by ASHLEY MILLER
for the Sequim Gazette
An artist’s studio is a magical place.
Strong hands mold a lump of clay into a delicate sculpture.
A plain white canvas soon is decorated with a beautiful watercolor painting.
With the click of a button, a photographer captures a moment in time forever.
Usually, an artist’s studio is private. Sometimes it’s even a little messy. During the 2011 Fifth annual self-guided Sequim Studio Tour, sponsored by Sequim Arts, more than two dozen artists will open their studios to the public and invite visitors to see art in the making.
Many of the artists will have ongoing demonstrations showing the “how’s” and “why’s” of their techniques and media. Each artist has a unique style and questions are encouraged.
Among those on tour are Charlotte Watts, a fine art and nature photographer located up Chicken Coop Road.
Cynthia Thomas will work with her mixed media 3-D metamorphic series dealing with the physical, emotional and spiritual connection humans have with nature.
The “Barn Sisterhood” — Susan Gansert Shaw, Lynne Armstrong and Mary Franchini — will show their work at Rock Hollow Farm. The trio meets regularly in the barn to share ideas, thoughts and pieces they’re working on. They invite guests to visit the 10-acre farm and bring a picnic or snack to relax at one of the outdoor tables while listening to live guitar music.
“We each work very differently but respect each other and understand each other’s artistic intent,” said Gansert Shaw, a watercolor, pastel and mixed media painter.
Armstrong is a watercolor, oil and acrylic painter and Franchini specializes in collage and mixed media.
Wander up into the hills and you’ll find Marlien K. Hennen, a cedar bark weaver for nearly a decade, at her Dancing Cedar Arts Studio & Gallery. Hennen finds most of her inspiration for art from the natural beauty of the Olympic Peninsula’s flora and fauna, forest, mountains, rivers and sea coast.
“The incorporation of antlers, driftwood, conks, seashells and many other materials often influence the form a sculpture shall take,” Hennen explained. “It is during the summer months when the sap is flowing that the process of collecting bark begins.”
Gathering bark, Hennen continued, is very labor-intensive and slow but an important part of the process of creation.
The tour, according to Gansert Shaw, is as much about viewing artwork as it is education.
“We’ll all be demonstrating and it’s a great way to see where the artist is coming from,” she said. “The diversity on this year’s tour is exceptional and there’s a lot of new talent.”
The tour takes place July 15-17 in conjunction with the Sequim Lavender Festival and Sequim Lavender Farm Faire.
“We are jewelers and silversmiths, photographers and glass artists. We do bronze sculptures, metal work, watercolor paintings, woodworking and furniture, oil, collage and mixed media,” Gansert Shaw said.
“We do woven cedar basketry, gourd creations, stone work and ceramics and we are looking forward to sharing our skills with you. We welcome you to our workshops.”
More information is available online at www.sequimstudiotour.org. Brochures can be picked up at the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, local galleries, businesses, inns and bed and breakfasts.
Artists sharing their work include:
1. Charlotte Watts 2. Elsbeth McCleod 3. Ed Crumley
4. John McBride 5. Iris Edey 6. Roberta Cooper
7. Cynthia Thomas 8. Renee Mullikin 9. Susan O’Brien
10. Sally Cays 11. Carrie Rodlend 12. Steve Portner
13. Susan Martin Spar 14. Chuck Stern 15. Terry Grasteit
16. Janine Hegy 17. Robert W. Stem 18. Susan Gansert Shaw
19. Mary Franchini 20. Lynne Armstrong 21. Marlien Hennen
22. Richard O’Connor 23. Patricia Gordon
A few of the artists will share studio space during the tour. For more information about a certain artist or to see examples of his or her work, go to www.sequimstudiotour.org and click on the artist’s name on the right-hand side of the page.