By Theresa Goffredo Herald Writer
The functional meets the aesthetic at this year’s Whidbey Island Studio Tour.
More than 30 artists are opening their studios to the public Saturday and Sunday on the island known for its enclave of talented artists.
Many of those artists produce pieces that combine function with beauty.
Take, for instance, the custom woodwork of Rob Hetler, whose clean, crisp lines on cabinets and precise joining of northwest woods create one-of-a-kind works for the kitchen and elsewhere. Hetler can also make people’s last resting place a thing of beauty with his funerary boxes and urns.
Robbie Lobell produces clay pots for oven and tableware that are elegant and that Lobell believes makes the food taste better.
Wood artist Gary Leake searches the countryside for unique pieces of timber in cherry, maple or walnut and turns it into an engineered piece of furniture. Leake’s style is reminiscent of the Mission style and he uses antique woodworking tools and skills. He is also influenced by the Shaker style, colonial and early American hand tool techniques, creating wood with a natural finish look.
Marcy Johnson makes lovely handwoven scarves and pounded jewelry, along with rugs.
If your art doesn’t need to serve a function except to bring joy, there’s plenty to choose from as well.
Open artist studios will display paintings, mixed media pieces and metal sculptures such as selections by Dave Breining, who after more than 30 years as a metal worker and welder, spontaneously starting making birds.
Breining now incorporates mechanics with nature. His metal pieces have been called “kinetic engineering” as the construction and balance of some of his work causes them to move with the slightest breeze.
The Whidbey Working Artists Spring Tour tour features 28 artists at 21 locations from Greenbank to Oak Harbor.
The tour is free and self-guided from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tour maps are given out at various locations throughout Whidbey Island and also can be downloaded from www.whidbeyworkingartists.com.
For more information, call the Whidbey Island Arts Council at 360-678-3396 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org;http://email@example.com[/URL].
A kickoff preview reception runs from 5 to 8 tonight at the Pacific NorthWest Art School, 15 NW Birch St., Coupeville, with refreshments and works from some of the artists on the tour to help visitors decide which studios to visit. Tour maps will be available.
Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424