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32 strong for annual Sequim Studio Tour
Going into its seventh year, the Sequim Arts Studio Tour is bigger than ever.
This year, 32 artists partner and go solo in 18 studios in and around Sequim on July 19-21 during Lavender Weekend.
Catherine Mix, chairman of the show and a watercolorist, said the tour has been building up energy over the years.
“I know I have wanted to be on this tour for a long time and this was finally the year that I just cleared my calendar and made it happen,” Mix said.
Several artists on the tour are first-timers, which was a conscious effort by existing touring artists to recruit more people.
Steve Portner, a woodworker on the tour for three years, said everyone involved pushed for an increase in participation.
“A bigger tour is only going to draw more people,” he said.
The biggest reason for artists to return each year is the visitors.
Susan Shaw, a watercolorist and mixed media artist, said she always looks forward to speaking with and meeting new people.
“It’s the people who give me the energy,” Shaw said.
Portner said the tour is good exposure for him and creates an intimate setting between him and visitors.
“People come in staggered and I can talk to them for 25 to 30 minutes at a time,” he said.
Gourd artist Roberta Cooper has participated for four years and finds each year to be wonderful.
“I like interacting with people and telling them how I got started,” she said.
“I also don’t have to haul my stuff out somewhere to show it.”
She, like most of the artists, plan demonstrations each day of the tour. Cooper intends to show applying colors on Friday, applying pine needles on the top of the gourd and then creating chip design the following days.
Some are even planning hands-on events like Shaw’s exhibition where she and four fellow artists encourage people to try their art, too. Cooper is bringing in her barbershop quartet, Hot Apple Pie at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The response is different for every artist, Mix said.
“We all enjoy demonstrating our art processes; some get tremendous joy from showing and discussing their work,” she said.
“I’s great fun to meet other artists and swap techniques and talk about new art materials and occasionally we may be asked to do commissions.”
Mix said visitors are often artists with whom she swaps concepts and techniques.
“Sometimes they are just beginning on their own art trek and I am happy to encourage them because I remember just starting out,” she said. “A few of them are art patrons who just love to enjoy and talk about good art.”
Shaw finds the tour can engage any art enthusiast.
“The diversity of this tour is amazing,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
The Studio Tour features exclusive acrylics, collages, fused glass, gourds, jewelry, metal sculptures, mixed media, pastels, oils, photography, rock projects, sand sculptures, watercolors and woodwork.
Sequim Arts sponsors the event as part of its mission — “Artists and supporters encouraging and promoting the visual arts in the community.”
Its monthly meetings begin in September; more information available at www.sequimarts.org.