Monday, May 18, 2015

KAST: Kirkland Artist Studio Tour 2015

Long before I got to town, I started surfing the internet, looking for interesting events and activities that I could attend while I was in Seattle. 

This art event jumped out at me: the Kirkland Artist Studio Tour (KAST).  I love to see artists in their element and I was looking forward to seeing another area of greater Seattle. 

This free event is a self-guided tour that invites art lovers to follow a map and explore private home studios, as well as artists' displays within the shopping district of Kirkland.  When touring an artist's home studio isn't practical, participants are given space within a retail shop to showcase their work.  

We drove to Kirkland in the afternoon, after giving the West Seattle Community Garage Sale a whirl that morning. We found a Kirkland Artist Studio Tour map and ducked into Zoka Coffee Shop to see what we could see. 

Jacob Grahn was the artist assigned to the Zoka space and he had a large canvas set up that he was actively painting. When I walked in, he was talking with customers and explaining his creative process. I didn't want to interrupt a potential sale, so I just snapped this photo (above) to give you an idea of his work and what an artist's space looked like within a retail store. Thanks for participating, Zoka Coffee, this artist seemed very happy with the space provided - plenty of natural light and right by the door where he could be easily found.

We wandered in and out of some of bustling stores, when Dan reminded me that it was really the home studios that I was interested in and that we only had a limited time to explore. He was so right! I was lulled by the map and what I really wanted to see was where artists create.
We plugged an address from the map into Google and off we went. Our first stop was to Joy Hagen's house, home of OJOY Studio. Beautifully situated in the woods, we drove up the steep incline of her driveway and parked our car. She was hosting two other artists, Katherine Wright and Daya Astor, who had tent spaces set up on the property. It was a beautiful day and everyone seemed happy to be exploring Kirkland and having the luxury to talk to one another about art and what moves them.

Joy Hagen is an encaustic painter, which means she works with hot melted beeswax and pigment to create her dramatic nature-inspired images. This display of her work, below, showcases just how at home her paintings are in the wild. 
Joy was kind enough to take a moment and demonstrate her technique, using a torch to blast colored beeswax into patterns across her wooden base image. It was very interesting to see the texture appear and recede as she directed the heat. This picture of her studio is a favorite.
The best part of this entire day was our last stop on the tour. We arrived at Mini Griffin's home, just down the road from the previous studio and I liked her immediately. She is happy by nature, talented for sure and was absolutely tickled to be a part of the Kirkland Artist Studio Tour. 
Her personality is infectious and we spent so much time chatting about the concept of delight, hope, color and art, that I neglected to take a photo to represent her home studio. Luckily you can see her art and contact her on her website. (*Update: Mini saw my post and supplied a few images for me. Now my post is complete. Thanks, Mini!)
When I described her to my mom, I said that she had sunlight streaming out of the ends of her blonde hair. How's that for a description? That is what is fun about this world, you never know who you will meet. 
My advice for today: Get out there and talk to people!

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