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Arts Walk's Winter Whimsey

"If it's true that laughter can boost one's immune system, then a Sunday stroll through Winslow might even ward off a cold or two.A Winter's Whimsy, the theme of Feb. 4 Arts Walk, is calculated to infuse the winter blahs with a salutary dose of humor. And at the Playhouse, the works of artist Phyllis Evans will transport the viewer to sunny Tuscany.It may seem unlikely that bits of Japanese kimono could evoke Italian architecture, but that is what Evans accomplishes in her tour de force collages.It's fun to make the work, Evans said, but it's also a treat just to touch the fabric and look at it. Her work grew from a happy confluence of skill, technique, material and sensibility.Evans had worked with fabric in various capacities, including clerking in a store that specialized in period costumes. In 1987, her son gave her a photograph of an Italian stone staircase. The image resonated for Evans, who has Italian roots. Several months before, Evans had bought a few bags of Japanese kimono scraps with no particular use in mind. Fortuitously, a technique for fusing fabric on fabric with dry glue had just been perfected. Evans then had material, means and motivation. My kids didn't share my enthusiasm, Evans said, but I just loved the tactile quality of the fabric and the vibrant translucency of the silk.The variegated textures of the fabric seem a near-perfect vehicle to convey the rich textures of the ancient architecture. Evans found an outlet that sold whole kimonos, and had the prescience to buy six bales just before changes in currency and import laws closed the market. Since six bales is about 600 kimonos, Evans might have a lifetime supply. There are numerous other fine artists and craftspersons hosted by Winslow Way and Madison Avenue merchants.One might start at the Pavilion with the exhibit of Sally Prangley Rooney's painted chairs, Roy Peratrovich's playful bronze otters and Kathy Fraga's papier mache cats and dogs.Rooney and Fraga have also collaborated to fabricate a dog valentine party. Their joint project features a life-size, tiara-bedecked dalmatian sipping a margarita with canine friends.Linger at the Pavilion until 2 p.m. to hear the Seattle Mary Lydia Ryan trio perform spirit-lifting pop music with a jazz subtext. Or stroll Winslow Way for a serenade by the Baby Grand barbershop quartet ladies or their male counterpart, After Midnight.Before turning onto the Way, though, one might stop at Bainbridge Bakers to see Sally Jo Martine's playful sea glass and wire constructions.Martine, who doubles as Bainbridge Performing Arts' marketing director, makes jewelry and kinetic sculpture. It takes little impetus to set her small sculptures of sea glass wrapped in wire spinning round and round.Growing up by the water in Tahuya, I was riveted by the patterns in nature, Martine said. I collect natural materials. I have so much stuff, I may have to move out of my house soon. She has landscaped her yard with paths of stone and glass that lead nowhere in particular, and driftwood standing upright like a petrified forest.Martine, who discovered herself as an artist in the wake of a personal crisis, believes that making art can enhance mental, spiritual and even physical health.After checking out Melody Starkwater's wearable art at Fox Paw, continue toward the waterfront to Pegasus Coffee House and Gallery, where author/photographer Sue Hylen is signing copies of her book, Double Exposure.Then slip next door to Harbour Public House to savor Craig Snyder's paintings, Illustrations of a Life Journey - and perhaps an adult beverage.* * * * *More than 25 regional artists will display work in Winslow for Arts Walk, 12-5 p.m. Feb. 4. The events are free. Call 842-7901 for information. "

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