Friday, January 25, 2013

Treats for the Sweet

Pretty in Pink

Our amazing local textile and beading artist, Janet Essa Elia, came by on this chilly winter day with a new selection of her very popular floral brooches which can double as hairpins, ornaments for a purse or belt, or even a sassy addition to the toe or heel of a perfect black shoe.  Like little harbingers of spring, they warmed us with their good cheer.  We are inspired to spread around the joy: 

Janet is a native of Iraq where for 15 years she owned and operated a well-known atelier in Baghdad, specializing in custom-made, beaded clothing and accessories. She left there in 2009 and has lived in the U.S. - here on Bainbridge Island - since then. All her designs are original, and employ traditional Middle Eastern methods. The decorative work is applied by hand, using needle and thread.

Red and Purple Gauze

During the rule of Saddam Hussein, when Janet established her business, it was highly unusual for women to own independent businesses in Iraq. In fact, it still is. Besides dressmaking generally, her atelier was considered to be the finest source of custom wedding dresses and bridal accessories in Baghdad, and attracted a prominent clientele. In Iraq, weddings are extremely important social occasions and tend to be very large. Wedding trousseaux, whether traditional or modern, are typically highly decorated.

Turquoise Layers
The jewelry and accessories Janet produces are entirely hand-made by her, and are inspired by the traditions of decorated clothing with which she grew up and by contemporary international design. Her work is sold in a number of Pacific Northwest galleries and she collaborates with custom couturier designers on wedding apparel, bridal accessories, and custom gowns. Additionally, she has been featured in numerous exhibitions in the Seattle area including the Seattle Bridal Show, the Red Dress Competition, the Seattle Metropolitan Fashion Week competition, and an American Cancer Society benefit at the Museum of Flight.  Janet also offers her line of purses and framed art pieces. 

Mindful that Valentine's Day is right around the corner, our Gallery Picks for February will feature gift suggestions (including several of Janet's new brooches) for that certain someone, or even a little something for yourself...
Pure Valentine Red!

For further information or to purchase one of Janet's pieces, click on the links beneath the photos or visit the Gallery's web shop at:

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Friday, January 18, 2013

An Evening of Music

The Island Gallery is delighted to welcome back guitarist Peter Spencer for a special musical event, performing in the Gallery with bassist Jonathan Green during February's First Friday Artwalk.

An Evening of Music
 First Friday, February 1, 2013, 6-8 pm
The Island Gallery
400 Winslow Way E., #120
Bainbridge Island, Washington
(Underground Parking Available - Enter Off Ericksen Avenue) 

Peter Spencer is a fingerpicking guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, he grew up listening to the R&B and hillbilly music played on radio stations like WLAC in Nashville and CKLW in Windsor, Ontario. He began his musical career in 1968 playing harmonica in a blues band in Pittsburgh, but soon switched to solo guitar. Peter spent the 1970s touring North America and Europe playing early blues, jazz and ragtime. Then, in the early 1980s, he began writing songs, co-founding the Fast Folk Musician's Cooperative in Greenwich Village, New York, where he worked with artists like Suzanne Vega, John Gorka, Lucy Kaplanski, Cliff Eberhardt, and Jack Hardy. These recordings are part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

After graduating from The Writing Program at Columbia University in 1989, Peter retired from performing and became a full-time music writer for magazines like Rolling Stone and Sing Out. His book "World Beat: A Listener's Guide to Contemporary World Music on CD" was published by the Chicago Review Press in 1992.

Peter returned to performing with the 2000 release "New Hope and Wise Virgins," followed by a series of releases beginning with an album of original and classic blues called "Nobody's Daddy" in 2005. "Handsignal," another album of original songs, followed in 2006. Later that year came "Gathering Light," an album of Christmas music for solo guitar. In 2007 he released "The Blues Concert," recorded live on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and in 2009 "From the Island," another set of original songs.

His newest album, released in the Spring of 2011, is called "1896," recorded simply with his voice and an 1896 Washburn parlor guitar in a Bainbridge Island schoolhouse that was also built in 1896.

Peter has been called a "guitar wizard" by Seattle's Victory Music News and "a gifted lyricist with a sharp eye" by the New Jersey Star-Ledger. He tours regularly in the Northeast and throughout the Pacific Northwest and teaches guitar and voice at the Dusty Strings Music School in Seattle and the Island Music Center of Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Jonathan Green is a distinguished bassist with the Seattle Symphony, active as well in chamber-music and new-music circles.

Admission is free.  For further information please contact the Gallery:



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Monday, January 14, 2013

January 2013 Gallery Picks

Since last September, we have sent our Monthly Gallery Picks Newsletter via direct e-mail to patrons around the middle of each month, featuring selected pieces from our current collection.  Beginning right now, we will be posting the Gallery Picks exclusively here on our blog, in hopes of providing a larger audience with an opportunity to better know the work of our fantastic artists.  Please scroll down to view examples of the wonderful art currently available in the Gallery and in our online shop.  For further information, click on the highlighted links to visit the individual items in our web shop.  And if you'd like reminders sent directly to your mailbox, please send your e-mail address to to join our subscriber list. 

Coming soon:  Music in February!


Dimensions:  To top of back, 30"; to top of seat, 18"; seat, 17" x 18".

Direct your guests through dinner parties or any of your family's favorite entertainments with these fabulous, comfortable chairs:  A set of four mid-century modern vintage directors chairs; armless, camel-colored leather on chrome frames.  Made in Italy by the Aarben Company, they are fully foldable for easy storage.  We think they look terrific with live-edge tabletops, and currently have them displayed in the Gallery with a gorgeous quartersawn sycamore dining table.  Come take a look when you're on the island! 

Shibori, Embroidered Silk

Glowing reds and blues predominate in this remarkable coat, segueing into a rainbow of colors including purples, greens and golds.  The collar can be left low across the shoulders or raised, peacock-like, to frame your face.  Magnificent!  Although it is listed as a Size Small, we've tried this on here at the Gallery (be still my heart...) and find that it is quite roomy and will actually be a better fit for a medium.  This is a one-of-a-kind piece, as are all of this artist's pieces.  And while we're talking about the artist, here's a little something about him:

Carter Smith has been creating one-of-a-kind hand-dyed fabrics since 1965 when, as a freshman in college, he attended tie-dye workshops taught by his mother.  This became his life’s work, and during his first twenty years of tie-dying, Carter invented and perfected three techniques of dyeing, primarily on silk and almost exclusively for wall hangings, selling 30,000 individual stretched pieces and banners.  Thinking he had done it all, he took a couple of years off, and worked as a carpenter.

After seeing one of the first silk banners he had dyed years before, Carter was inspired to take up his art anew, and by the end of the year had added over forty new steps that multiplied into over a thousand techniques.  The more the process was opened up, the more the process evolved, creating a renaissance in his work.  He decided to start designing and making his own clothing.  His hand-dyed original fashions are now sold all over the United States and throughout the world.  Notables who own his creations include Elizabeth Taylor, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jane Fonda, Allie McGraw, Alice Walker, Dionne Warwick, Maya Angelou, Susan Taylor, Goldie Hawn, Jesse Norman, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Anne Austin, Kim Novak, Cassandra Wilson, Mary Travers, Jan Robinson, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, and others.

Today, Carter produces over 250 original bias design concepts and creations from his studios in Nahant, Massachusetts, and after 40 years and over 200,000 yards of personally dyed fabric he feels that this is only the beginning.  We certainly hope so, and always look forward to seeing Carter’s next magnificent creation!

Dimensions:  approximately 36" wide x 22" deep.

Ready to light up your very own castle, this complex yet beautifully serene illuminated sculpture is named "Baroque".  It comes with hardware ready for ceiling attachment.  The photo shows its side view as installed on the left; the view on the right is from below.

Like this one, the illuminated sculptures carried in the Gallery are created from thin slices of wood, bent and formed, then overlaid with up to ten layers of tissue paper, torn and glued around the frame.  Each layer must dry before the artist can continue.  This painstaking process produces a surprisingly strong skin and luminous glow in each piece.  Please visit our web shop to view more of these truly lovely works of art. 

Black and Purple  
Sized S/M/L.  Zipper front

Not that we were surprised, but as soon as we introduced these warm, snuggly vests they began to fly out of the Gallery.  Generously cut, they can be used to layer over other garments, or worn over a thin shirt or blouse, making this a very versatile clothing item, in any climate.  The garment shown is black and a subtle, rich purple but is also available in other colors and patterns.

A little about the artist:

Kay Chapman is a fabric artist/clothing designer who shows her work in galleries and boutiques nationwide. She works primarily on natural fabrics: silk, linen, cotton and wool, as well as with bamboo fabrics. Pattern and color are applied to the fabric using direct dye techniques, with the fabric usually stretched over bars and painted with either fiber reactive or acid dyes using foam brushes.  Dyes are then set in the cloth by steaming, then washed and rinsed and ready to be made into the garment.  Kay creates styles which flatter a woman’s body and are easy to wear.

Dimensions:  30” wide x 50” long, x 30” tall.

What marvelous style:  simple, clean and dramatically beautiful!
This cantilevered live-edge walnut desk has ample writing/laptop surface and is sure to complement a multitude of office or living room design styles.  If you're feeling a Hemingway, Shakespeare or Steinbeck moment coming on (or favorite author of your choice), imagine sitting down to write the Great American Novel at this lovely desk!

The desk shown is currently on display in the Gallery, but is also available by special order in different sizes. Please contact the Gallery for further information on this item, or to discuss a custom project.

Length: 18” cord length with 8” drop from center point of cord.

 Reminiscent of a field of waving poppies or anemones, this amazing necklace heightens one's longing for far-off spring!  (But don't worry, it's right around the corner.)  Eco-friendly jewelry inspired by flora and sea fauna, Spanish artist Begona Rentero makes her own papers from silk, cotton and other fibers, hardening them through a special process so that they can easily be worn for everyday use.  They are ultra-lightweight, and Begona uses all natural dyes in her creations, many of which can be viewed here. This particular style is available in a longer style, in other colors, and with matching earrings, which can be viewed under separate listing in our web shop.  If you don't see them, please contact the Gallery.  

Spalted MapleBowl, Peter Sibbett
Dimensions: 14-1/2” x 7-1/2”.

Thanks to a special artist, what began as a forgotten, discarded piece of wood has become a graceful art bowl.  Hewn from spalted maple logs carefully selected from salvaged logs in Port Gamble, Washington, it is finished with five coats of natural pure tung oil that accentuate its dramatic coloration and graining.

About the artist:
Peter Sibbett, orphaned in Korea at a young age, was adopted by his family in Indianola, Washington when he was 14 years old.  Though Peter had no previous education in Korea, he learned English and graduated with his high school class, going on to graduate from the University of Washington with a degree in International Studies from the Jackson School of International Studies.

Peter then spent 20 years establishing and operating international glass, window and door manufacturing companies before his artistic passion brought him to his studio where he crafts fine hand-turned wooden bowls.  They are made from local Pacific Northwest wood, primarily maple, but often from cherry, oak, ash and cedar.  Peter and his family also make wonderfully unique Northwest wooden jigsaw puzzles from salvaged and repurposed cedar, white fir and maple logs. 

Dimensions:  3” drop from top of ear wires

 Direct from Venice, Italy, and the artistry of Mirella Foffano, comes a line of Murano glass jewelry that is drawing Ooohs and Aaahs at the gallery.  Shown is a sampling of her bold sphere earrings, featuring soft  PVC wrapped around glass beads, fancifully filled with PVC ribbons, and drops of crystal.  Big, bold and lightweight, these pieces are sophisticated, but also just plain fun.  Our first shipment sold out the day after they arrived!

Not shown here but available in the Gallery now and soon to be listed in our web shop is an array of these earrings in other colors, including gold-flecked red, blue, and even deep emerald green.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Gallery's Annual January Sale

As we all recover from the holiday festivities, here is one more reason to drag ourselves off the couch:

The Island Gallery's Annual January Sale!!

All items in the Gallery, 10% Off
Sale Rack items, 20 - 50% Off

The sale lasts through January 31, 2013.

Online shoppers, please contact the gallery directly to take advantage of these discounts.