The Bainbridge Island Winter Studio Tour is 36 years old, and in its prime by any measure.
Fifty-six artists are set to show off their stuff in a variety of mediums across eight venues this year, each selected through a carefully juried process to ensure their unique “hand and spirit” is reflected in the work.
Known for hand-crafted artwork, the island cultural touchstone event is a free, self-guided art tour celebrating local creatives, set to return again Friday, Dec. 6 through Sunday, Dec. 8.
The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with free refreshments (grab a butter cookie and hot apple cider while you shop for original hand-made gifts made by your favorite regional artists) and a festive atmosphere.
The eight studios in this year’s winter event include: Ferrier Studio (5578 Lynwood Center Road NE), American Legion Hall (7880 NE Bucklin Hill Road), the Filipino-American Hall (7566 NE High School Road), Bethany Lutheran Church (7968 Finch Road NE), the Masonic Lodge (1299 Grow Ave. NE), Sylvia Carlton’s Studio (1245 Grow Ave. NW), Grange Hall (10340 Madison Ave. NE), and Hidden Cove Pottery & Tile (7176 NE Hidden Cove Road).
Each location boasts a variety of art mediums on display, such as jewelry, pottery, paintings, fiber, mixed media, photography, and glass. Some of the more unique artforms include: whimsical fairies and frogs, Nuno felted wearables, Christmas nutcrackers in a variety of characters, Sgraffito etched pottery, colorful fused glass birdhouses, and layered block acrylic paintings.
Among the regularly featured artisans, this year’s tour boasts several noteworthy new faces, too.
One such new artist, Beth Fox Heisinger, creates “acrylic on acrylic” pieces.
She said she has “always been fascinated by translucency, creating visual elements that interact with one another through layers versus sitting on the same visual plane.”
So, she takes that concept, coupled with her experience in brand design and art direction, to tell a story using layers of acrylic panels where she has applied extruded acrylic and acrylic paint. The result is a beautiful sense of depth, as the elements appear to float or glow, depending on the light source and viewing angle.
She can be found at Sylvia Carlton’s Studio on Grow Avenue.
The Masonic Lodge features several new artists this year, too, including Melanie Burns’ abstract acrylics.
Pouring and blending acrylic paints, she quickly manipulates the colors on canvas using various tools like a spatula or torch, and mediums like silicone. Then she works to merge and blend the quickly drying paints into breathtaking undersea landscapes, or abstract ribbons of color.
“I introduce the colors to each other, getting them to talk, and what emerges is a representation of what I see and feel,” she said.
Sandy Haight is another new artist to the Bainbridge Island Studio Tour this year, and will also be at the Masonic Lodge.
Her watercolors have a depth and realism that pull you into their own world, said tour manager Dinah Satterwhite.
“The shapes, designs and patterns inside flowers and plants are the subject that awakened my love of painting, giving me a chance to create images of stunning beauty while merging realism with an abstract sense of design,” Haight said.
Working with several watercolor glazes, the transparency layers add to the depth and luminosity, which she calls the inner landscape of flowers, or “Floralscapes.”
If you’re looking for wearables, the American Legion Hall has some lovely choices this year.
Barbara Weissman’s handwoven clothing and scarves are well known to locals. And newcomer Victoria Julian-Gray offers handmade wool slippers, handbags, and accessories made by 100 percent recycling wool clothing and bedding, then creating the “boiled wool,” and hand dying the wild colors she loves.
But she doesn’t stop there.
Gray appliqués beautiful adornments onto each piece, including embroidery and bead work, for truly one-of-a-kind wearable art.
There are many other new artists in the tour this year, along with everyone’s favorite regulars, too. Each artist has a short biography and several photos of their work available for perusing on the tour’s website (www.bistudiotour.com), and officials encourage would-be visitors to check out the detailed background information before they go to the tour (or after) so as to enjoy meeting the artists even more.
A brochure, including a complete listing of artists by studio, a map, and addresses, can be found at several regional stores, the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, downloaded from the website, or you can request one directly by mail.