Whatcom Artist Studio Tour
What: Whatcom Artist Studio Tour
Where: Throughout Whatcom County
WHEN: 10am-5pm Sat.-Sun., Oct. 12-13
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
“How do you know when a painting is finished?” I asked Randy Clark—also known as “Fishboy”—soon after entering his Virginia Street studio in Bellingham’s Sunnyland neighborhood during opening day of the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour (WAST).
“They tell me,” he answered with a grin, pointing to a couple of large works on the wall still awaiting a final burst of creativity. “These guys, they’re not quite there yet.”
My date and I stuck around for a few more minutes while Clark held court near his easel and fielded questions about his process and works in progress from visitors who’d made their way from his art-filled house—which is also open to the public during the two weekends of the tour—to his paint-splattered creative space.
Our next stop took us to Humboldt Street, where woodworkers Jennifer and Thomas Dolese of Terra Firma Design were exhibiting handmade furniture such as chairs, bed frames, a lovely cannabis-themed storage box and stunning light fixtures. Dolese told us they own the warehouse where they also teach classes and share work space with fellow woodworker Stefan Straka. Guest artist King Dahl was showing off his environmentally inspired pieces, and wheel-thrown stoneware pottery by fellow WAST member Larry Richmond was on display.
Richmond’s own studio is nearby on Alabama Street, not far away from painters Terry Brooks and Neil LeMoine, sculptor Shirley Erickson, and clay artist Linda Stone. It’s one of many routes visitors can follow Oct. 12-13 during the second and final weekend of the 25th annual tour.
To celebrate WAST’s silver anniversary and see the many sights provided by the 43 participating artists, you may want to split your time between city and county routes. If that sounds exhausting, consider catching a Brew Bus Tour. For $30, attendees are ferried on routes that travel from studio to studio while also serving beer from local breweries.
However you get to their studios, consider the fact that a few of the artists whose work you’re perusing—and possibly purchasing—have been participating in the juried happening since its inception in 1994. Back then, the event was an experimental one, but has since grown into one of longest-running studio tours in the state.
“Community-wide studio tours weren’t a mainstay then, like they are now,” current tour president Karen Theusen says. “Throughout the years, it’s been amazing to watch the tour grow into something that really gets the whole community involved in celebrating the lives of working artists.”
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