VAC Art Exhibit: Island Bounty
September 30, 2022 - November 15, 2022
Visual Arts Committee and San Juan Island Agricultural Guild Present:
On display at Orcas Center September 30th – November 15th
Artist Opening: September 30th from 4-7pm
Orcas Center and the San Juan Islands Agriculture Guild are launching the popular annual Orcas Farm Tours with the Island Bounty opening party on Friday, September 30 at Orcas Center. Island residents and visitors are invited to come enjoy and honor the art, food and farms essential to our Island heritage and culture. This free event is open to all ages, with pop-up local food and beverage options.
As the opening reception for the Island Bounty exhibit, 36 artists and artisans from Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Islands have been invited to share their paintings, fiber and wood works, sculpture, printmaking, metal working, and award-winning food products, wines and ciders that all use island grown materials or depict island agricultural landscapes. Special features include demonstrations of yarn spinning, basketmaking, flower arranging, herbal medicines, and sales of island brewed wines, ciders and spirits.
From indigenous plant uses to historic barns and early settler agriculture, right up to today’s innovative climate-wise agricultural practices and value-added food products, the Island Bounty opening event shares the heritage and future of island plants and agriculture. Supporting local art, food and farms strengthens and enriches our community in many ways that benefit the San Juans, today and tomorrow.
Dinner is served! Island grown bowl dinners, salads, wine and ciders can be per-ordered online to enjoy on the spacious Orcas Center porch during the 4-7pm event, or to take home. See islandbounty.eventbrite.com to reserve food and beverages grown on the San Juans. Pop-up orders must be received by September 28th to ensure availability.
Come celebrate local art, food and farms on Friday the 30th, pick-up the 2022 Farm Tour map brochure, and then head out for on-the-land explorations on Saturday and Sunday when farmers open their fields, orchards, market gardens – and ice cream stand or pumpkin patch – to guests of all ages. If you are ag-curious or already devoted to supporting local foods, there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy during the Farm Tours.
Island Bounty is the outcome of a new collaboration between art and agricultural organizations that share a goal of building a thriving local community. Support for the exhibit, which runs through November 15th, comes from the Visual Arts Committee of the Orcas Center, the San Juan Makers Guild, the San Juan Islands Conservation District, and the San Juan County LTAC grant program. To learn more about the Farm Tours that run Oct 1-2, see www.farmtourssanjuans.com. Visit the Agricultural Guild and its important work building a sustainable food system at www.sjiagguild.com. To learn about Orcas Center, see www.orcascenter.org. The San Juan Makers Guild community platform is at www.sanjuanmakersguild.com. And the countywide Conservation District is at www.sanjuanislandscd.org.
During Island Bounty
Join us Friday, Sept 30th from 4pm -7pm to learn more about their work!
Blacksmith and metal working demonstration
With the orange hot forge burning, seeing hard metal forms heated and turning to pliable shapes that are pounded under an artist’s hammer, is an amazing transformation of materials and form. At Zack Leck’s blacksmith shop on Orcas Island there are teams of workers – and learners of all ages – discovering the alchemy of steel and bronze. From small wall hooks to 40-foot-long public art sculptures, Zack is hammering the imagined into solid form, creating both utilitarian and fine art forms.
Intrigued by kinetic movement and balance, there are gates that open effortlessly with unexpected counterweights, ginkgo leaves that twirl in suspended sculptures, crabs that seem ready to climb the wall, and a bird feeder that is over 12’ tall with multiple suspended forged bronze bowls.
Scattered across the islands there are madrona and tree branch railings, gates made of found and reused agricultural tools, fanciful swings for young and old, archways and gazebos that are full of life and heart – all thanks to the wonderful imagination of Zack Leck. Children are whooping down the slide and climbing structure at the Orcas Village Green, and ferry goers can walk along an extensive metal kelp forest at the ferry landing.
This Friday, September 30th, Leck is setting up a blacksmith and metal working demonstration at the Orcas Center and will have work on display during the Island Bounty exhibit. You are invited to come see his work in action and to enjoy his sculptural metal and wood creations.
See more about Zack’s work at https://sanjuanmakersguild.com/listing/zackaraya-leck/
Basket Making demonstration
Basketry is a sculptural art form on display at the upcoming Island Bounty event at the Orcas Center. Maria Bullock is a true agricultural maker and has developed a collection of multi-colored willows that she grows, harvest, prepares and turns into a beautiful collection of baskets each year. Every aspect of her baskets is island grown and made with natural materials and time-honored processes. Born and raised in Poland, Maria was accustomed to willow market and storage baskets as a regular part of daily life and her work takes inspiration from traditional styles while also innovating patterns and forms of her own design. In addition to willow, Maria also grows, harvests and makes bull rush products including popular hats.
This last year, invitations from around the region have seen Maria out teaching and sharing her knowledge in small group settings, perpetuating this ancient art form that spans many generations, connecting basket makers across cultures in the handmade process of weaving beautiful, functional sculptural forms. During the winter, as the willows have lost their leaves and their colors are best revealed, Maria harvests and makes baskets that sell-out at local holiday fairs. The work continues year-round as a sought-after purchase during the Orcas Studio Tours and Island Bounty is pleased to share her work at the Orcas Center this fall.
As a key member of the world-renowned Bullocks Permaculture Homestead, Maria creates a vegetable and greens garden surrounding fruit laden trees and her studio over looks this garden that borders the freshwater ponds that the Bullocks have restored as an important ecological system. Using a canoe, she paddles the ponds to tend her basketry plants. Throughout the garden, willow forms edge the pathways and create supports for food and flower vines.
For Island Bounty, Maria will be demonstrating basket making and invites viewers to see and touch the materials that are devotedly prepared for each and every basket. On display will be baskets for sale.
Learn more about Maria’s work and company on the Makers Guild Web Site at https://sanjuanmakersguild.com/listing/swamp-sticks-basketry/
Floral arranging demonstration
Floral design and sculpture are an art form on display at the upcoming Island Bounty event at the Orcas Center. One of the featured exhibitors is Emmy Gran, a Farmer-Florist growing flowers beside the Salish Sea and her art form combines the shapes, colors and textures of island cottage gardens with wild nature. “The insects, the birds, the small mammals all find refuge in my garden. I don’t use chemicals, I don’t till the soil deeply and I only use natural amendments found nearby like leaves and seaweed” if Emmy’s approach to farming and her floral arrangements often have a hand-picked, personal feel as if just brought in from the garden for a special guest.
For the Island Bounty exhibit, Emmy is working with dried flowers to create a hanging sculptural piece with billowing forms, much like the clouds moving up the sounds on the island. She will also be demonstrating floral arranging with hands-on materials, 5-6pm.
Fabled Flora is Emmy’s floral design company and seasonal flower arranging classes are offered, most recently at the Orcas Island Winery. Her arrangements and wreaths can be found at Lum Farm and Rising Oak Farm Stands and during special pop-ups. Visit FabledFlora.com to learn more.