59 studios open for 19th annual tour of Gabriola artists

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, September 29 2015

Another Thanksgiving weekend is approaching and with it, the 19th Annual Gabriola Studio Tour.

59 studios are registered this year, including 15 new tour artists and a new tour central at the HIVE Emporium. 

From art for the wall to art for the hand, the 2015 tour includes artists working in many media: ceramics, glass, photography, acrylics, watercolour, silversmithing, jewellery, illustration, basketry, leatherwork, sculpture, mixed media, textiles, wood and more.

Michelle Benjamin, Executive Director for the Gabriola Arts Council said, “this tour just keeps getting bigger and better—more studios, more galleries, more artists, more art forms, and more visitors—both local and from away. 

“We’re working hard to bring hundreds and hundreds of art-loving visitors to Gabriola. They’ll be excited by what they see, and astounded by the work of so many diverse and talented artists. And it’s a great way for local art lovers to meet Gabriola artists, to see their work up close, and to hear about their artistic and creative process. 

“Plus, every piece of art that’s purchased—big or small—contributes to the local economy.”

Margy Gilmour her husband Chris Straw are new artists on the tour this year - neither are strangers to the Gabriola art community, having worked and volunteered with the GAC for many years previously.

Gilmour said, “My husband and I were drawn to Gabriola by the beautiful natural setting, but decided to make it our home largely because of the vibrant arts community here. 

“I’ve always dabbled in photography and a few crafty pursuits. But it was a 3-day course with Gabriolan and master silversmith Nina Turczyn that set me on the path to becoming an artisan. Her continued support and that of other Island silversmiths has encouraged me to continue this pursuit.”

Gilmour says she loves the processes of sawing, hammering, soldering and polishing that turn a flat sheet of metal into a three dimensional piece of shiny jewellery. 

“My business, My Magpie Instinct, won’t allow me to quit my day job any time soon, but it is hugely rewarding to see someone enjoying a piece of jewellery I’ve created. Visit me, with my husband Chris Straw, in the Roundhouse Gallery on Berry Point Road. Studio #55”

Quinton Dewing and Paige Coull are another two new artists on the tour this year.

Dewing explained how, “being a creative person on Gabriola has me surrounded by a slow paced life that the island creates which gives me more time to be creative.

“I feel that people move to, and live here on Gabriola because they try to surround themselves with a more nature-inspired life outside a city or suburb. 

“I’m not saying that I don’t like cities or crowds of people, I’m actually inspired by cities and large crowds of people more than the island environments. 

“The Gabriola creative community here inspires me to be more involved by putting my work out into the community and off the island. Mostly the island creates a close community of artists that is approachable and accepting of all medias and people. 

“So when people move here they start to search for their creative arena without even knowing it by being surrounded by other creative people.”

Take the tour October 10 to 12. For a full listing of the participating studios, pick up a copy of the Studio Tour brochure at many of the island businesses or go online to studiotour.artsgabriola.ca