This will be the Artist Studio Tours largest event, featuring 22 studios and 62 artists, including kaleidoscope craftsman Sallie and Luc Durette, mixed-media painter Lisa Lamoreaux and ceramic artist Maria Michaelson.
“I have actually been on the tour for seven years, as a guest artist,” Michaelson said, adding that she is excited to host a studio this year.
The event began 27 years ago, as a small group of artist friends decided to jointly open their studios to the public for a free self-guided tour weekend. This year each studio will be open from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3.
“The concept of showing the public a studio where artists work is such a fantastic idea,” Michaelson said, explaining people don’t often have a chance to see the labor behind the art.
Michaelson developed a passion for ceramics in art school. There is a skill to ceramics, she said, and flexibility for creativity, so the craft utilizes both sides of her brain. Her studio, the Alchemy Art Center, is located on Wold Road where there will be impressive sculptures created by Michaelson and her partner, bronze artist Eben Shay. Guest artists in this studio include acrylics by Lisa Lawrence and Kim Brun, as well as jewelry by Cady Davies.
Michaelson grew up on the island, as did mixed-media artist Laura Bauer, whose studio is located on Bailer Hill.
“The island is an awesome place to start an art career,” said Michaelson, adding that there is no need to move to a big city like New York or San Francisco. For artists like Michaelson, the community is incredibly supportive, and the lifestyle offers people time to think and reflect. Being surrounded by the natural beauty of the islands also lends material for the creative soul.
Persistence creating and consistent marketing is Lamoreaux’s advice to young artists.
“Take advantage of every marketing opportunity, farmers markets, small shows,” she said. Even at farmers markets, she explained, you will get a feel for your customers and possibly even meet gallery owners.
Mixed-media landscape designs as well as images of hummingbirds, bumble bees and owls will be prevalent at Lamoreaux’s brand new studio off Westside Road.
Next door are the Durettes, crafters of kaleidoscopes.
“Kaleidoscope means beautiful world to see,” Sallie Durette explained, adding that they were invented by a Scottish scientist while he was researching mirrors in the 1800s. They quickly became a popular parlor toy. Today, not only are they used for fun, but as a meditative device, as well as therapy for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Each studio in the tour will have a raffle, and the Durrettes will be raffling off a kaleidoscope with a $170 value.
For more info, visit www.sanjuanislandartists.com.