Two dozen artists opened their Gig Harbor-area studios and workshops to the public last weekend for the 20th annual self-guided Open Studio Tour.
The tour offered a snapshot of what goes into creating pieces that are eventually put on display. Artists make themselves available to guests and highlight personal techniques, and they welcome the opportunity to talk about the art medium process.
Mixed media artist Melinda Curtin is new to Gig Harbor and the tour but not the concept of having her space open to the public.
“I have done open studio tours before,” Curtin said. “I enjoy meeting and interacting with people. This is my first time having a home studio, and so far it is working out well.”
Curtin used to be an art teacher, so she doesn’t mind when people watch her work.
“It’s fun for me watching people create something,” she said. “They like the feeling they did something creative during the tour.”
Curtin works with acrylics and other media. Along with decorative paintings, she is known for her Art Underfoot: hand painted, sealed, rubber floor tiles that are functional art pieces.
Curtin has created nearly 2,000 custom entry and kitchen tiles for clients.
“I just had a request for one that will be 5-by-7, which is pretty big,” she said. “I love hearing from previous clients and how much they love and use the pieces.”
Three friends who were out on the tour stopped by Curtin’s sky-lit studio, and they admired some of the floor tiles.
“I love seeing new things on the tour,” said Sandy Cunningham of Spanaway. “I’ve never seen anything like this floor-art tile.”
Curtin also produces acrylic alphabet art with landmark letter squares for cities. She has completed Seattle and is working on Tacoma and Gig Harbor.
Guests who visited were asked for ideas to help fill in the letter squares as she gets acquainted with the South Sound.
Another stop included pottery artist Dan Barnett, a tour veteran who has opened his studio for the past 10 years.
“This is a great group to work with,” Barnett said. “I enjoy having people stop by to check out my work.”
He demonstrated his craft on his pottery wheel during course of the weekend.
“It’s great to meet the artist and get personal with them, learning their backgrounds,” said Shelley Cappelli, a new Gig Harbor resident.
She and friends Joe and Lynn Derichsweiler of Fox Island, at Barnett’s studio on their second stop of the day, planned to get to all 24 locations.
“I love seeing the creative juices,” said Lynn Derichsweiler, who has taken the four for the past five years. “This year is great that it is extended for three days.
“I have a couple of Dan’s pieces,” she added. “It’s a great place to buy presents for people.”
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