Arts and Entertainment

Bainbridge Studio Tour fuels creativity

To hear the types and textures of art on display at this year’s Bainbridge Island Winter Studio Tour is to feel it in your fingertips.

Fiber art, metal work, sculptures, felt, wood; the list of participants, longer than ever before at 70, boasts the more common (jewelers, photographers) and the unusual (recycled magazine virtuosos.)

The past few years have been tough on art venues. Galleries closed, small shop owners found themselves in a losing competition with big-name stores. Tour manager Dinah Satterwhite said art appreciation hasn’t waned, but buying has fizzled, as consumers rationalize each expenditure and focus on basic necessities.

But the slow-buying traffic hasn’t stopped creativity, and artists of extreme caliber — whose work can be found on magazine covers, in East Coast museums and around the necks of television stars — will show their work this weekend.

“I think it bespeaks well to the studio tour that, with the economy where it is, artists who haven’t done (the tour) in the past want to do it,” Satterwhite said.

The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 4-6. This is its 26th year. It is hosted in 10 Bainbridge locations, from the Robert Spangler Studio on Oddfellows Road, to the Bainbridge Commons at Waterfront Park, to Seabold Hall on Komedal Road. Visit BIStudioTour.com for a map of locations.

Despite the high quality and renowned names onboard, Satterwhite said the tour artists each pitch in, collaborating volunteer hours to carry off the event. It’s created a family feel, she said.

The tour began as a casual gathering at the home of Gregg Mesmer and Diane Bonciolini, the two artists behind glass studio Mesolini. It evolved from there, Satterwhite said, and now brings out local artists who have previously been undiscovered.

Artists “come out of the woodwork on Bainbridge,” she said. “It’s exciting to see applications, then to see the jurying.”

Nine years ago the tour added a second yearly date, so it now occurs in both December and August. The change was made to meet customer demand.

Satterwhite said 75 to 80 percent of the artists are from Bainbridge, and all hail from the region, reaching as far as the Olympic Peninsula.

Each of their mediums have been stirred into a mix that is finely balanced, so that each of the tour’s 10 locations offers a variety of art.

Roughly 25 of the artists are new to the tour this year. Satterwhite, a two-year manager of the event, has entered her work in the tour for a decade.

She takes black and white film photos and hand tints them.

The tour also features strolling carolers, cookies and cider to browsers and buyers alike. The event offers the chance to see works in progress, equipment, tools and discussion directly with an artist. More information: (206) 842-0504.

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