I begin this feature with, “It was a dark and rainy Saturday afternoon…”, because if you’re reading this from the Skagit Valley, you might agree we’ve had our fill of downpours over the past month – apparently of historical significance. Thankfully Spring is now officially on the way and we are more than ready for the blessings of warm sunshine!
Appreciating the renewal of life this time of year, I am grateful for the abundance bestowed upon us by the flowing Skagit River. This majestic river originates somewhere in the northern mountain ranges of Canada. It provides us with glacier fresh water which flows down to rejuvenate the surrounding fertile valley making livable spaces for flora, fauna, and humankind. Traveling through the hills of Whatcom into Skagit, this spreading source creates lakes, ponds, and tributaries, establishing communities for farming, fishing, recreation, and at the end of the day, gathering and celebrating through song, dance and artistic expression. Like this weekend, when we will be giving thanks for Mother Nature’s bounty through national celebrations of Earth Day, our local Tulip Festival, and the FutureFest event – to name a few. I for one, am ready for all those springtime celebrations, and more…
If April showers bring May flowers, then we have certainly earned our blooms. New leaves and flowers are budding, gardeners have begun to dig into the soil and resident chickadees have begun to build new nests. Speaking of all this renewal and rebirth, have you noticed all the fresh art and music springing up around us?
Skagit Art Music has recently shared several announcements about new record labels, gallery openings and artsy events. If you’re a newcomer to our community, we invite you to sign-up of our monthly Skagit Art Art Music Experience Newsletter and follow our Events Calendar page so you don’t miss out. And then, I highly recommend making time for a trip to that tiny turn in the road known as Edison. Go this weekend, or next, to experience a most enjoyable and walkable tour of the place where all great artists seem to go.
Without further ado, here’s a snapshot of my rainy afternoon experience in Edison, Washington:
Hadrian Stone Design Studio and Art Gallery
Tucked in across the street behind the Smith and Vallee cabinetry operations, this out of the way gallery was an unexpected mix of art in many forms. Handrian Stone Design makes one of a kind sinks, vanities, and countertops for odd shaped rooms. So, if you’re in a decorating or remodeling space, I recommend a look at their custom offerings. Mixed in with these architectural elements are a blend of curated works by local artists. An artist friend who is currently showing there, sculptor Maria Wickwire, displays several new pieces of delicate female forms in seemingly pensive poses. In touch with all things found in nature, I very much enjoyed the basketry work of artist Judy Arnstsen. She hand weaves the most unique vessel shapes out of found things like dried help from our local sea. Artist Ann Davenport is showing works on canvas depicting both modern and more traditional expressions of nature, people, and places. If you go on Saturday, April 21st, Ann Davenport will be discussing and demonstrating the use of pastels and underpainting, and Maria Wickwire will be sharing her inspiration behind each of her uniquely handmade sculptures.
Smith & Vallee Gallery
One is never disappointed by the new exhibits or the month-long shows at Smith & Vallee Gallery. We have always given a lot of press to Smith & Vallee Gallery, because their combined shows are that good. I missed the opening celebration this month, but I am happy to have braved the blustery winds and torrential downpour, making time to embrace “Bloom”. From one-of-kind handmade jewelry, to copper, glass and clay sculpture, this show has something for ever art enthusiast. Whether you prefer oil, acrylic, or ink glazes on canvas, or you are drawn to a mix of media, the female artists who curate exceptional new works for this gallery never disappoint. It’s become quite a status symbol to get one of your pieces into this space. Red dots abound whenever I go. I am sharing only a handful of my favorites with you now, you’ll no doubt have your own to eww and aww over, and perhaps fall in love with, taking home a precious keepsake to treasure for years to come.
Oh lucky me! An unexpected chance to meet artist Ed Kamuda at i.e. gallery. Ed is one of a kind. An original. They simply don’t make ‘em like Ed anymore. Considered by some to be a plein air painter, you will see a different side of Ed through this show. His current body of work titled, “Passage” consists mostly of large scale gouache paintings on paper, the kind you want to touch, but know you shouldn’t. If you get the sense there is something historical in Ed’s work, you’d be spot on. Ed’s CV reads like a Who’s Who of Skagit artistic brotherhood, secret handshakes exchanged through the clicking of paintbrushes or the swapping of canvas. You see, Ed is listed among the greats from the Northwest School of artists like his personal friends Guy Anderson and Clayton James. Really. This one man show depicts Ed’s work on paper, wood and canvas using tools like knives and brushes, translating his outdoor and indoor experiences for all to gaze longingly into until such time you realize this one deserves a special place in your life forever more.
Culinary Arts abound in Edison
Last but not least, do plan to eat at one of the many culinary experiences in Edison like Tweets, Mariposa, Slough Food, Edison Café, BowEdison, The Old Edison, or the Longhorn Saloon. Or, at the very least, take home some fresh baked natural and organic goodness offered by the Breadfarm. I highly recommend the macaroons and the fresh baked olive loaf. Tre’ yum!
Sandra Benton, Founder & Publisher
Skagit Art Music – The SAM Project
As an inspired artist, writer, and fledgling ukulele player, Sandra combines her background in business development with her life-long appreciation for the arts. Feeling the calling of art at a young age, Sandra creates through drawing and translating through painting and a growing interest in print making. Through The SAM Project she works to shine a light on the amazing portal of creativity flowing throughout the Skagit region.
For more information about Sandra or joining the Skagit Art Music community, connect with Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org.