Art Escapes

Whatcom Artist Studio Tour


What: 27th annual Whatcom Artist Studio Tour

Where: 22 studios throughout Whatcom County


WHEN: 10am-5pm Oct. 2-3 and 9-10

Cost: The self-guided tour is free


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Chris Moench is used to reconfiguring his life for the first two weekends of October in order to take part in the annual Whatcom Artist Studio Tour (WAST). But this year, he took on even more responsibility when he—along with fellow WAST participants Brian O’Neill and Linda Stone—signed up for the inaugural Whatcom Artists of Clay and Kiln (WACK) Studio Tour, an event featuring clay-focused creators that took place last weekend at nearly a dozen locales throughout Whatcom County.

Moench was a founder of WAST and is active in WACK, so it’s fitting that he’d make time for both tours. By doing so, he’s ensuring that as many people as possible have access to viewing his contemporary ceramic prayer wheels and engaging with him about his one-of-a-kind pottery pieces known to explore themes of hope, renewal and utility. (Plus, the outdoor gallery he set up for last week’s event is likely ready to go.)

Leather worker Kasey Potzler will also be showing and selling her hand-bound leather journals at Moench’s studio, and other locales will also feature multiple artists. For example, at the Waterfront Artist Collective in downtown Bellingham, knock three artists off your list by visiting the studios of painters Ria Harboe, Frank Frazee, and Karen Theusen.

At the Morgan Block Studios in historic Fairhaven, be prepared to get in some cardio by heading up the stairs to see what painters Ben Mann, Nancy Canyon, John Tolomei, Nicki Lang, and Ron Pattern have been up to in their respective studios. In Everson, sculptors Don Anderson and Suzanne Averre will also team up.

Additional sculptors on the tour include Shirley Erickson, Brett Cleveland, and Tomas Vrba, and painters Terry Brooks, Richard Bulman, Diane Ferree, Mary Gregg-Byrne, Kristen Ingman, Lorna Libert, and Joy Olney are also on the roster. Photographer Tommy Gibson, mixed-media masters Deb Dole and Ruth San Pietro, jeweler Liane Redpath, clay artist Larry Richmond, and glass guru Brian Kerkvliet also deserve a mention, as do wood turners Vernon and Karen Liebrant.

The 30-plus artists who’ll be taking part in the 27th annual Whatcom Artist Studio Tour at 22 studios through Whatcom County will be there not only to show off and sell their latest creations, but also to engage with the public in ways that highlight how and why they do what they do through demonstrations and conversations.

Due to the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, be prepared to wear masks and follow social distancing protocols at all indoor studios and check with each locale before arriving to see what additional steps they’re taking to stay safe. Some venues have set up reservation time slots to keep the number of visitors to a minimum—meaning you’ll have more space to peruse their art, make a purchase and take a breather before heading to the next studio.

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