Friday, December 23, 2016

December 2016: Greetings from The Island Gallery

Snow & Cocoa.  Paper collage.  Susan C. Petersen

Happy Holidays and a Peaceful and Healthy New Year, to our artists,
staff, friends and supporters, and their families.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Great Art Gifts: Glorious Wooden Utensils

Art means many different things to many different people.  It can be fanciful, serious, thought-provoking; ancient, modern, and futuristic; it can adorn walls, tables, floors, even popping up in nature, the greatest artwork of all.  Inevitably, we all see something different in a work of art, be it deeply personal or really doesn't connect with us at all.  But perhaps the most overlooked form of creation to be called art is the one that we should pay the closest attention to.

Functional art.

That is to say, art that is useful and used.  That becomes a helper, then an old friend, as we go about our daily lives.  A quiet pleasure that makes a normal task feel a little less onerous.  For the hand and eye and heart, a bit more comfort.

And why are we waxing eloquent this way, on the eve of one of our beloved holidays?

Well, because giving the gift of art is terrifically easy when you have the opportunity to gift a loved one with something beautiful, handmade, useful, affordable, sustainably sourced, food-safe, and locally and lovingly produced by a single artisan right here in the Pacific Northwest.

There may be more reasons to consider these fabulous pieces of art as gifts (or bring them into your own home), and we bet you will think of any number of reasons for yourself, right after you see them.

And we're excited to show them to you!  Ready?  Here's a look:


A lovely collection!

These range in price from $14.00 to $28.00, amazing prices given
the extraordinary workmanship and use of exotic woods,
and locally-sourced woods that might otherwise make
their way into a fireplace.

It should be noted, too, that these are not made with multiple
laminated layers; they are primarily solid wood, with
often a secondary wood piece attached as a
decorative and/or strengthening device.  So they are
inherently strong and extremely well built.

Several close-ups:
Rice paddle.

A walnut and elm rice paddle!

Hands up, everyone who uses one of those white plastic things
that came with the pot..

Yikes, we just put up our own hands!

But no need to do that anymore, if you have one of these
beautiful creations.  Serving rice at the table just became a
lot more interesting.  With ART!
See how wonderfully well that works?

Or how about this:

A spatula, useful for... everything, now that we think about it.
Serve off a platter at table, take cookies off a baking sheet,
wrangle dinner in a wok.  The uses are endless.

As is this:


Another spatula, with a more rectangular aspect, crafted from
fascinating and deeply colored leopardwood.
How gorgeous!  This wood has simply stunning grain.
And again, all Tiplin Taylor pieces are finished in
food-safe oils, so no worries there.  They can be cared for
after wash-up and dry with a quick rub of light vegetable or nut oil.

Speaking of leopardwood:
Salad servers
Everyone's favorite, and the wood utensils we all think
of automatically:  salad servers.  But we've never seen any
in this modern a style or a more magnificent wood.

(By the way, all these utensils come in different woods.  If
you don't see what you want in the online Shop, just
ask us at the Gallery; we are happy to assist you.)

Oh, and this:


We're about to use that word artists dread hearing when we
describe their art but we can't help ourselves.
This spreader is CUTE!
(Also handsome.)

Made with jatoba and purple heart, we actually NEED this
to appear on our cheese board.  YEARN is also a good word here.
Perfect for soft cheeses and festive spreads, the woods
 are a perfect blend of drama and beauty.  Artistically put together,
one might say. A small piece of art, to cradle in your hand.

And finally, where has this been all our lives:

Pie server

A Peruvian walnut pie server.

Aaaaah yes.  This is very beautiful.  The wood is by
its nature very dark but it has a lovely grain.
There is also a cake server in the family and a number of
other lovely utensils and creations in the Tiplin Taylor line.
We try to keep a good selection in the Gallery and online
but they tend to go quickly, so stock does change and remember,
these are basically all one-of-a-kind.  Be assured, however,
that we keep them available.


If you are still looking for that wonderful, last-minute
gift; if it has to be special; if it has to be ART!!! and nothing less will do...
Fear not.

We have you covered.

Simply check these out online (you can purchase right there),
give us a call, or pop into the Gallery.  Our courteous staff is
ready to give you all the assistance you need.

to you all!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dave Berfield, Ceramist: #3

The Flowers and the Wedding

Over the past few months, we have chronicled the design, construction and
firing in a wood fire kiln of ceramic flower vases for artist Dave Berfield’s
daughter’s wedding. This blog post follows the final artistic preparations
and use of the vases.

We first visited the project as Dave was designing and building the
vases and preparing them for firing (see Post #1) Then we observed Dave
and his friend, Joe O’Brien, as they fired the vases (see Post #2).
On the Wedding’s Eve, it was time for another set of artists to
demonstrate not only their loving support for the couple,
but also their skills as Master Flower Arrangers.
Flower Arranging is an ancient art that requires an eye for floral
composition as well as a keen understanding of the physical attributes
of the plants that are used.  After all, even the best floral display
loses its luster if wilted!  The wedding was blessed with the contributions
of two outstanding floral artists: Suellen Cunningham, who lives here on 
Bainbridge Island, and is a neighbor of the Berfields; and Brian Choy,
who lives on the island of Oahu.  Both are longtime family friends and
have watched the bride grow up.  They volunteered to be a part of the
artistic effort.  From raw clay to display, these art works are
truly a labor of love.

Both floral artists started learning their craft young.
Suellen, a lady of the South, grew up in Lumberton, North Carolina.
There was no florist in town when she was a child and Suellen
assisted an older lady in creating floral displays for others, often for
funerals and other events.  It was a volunteer effort and there was never
a charge.  The art form became a part of her life that continues to this day.
Brian, who grew up in Hawaii, was influenced by his Grandmother
who taught him floral arrangement.  An award winning Lei-Maker and
long-time teacher, for over ten years he oversaw the floral arrangements
in the Honolulu Museum of Art.  He retired from that job but continues
to volunteer with several ladies at the Honolulu Museum of Art creating
large floral arrangements on a bi-weekly basis.  He also occasionally
still makes lei for the May Day Lei Competition in Honolulu.

The Wedding Eve was a beehive of activity at Suellen’s home.
 Earlier, Brian and Suellen had selected the floral materials and by
the time the blog’s reporters arrived they had laid out materials and
were already hard at work. It all starts with buckets of flowers and ferns.
Actually, that is not accurate:  It all starts with a good eye, talent, and
experience.  The two artists have these in abundance.

The construction process of each display very much resembles the
painting of a picture, much like laying out the paints before beginning to
paint, as each flower or fern is selected by the artists for its color and
texture.  They then cut it and shape it, place it in the vase, critically
examine the effect, then select another and repeat the process. 

Soon, they have created a three dimensional picture ready
to WOW the viewers the next day. 

The artists have to be careful not only in gauging how the plants will look,
but also the structure of the piece so that it artistically holds together.  It requires
a great deal of experience and skill to blend the individual pieces into floral art;
not only the plants themselves but the structure of the vessel must be taken
into consideration.  In this case, they had begun working with Dave early
on in his design process, which resulted in the inclusion
of partitions in the vase tops.

As the works were completed they were moved into a cool spot
to wait until the morning.

The next day the arrangements were placed on the tables
and the celebration began.

The Bride and Groom:

Congratulations to the Bride and Groom.
And, most especially, our thanks to them, their family and artist friends
for letting us tag along on this artistic journey.

It was, without a doubt, a true labor of love. 

To view more of Dave Berfield’s wonderful ceramic art, click here to visit
his Artist’s Pages in our online Shop.

To subscribe to our Newsletter/Gallery Picks Alert and receive notices of all our sales,
shows and events, click on the About Us/Profile box on the left of this page,
go to "Contact", click on "Email", and send us a note containing your preferred
receiving address.  We'll sign you up right away.