Karrie and Jay Stemmler of Indianola Pottery have participated in the Art in the Woods studio tour for five years, and they sometimes learn as much as their visitors do.
They said visitors often help them see their own work in a new light.
“There’s often an item or two that we debate putting in the gallery,” Karrie said. “But those pieces are usually sold the first morning. It’s uncanny that way.”
“Everybody sees a piece of art differently,” Jay added. “It’s pretty cool.”
The Stemmlers are two of 72 artists who will open their doors to visitors for 2013 Art in the Woods, Nov. 8-10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tour is self-guided and free. It’s a doozy of an experience.
Visit any and as many galleries as you can, on any or all days of the event. It’s a chance to meet and interact with artists specializing in every media imaginable: assemblage, basketry, block prints, ceramics, clay, clothing, glass, gourds, jewelry, letterpress printing, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, prints, quilting, sculpture, stone, terra cotta, textiles, wool, and wood furniture.
Visitors can observe demonstrations in processes such as etching, glass lampwork, or raku.
On the tour: Nine studios in Indianola, four in Poulsbo, two in Suquamish, three in Kingston, and five elsewhere in North Kitsap. Studio sizes range from single-artist working environments to groups of artists in larger venues.
Printmaker and painter Leigh Knowles, who owns Knowles Studio, coordinates the tour on behalf of The Cultural Arts Foundation Northwest, which also presents the Poulsbo Arts Festival in August and awards grants and scholarships.
Knowles said the tour is broad in its benefits. It’s free, and visitors can meet artists and get to know artistic processes. The artists pay to be part of the tour, and money raised helps fund the foundation’s philanthropy (and, hopefully, artists sell some of their works on the tour).
And, finally, the event builds relationships between the artists.
Karrie Stemmler said “Unfortunately, no,” when asked if she gets a chance to break away and visit other artists’ studios. It’s a busy weekend that brings as many as 270 people through Indianola Pottery’s doors.
“It’s fun,” said Diana Kingsley of Kingston Cove Studio. “You get to meet people who love art, you meet neighbors you don’t know, and you get an opportunity to meet a variety of artists.”
When any of the expected 500 visitors aren’t streaming through the door, Kingsley and mixed-media sculptor Susan Blackburn, nature photographer Bonnie Block, collage and charcoal artist Catherine Martinez, and painter Ruth Maupin will get to chat about the business of art — how they sell their art, what works and what doesn’t work.
“There’s a lot more that goes into being an artist than meets the eye,” Kingsley said.
Kingsley said input she received during her first Art in the Woods — last year — influenced her to switch from impressionist to abstract. She prefers painting abstracts. Of her abstracts, she wrote, “Travel and art are two of the passions of my life. I used to travel through life and photograph scenes that I hope to paint. Now I take the color and emotion from the places I visit to design colorful abstracts.”
Art in the Woods is sponsored by Front Street Gallery, Artists’ Edge framing and art supply store, Bremerton Symphony Association, Verksted Gallery Artists’ Cooperative, Knowles Studio Gallery, Liberty Bay Gallery & Gifts, and Bluewater Artworks Gallery and Framing.