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Bainbridge Island Studio Tour: Island gardens and surprising art

They’ve been doing the studio tour for 14 years now. The Bainbridge Island Studio tour gives art enthusiasts an opportunity to get away from the crowds and explore the back roads of Bainbridge Island, Washington in a relaxed pursuit of beautiful arts and crafts.

Explore the back roads of Bainbridge Island during the open Studio Tour.
Elizabeth R. Rose
There were Five Stops on the Studio Tour
Elizabeth R. Rose

Accessible via ferry from Seattle and a quick jaunt over a bridge from the Kitsap Peninsula of Washington, Bainbridge Island is known for art. The annual summer art tour is a good excuse for driving and bicycling the rural beauty of Bainbridge Island. I found amazing art in rural homes, studios and in tents set up amidst scenic gardens.

The August Studio Tour was a first for me. I drove a short distance from the quaint Norwegian fishing village of Poulsbo. I had seen the signs but I wasn’t sure what to expect. Some studio tours take you from one artist's studio to the next. It can take some time to do this. But the Bainbridge Island Studio Tour had only 5 stops!

How did they do this? They clustered art at each stop. While the anchor studio might be a real draw, the artist invited other juried artists to set up tents and displays on their site. So each stop included a welcome array of jewelry, ceramic, oil and watercolor paintings and even garden art. There was certainly something for everyone at each stop.

The Bainbridge Island Studio Tour provided us with a downloadable map and, for those of us without printers, had a nice brochure and map at each stop. Find one and you have the key to the rest! It was easy to follow the roadside signs.

What I enjoyed was the leisurely pace of the tour. At each stop there was enough parking for all. At each stop there was access to the artists and the art so shoppers could make an informed and unhurried decision.

The beauty of each venue is worth mentioning. In garden settings, in historic farm homes, visitors could find art and artists. And surrounding the homes and studios, were tents with even more art displayed. I enjoyed seeing the rural homes and gardens. Finding the artists in beautiful garden settings added to the joy of discovery.

What were my discoveries? At the first stop, Hidden Cove Pottery, I found a delightful silver artist who made reasonably priced yet fanciful silver and bead earrings. Another fascinating find was the fiber art of Kathy Doll. Down the road at the Siebert Pottery Studio was a garden and orchard filled with yard art including the works of Dick Strom.

Wandering through the garden at OHO Studio was fun and the creativity of Gayle Bair’s ceramics made me stop and question. French butter crocks and unusual salt shakers that Gayle had created and etched using the sgraffito technique were a draw.

My last stop was at Sylvia Carlton’s Studio. Her work was uplifting. An excellent note on which to end the tour.

What I will remember, was the laid-back island pace, the beautiful settings and the great variety of juried art that I encountered. There were over 45 artists and only five stops. It was an easy to follow route and a joyful way to spend the morning. The galleries offered island hospitality… lemonade and cookies to sustain the shoppers as they explored the art and artists of Bainbridge Island.

The same organizers feature a winter tour December 5th – 7th, 2014.

More Information
Visiting Bainbridge Island
Bainbridge Island Studio Tour