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Whidbey women display healing art

Maryon Attwood works on a spirit house for the upcoming Visual Voices art show June 23 and 24 to benefit the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation. - Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times
Maryon Attwood works on a spirit house for the upcoming Visual Voices art show June 23 and 24 to benefit the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation.
— image credit: Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times

Healing. That’s what Whidbey General Hospital is all about. That’s also the focus of Visual Voices, an art show benefiting the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation.

Visual Voices features healing art by local women artists. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 23 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 24 at the Coupeville Recreation Hall.

Especially with the cancellation of Tour de Whidbey this year, a big fundraiser for the hospital foundation, the artists wanted to raise money for the foundation.

“Generally women are nurturers and we work in community. We network and build support. It is another way of making people whole and healthy. It seems like a natural fit for women artists to be supporting the hospital through our art work --- our visual voice of healing. We look to communicate with the gifts we have been given,” said Mary Burks, a participating artist who was instrumental in putting the show together.

The show offers the works of 11 artists.

Burks and Nan Leaman will show their textile arts.

“For me and for Nan, it is important to make beautiful, but functional cloth to enwrap the body and the soul, to make special,” Burks said. “Akemi (Walker) and Shirley (Lacy), as jewelers, are doing the same thing. Kay (Parsons) sings the beauty of the natural world with her watercolors.  Linnane’s (Armstrong) block prints feature a calming quality, almost nostalgic in nature. Patty’s (Picco) work really grips the soul and dives deeply to the center. Stacey (Neumiller) sees the humor of life on the farm when we all know how grippingly hard that life is. And Linda’s (Schwarz) photographs add people, as natural objects, to the mix to give scale to this thing we call living on Whidbey.”

Robbie Lobell and Maryon Attwood will present the work of Cook on Clay, special “flameware,” a kind of cookware that can pass from oven or stovetop to the table and then into the refrigerator.

Attwood will also bring her spirit houses. She began making them five years ago because she fell in love with the idea of spirits of place, “and Whidbey is full of spirits of place,” Attwood said.

Spirit houses stem from Tai and Cambodian animist traditions.

“They believe there are spirits who occupy the land and live in the forest,” Attwood said, adding that if a tree is cut down, that disturbs the spirits so a spirit house should be placed there as a way to appease the spirits.

“They’re very fun,” Attwood said. While she uses the same form to begin each, they all turn out different sizes, shapes and with details like ladders.

All of the artists in the show are thinking of spirits of place, Attwood said, from local scenes by Armstrong and Schwarz to waveforms in Walker’s jewelry and farm animals in Neumiller’s paintings. Lobell’s and Attwood’s cookware is meant for healthy, local cooking.

“It’s soulful work. Each one of these artists has connected to the spirit of Whidbey Island,” Attwood said.

Cook on Clay, located in Coupeville, offers 10 types of flameware that Lobell and Attwood have been designing for the past 10 years. More forms are coming, including a skillet.

“I really love the three-dimensionality of clay. It’s also immediate,” Attwood said. Her artistic training was in painting, but painting takes much more time than pottery. She’s been working in clay for 15 years, also leaving time to start the farmer training center at the Greenbank Farm, work with Slow Food Whidbey and more.

“This show seems to bring together some of the best qualities of women: caring, nurturing, understanding, enriching, networking. It is not a confrontational show; it is about uplifting,” Burks said.

“It’s going to be a great show. We hope people will come and support the hospital and support us,” Attwood added. “The quality of work of everyone there is really high quality work so if people are interested in high quality work, if would be a nice show to check out.”

 

Art for the hospital

Visual Voices art show benefits the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 23 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 24.

Where: Coupeville Recreation Hall, 901 Alexander St., Coupeville.

Visit visual voiceswhidbey.com.


 

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