One of my favorite parts of Art at Work month is the Studio Tour weekend, on this Saturday and Sunday around Tacoma. Why? Because I, like most of us, spend way more time looking at art than at how it’s made. The Studio Tours, now in their seventh year, give local artists a chance to open their doors for a day or two to show the rest of us just how they create, and where, and to even try a bit ourselves.
For starters, you’ve probably been inside the Grand Cinema, but have you ever gone up the stairs from Tacoma City Ballet and explored the upper lofts of the Merlino Building? Long and skinny, with big windows and dusty wood floors, they house artists like Fumiko Kimura and Lois Yoshida, who paint using the Sumi technique.
And you may have seen some of the letterpress broadsides floating round Pierce Transit buses this month, or even a letterpress book or two–but have you ever seen inside Jessica Spring’s garage studio, also known as Springtide Press? It’s filled to the brim with 100-year-old handpresses, ink brayers, huge reams of paper and enormous cabinets of tiny drawers filled with heavy lead cubes of type.
So don’t be shy–get on the bus or in the car and take yourself around to some of the 61 studios open this weekend. You might find something you’d like to buy, or an art activity you can try yourself. Or you might just get a deeper appreciation of the hard, skilled work that goes into the finished art you see in galleries and museums.
Tacoma Studio Tours run 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 8 and 9 (not all studios open both days) and are free. For map and location, pick up a brochure at cafes, museums or theaters, or download from www.tacomaculture.org