a day trip, as those traveling to Langley must pass over the awe-inspiring Deception Pass Bridge on State Route 20, which connects the north end of Whidbey to the mainland via Fidalgo Island.

Now in its 15th year, the Guild includes makers of furniture, cabinetry, architectural woodwork, turners, clock makers, sawyers, carvers, restorers, musical instrument makers, boat builders and refinishers.

The 20 featured artisans will be on hand during the three-day event to talk about their inspirations and creations, so if you’re curious about how their work is connected to the lovely place they live, don’t be afraid to speak up. The Guild seeks to support professional woodworkers as well as inspire and educate budding amateurs and provide awareness to the general public of the skills available locally from its talented members, so all questions are welcomed.

Since Woodpalooza continues until Labor Day proper, it’ll be possible to visit each of the aforementioned events during the long weekend, meaning you can hold on to summer just a little while longer.

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