Art in Action

The studio tour scene

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Anyone watching a writer practicing their craft would likely become bored after the first few minutes.

Watching artists in action is a whole other animal.

When you’re planning your route for the second weekend of the 24th annual Whatcom Artist Studio Tour, be sure to look on the map in the detail-filled catalogue for the creative spaces marked “Demo: Daily.” They’ll guide visitors to artists such as woodworkers Karen and Vernon Leibrant, sculptors Don Anderson and Suzanne Averre, clayworker Brian O’Neill, glass artist Brian Kerkvliet, and painters Rebecca Meloy, Karen Theusen, Kristen Ingman, Joy Olney, and Cooper Lanza—all of whom will spend at least part of their tour with the tools of their trade in hand.

But even those who plan to spend less time making art and more time talking about it will help bring their creative process into focus from 10am-5pm Sat.-Sun., Oct. 13-14. Some, like sculptor and painter Shirley Erickson, have been taking part in WAST long enough to know that the first step in making someone care about your art is being able to express to them what it means to you, and where the inspiration for it came from.

“I have been participating in the studio tour for 12 years now,” Erickson says. “I have had visitors from all over the United States come to my studio. It gives them an opportunity to see where and how artists in this community work and live. I’ve even had a few visitors from Europe stop in.

“My favorite part of the tour is having people return to my studio year after year to see what I have been creating. It has been a very positive experience to have conversations about the why and how I create.”

Each artist has stories to tell, so whether you’re visiting Chris Moench and finding out how his haunting “prayer wheels” came to be, discussing the use of house paint with Terry Brooks, parsing details about Larry Richmond’s intricately patterned ceramics, talking with Tomas Vrba about how a chain saw can also be a muse, or delving into the background of one of the other 40 artists taking part in the countywide collaboration, it’s likely you’ll find out something you didn’t already know about what they do.

Sometimes, you’ll even gain insight about how the artists draw inspiration and support from each other.

“I like participating with other artists in the tour,” painter Nancy Canyon says. “The artists help each other to get out there and to let people know who has something that would be a good fit for a client’s home. In the Morgan Block Building (in Fairhaven), we share responsibilities with signage and who is providing what for our guests. We celebrate before or after the tour, and help each other by displaying something of each artist’s in our rooms.

“WAST artists are grouped in areas, which makes the tour convenient for folks. And since it’s spread over two weekends, the tour can be taken in a few leisurely trips,” Canyon adds. “People can see where and how artists create their works, and talk with the artist directly.”

Photo of Rebecca Meloy in her Cottage Industry Home Studio is by John Meloy.

More Visual...
Dark Visions
Casting shadows in Skagit

It’s not only the time of year, but the state of the world, that is casting shadows over artwork in two Skagit galleries this month. Smith & Vallee in Edison hosts work by Jasmine Valandani and Peregrine O’Gormley, as Natalie Niblack is featured at Perry and Carlson in Mount Vernon. …

more »
Once Again
Fall color at River Gallery

Maggie Mason takes my breath away. In the autumn “Small Works” show at River Gallery, Mason’s collages stand out for exquisite craftsmanship and inventive design—whether it’s “Paris in Winter,” or my favorite, “Winter Swans.” How does she put them together and where does she…

more »
Endangered Art
From Whatcom to Western

While admiring the gothic, multi-layered beauty of Isabella Kirkland’s oil painting “Gone,” I came to a horrible realization concerning every one of the 63 species of animals and plants depicted in the masterwork on display as part of the “Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of…

more »
Bellingham at Home Informational Meeting

1:00pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Endangered Species Curator's Tour

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Prosecutors race is a referendum on reform


Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Where the sidewalk ends


Walking to the End of the World

7:00pm|Village Books

Brian Dean Trio

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Climate Change and Forests

7:00pm|Sustainable Living Center

Modified documentary and Panel Discussion

7:30pm|Pickford Film Center

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Parkinson's Dance Class

10:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Komo Kulshan Ski Swap

4:00pm|Bloedel Donovan

Jazz Jam

5:30pm|Illuminati Brewing

Camber Exhcange

5:30pm|1820 Scout Place

Falling Out of the Box Jewelry Challenge

6:00pm|Jansen Art Center

Squash Celebration

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Chuckanut Radio Hour

6:30pm|Whatcom Community College

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Nooksack River Travelogue

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Duck Variations

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Skriker

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Side Show

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Web
Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Komo Kulshan Ski Swap

4:00pm|Bloedel Donovan

The Duck Variations

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Skriker

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Side Show

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Cider Days


Fall Family Weekend

12:00pm|Western Washington University

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Spaghetti Feed

5:00pm|Ferndale Senior Center

Bread and Puppet Theater

5:00pm|Laurel Park

Paper mache and politics


Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Gore and Lore Tours

6:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

7:00pm|Blaine High School

Friday Night Flicks

7:00pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Pride and Prejudice

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

A Night with Miguel de Hoyos

7:00pm|Kennelly Keys

Laura Read and Friends

7:00pm|Village Books

Daily Dying

7:00pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship


7:30pm|McIntyre Hall


7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Teton Gravity Research

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Trove Web Siro Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books