Thursday, July 28, 2016

You're Invited: August 2016 First Friday Artwalk

Presenting an exhibition highlighting twelve of the many fabulous artists represented by The Island Gallery, we invite you to head downtown on August 5th and stroll Winslow Way for this month's First Friday Artwalk.  Hang out with friends, sip a glass a wine, and enjoy unsurpassed art.

Oh, and did we mention the music?

We are delighted to welcome our dear friends, Ranger and the Re-Arrangers, Bainbridge Island's own beloved gypsy Jazz Band!  Ranger will perform with the full band, this one night only, on the Plaza in front of the Gallery.  Don't miss it - and bring your dancing shoes, you won't be able to sit still for long!

Here's the info:

Dynamic Dozen:
August Art Fête

August 5-31, 2016

Visual Art: Irene Yesley, Renée Jameson, Karen Chaussabel, Andrea Lawson
Tom Johnson, Gerardo Aguayo, Lisa Wederquist
Furniture & Sculpture: Wendy Dunder, Carl Yurdin, Chris Thompson
Textiles: Mary Jaeger, David

Introducing Chiho Kuwayama (Textiles) and Joan Cihak (Ceramics)

Reception with the Artists
First Friday, August 5th, 6-8 pm

In Concert on the Plaza:

Ranger and the Re-Arrangers
Bainbridge Island’s Own Gypsy Jazz Band

The Island Gallery  is pleased to present new work from twelve of the artists it represents: Visual Art: Irene Yesley, Renée Jameson, Karen Chaussabel, Andrea Lawson, Tom Johnson, Gerardo Aguayo, Lisa Wederquist; Furniture and Sculpture: Wendy Dunder, Carl Yurdin,  Chris Thompson; and Textiles: Mary Jaeger, David.  Also introducing New Artists Chiho Kuwayama (Textiles) and Joan Cihak (Ceramic Jewelry).  As the summer draws to a close and fall beckons, our artists continue to experiment and delight.

            To give you a bird’s eye tour of our August show, here we go!

Irene Yesley has created a geometric minimalist painting of playful vertical stripes upon a horizontal canvas occupying an entire gallery wall, juxtaposed with Tom Johnson’s fiber sculptures of horizontal striped ridges and furrows cascading vertically down the wall.

Andrea Lawson has rendered her concept of brain functions, wild and colorful random movements across nine painted panels, which represent different parts of the brain seen at different levels of magnification. Andrea has just won a public art competition to create a larger permanent installation based on this study, called Brain Beauty, Beauty Brain, for the Camano Island Public Library’s Reading Room.  After exploring several scientific fields for inspiration, in response to the Library’s call for a hanging work with a scientific theme, Andrea chose to concentrate on the brain. The brain controls our cognitive processes, our physical movements and even our memories. On another level, the work relates to the library, reading and brain development. Both the organ, and the learning process, give us the ability to think at a high level and to create, functions which distinguish us as human beings.

Gerardo Aguayo’s work is reminiscent of the confident color blocs of Manet and Cezanne, and Rivera and Kahlo’s figurative paintings.  The monotypes of Karen Chaussabel and Renée Jameson are saturated with the color of summer seascapes, while the minimalist works of Lisa Wederquist remind us of our environmental fragility.

Carl Yurdin’s long sleek walnut bench reflects his 40-year background as an industrial designer. His style can best be described as the “geometry of wood.”  Wendy Dunder, well known for her organic sculptural illuminations created from wood and paper, has created two new wall and table pieces, Carolina and With a Twist.  Chris Thompson’s whimsical functional furniture pieces are for humans and some for birds!  The textiles as wearable art from both Mary Jaeger and David reflect their backgrounds in the Asian textile traditions of shibori and batik, both using natural indigo dyes to create contemporary American fashions.

And, at our fête, the full complement of Ranger and the Re-Arrangers will play gypsy jazz on the plaza, with refreshments from Bainbridge Crêpes.  Come celebrate our warm summer days among friends, good music and, most of all, the artistic talents of our Gallery artists!
            For more details on the artists, please contact the Gallery.

Event Location: 

The Island Gallery, 400 Winslow Way E., #120, Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Underground parking is available at The Winslow off Ericksen Avenue.  (Parking is monitored - please use Visitor spaces.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Dave Berfield Ceramist: #1

The Island Gallery represents more than 100 artists from the United States and other parts of the world, each one unique, dedicated and inspiring.  They never fail to thrill us with the endless devotion and energy they pour into their art.

But artists, like mere humans, occasionally do things other than make art.


And when they do, it’s often with an eye that sees the world in a very interesting way.

If you read the July 2016 Gallery Picks Newsletter post immediately prior to this one you may have noticed our new feature, "An Artist's Approach.”  In it we discussed how one of our mixed-media artists applies her artistic talents to cooking, creating a whole new canvas for herself in the process. (We also learned how to make a stunning – both to eat and to look at – French fruit-based dessert named Clafoutis, so everyone enjoyed that!)  Through similar contributions from our artist community, we hope to show you how our artists sometimes approach non-art related areas of their lives - and how surprises of all sorts can pop up!

For example, let's say you’re one of these wonderful artists; suddenly, your family has a big wedding coming up.  What do you do?

Call the caterer, line up a photographer, track down the minister, the engraver, the florist... right?

Well, certainly; hiring a crew of pros to help pull off a most precious family celebration is a necessary part of getting everything done.  In fact, we recommend nothing less!  But if there’s an artist in the family, the “normal” approach to wedding planning and execution is not likely where the event will ultimately end up...

In this three-part series we'll take you on a local ceramic artist’s months-long journey to contribute to one very special day, along with an up-close and personal tour of the art of wood-firing ceramics.  We hope you will enjoy it, and return for the second installment, scheduled for early August 2016. 

Ceramist & Father of the Bride

Bainbridge Island ceramic artist Dave Berfield, who exhibits with The Island Gallery,
is on a bittersweet journey. His daughter Kathleen and Shane Morrison are going to be
married here on Bainbridge Island in September.  Kathleen and Shane are both medical
doctors and met while they were in residency together at the University of Washington.
Shane is a Resident in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Program and Kathleen is
a Thoracic Surgeon at the UW and the VA Puget Sound.  Kathleen, affectionately called
Sachi by her parents, made a special request of her father to create flower vases for
her wedding.   We thought it would be fun to follow and share the creative process
of a parent and artist over several months, from design to fabrication, firing and
finishing phases to the final celebration.

Dave is originally from Pennsylvania and like many of us, is now transplanted
to the Pacific Northwest.  He studied ceramics at the University of Hawaii where he
received an MFA.  But after moving to Seattle he became interested in enameling
techniques and established his own firm, The Porcelain Company, to pursue that art form.
Over the years he worked with a wide range of firms.

In addition to his own work he collaborated with many artists including the noted African
American painter Jacob Lawrence on the large-scale public mural, Games, originally
produced for the Kingdome and moved to the Seattle Convention Center when the
dome came down.   Lawrence is often considered one of the most important artists
of the 20th century. He accepted a teaching position at the UW in 1971.

Games.  Jacob Lawrence

Although he is now working mainly in ceramics, Dave recently worked with artist
Ellen Forney on the model for her enamel on steel art work for the Sound Transit
Capitol Hill Station that opened this March.

The first step in any artistic process is design.  The design of the vases was a
collaborative effort including one of Dave’s former students, Brian Choy, now an
award winning flower designer living in Hawaii, and Bainbridge Island neighbor/flower
arranger Suellen Cunningham. Design is a “Goldilocks” process.  Here the vase
design needed to be large enough to support the flowers, but not too large for the tables.
They needed to be slender, but stable, impermeable and eye-catching.  There were a
number of trials.  The final recommendation came from Sachi who asked that
a blue glaze be incorporated in the design.  The end result, we are sure you
will agree, is "just right."

On one of our visits we found Dave hand-building several vases.  Beginning
with a lump of (stoneware) clay, he worked it, forming it into a thick, rectangular
block which he laid out on his work table.  

He then used a cutting tool made with a thin wire cutter to skillfully slice
quarter-inch thick slabs off the block. For a committed late night TV addict
it was a little like watching James Bond dealing with one of the guards who was,
unfortunately for the guard, looking in the wrong direction.

Dave then laid one of the quarter-inch slabs on the table, and using a template,
cut the slab into the shape of the vase.

He reinforced the top edges of the proto-vase...

...and then placed it upside down on a wooden form
the size and shape of the vase.

Folding the slab around the form, he took care to close the edges. 

He memorialized the bottom of each vase with initials and year, and imprinted a
stamp design on the sides of the vase, using a technique inspired by his days
in the Peace Corps observing clay artists in Colombia.  He once again sealed the
corners and ensured that the partitions were sturdy.

Dave can construct three vases an hour when he is not being interrupted by

people asking questions and taking pictures.  Under those less ideal circumstances,

production drops to about one vase every two hours.

Next, the damp proto-vases are allowed to dry and then they are bisque-fired
in an electric kiln.

This firing removes water and dries and hardens the vases so that they can be
glazed and fired in a wood-fired kiln.  Dave makes his own glazes.  He glazes
the inside of the vase so that it will hold water.  He applies a glaze on the
outside to produce the design effects he desires using
the “drip and pour” glazing method.

With all this completed, the vases are now ready for final firing
in his wood-fired kiln.

Next time we will highlight the firing phase! Stay tuned.

(The next post in this series, Dave Berfield Ceramist:  #2, appears in the blog on August 22, 2016.)