Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tacoma Art Studio Tour

Recently, we went on a mini tour of some Tacoma's artists studios, to see the places they work, meet them, hear about their process & a bit of their individual artistic journeys. This has always been one of my favorite things to do, even if I can only do these things through a book. Every year, artists in Tacoma open their studios to the public, so we can view how they work & even meet & talk to them. We only got to a few this year, but every one was fascinating, in it's own way.

Sign in front of the studio of paper artist, Holly Senn 

Our first stop was paper artist Holly Senn who sculpts forms, inspired by nature, out of old library books:
Paper wasp nests made for the Jupiter Hotel installation. She was inspired to make these by the impermanence of hotel spaces mirrored in the impermanence of wasp & bee nests. 
Honey combs, for the same hotel installation
A bit of natural inspiration
Some of the forms (covered in plastic wrap) used for small pieces, like birds nests. She forms her sculptures using strips of paper lightly coated in glue, many of them require forms, some do not.
Our next stop was the studio of photographer Victoria Bjorklund, complete with a little gallery of several of  her recent series, a vintage bakelite viewfider slide show, a transfer demo (so easy!) & a fascinating view into her newest work involving Poloroid cameras & I phones. How do you transfer an image using Purell hand soap, you might wonder, if you knew that's what we used as a medium? This involved transparencies, a small piece of balsa wood, a roller & the soap. The balsa wood (you could use almost anything for the base) was thouroughly coated in a small amount of Purell, the transparency placed on top, with your finger, rub a little around the edges to secure. Take the roller & roll across the image, numerous times, to transfer the image, pressing down enough enough to get all of the image (don't worry too much, I didn't get all of my image transferred, but it had a nice, weathered look ). Interesting transfer technique that I would like to try some more of.

After this, we went to Throwing Mud Gallery, a pottery studio, shop & workspace where classes in pottery making are taught.
Throwing Mud Gallery window, Art Bus parked in front 
Gallery owner Mark Hudak, potter & instructor throwing a vase
Studio kilns
Tile bits & pieces in a gallery doorway
Lastly (almost) we stopped by the studio of Jessica Spring of Springtide Press filled with fascinating machines, type & fun stuff (I so want a small printing press!), where we were allowed to print samples of our own on great little old presses:

One of the great old presses in the studio that we got to practice on

A small portion of the drawers & drawers filled with type
A more industrial machine & a small sample of the studio's work
Inks & tools on the wall (plus a great 1950's calendar)
Old school 'printing' ;)
Later, we stopped by Tinkertopia, a great little shop for artists of all kind, filled with   conventional & non conventional materials of all sorts for recycling, re-purposing, just waiting to be given a new life & a new story to tell.

Dinosaur inside Tinkertopia
And finally, dinner, yum!:

Delicious pizza (& humungous brownies) inside Abella :)
A fun & interesting way to spend a day!

*All images the property of Shelley McElhiney, all rights reserved

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