First Friday: Enjoy a grand opening, gourds, paintings on silk and more

First Friday: Enjoy a grand opening, gourds, paintings on silk and more

By Elizabeth Shepherd

Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, May 29, 2012


What's on tap for June's First Friday Gallery Cruise?


For starters, there will be the grand opening of Raven's Nest new retail space in the middle of town. The main focus of Raven's Nest, previously located in Center, is promoting the work of Tlingit master artist and carver Israel Shotridge. But there will also be work on view by other Pacific Northwest tribal artists -- expect a variety of apparel, carvings, cedar bark basketry, glass, drums, cards, prints and jewelry. Plans are also being made to offer Native art workshops in the space this summer.


Friday's grand opening will feature "One Crazy Raven," a 15-minute performance by actor, storyteller, flute player and Native dancer Gene Tagaban, that will take place very hour, starting at 6 p.m. All First Friday visitors will also receive a free print called "Raven Stealing the Sun."


Next door, at VALISE, fans of interactive art exhibits will likely be intrigued by Eden Rivers' show "Social Constructs." Organizers say the exhibit is a "social experiment" that uses hundreds of ceramic vessels to prompt viewers to "question how we structure our society based upon our biological forms." If that seems vague, it might help to know that the show deals with edible materials that viewers will be encouraged to consume.


The first event, "It Takes Two for Tea," will take place on First Friday. The second, at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 16, is called "Are You Jell-Ous," and involves, well, Jell-O. A camera in the gallery and a photo booth will document what happens during these two events, and part of the proceeds from sales of Rivers' ceramic works will benefit Vashon Youth & Family Services.


A variety of fiber arts will be on view at Common Thread, the collective space located in the former Books by the Way store next to Cafe Luna. On Friday, the space will spotlight one artist in particular: Suzanna Leigh, who will show work painted on silk panels. The panels, Leigh said, were inspired by wildlife -- a black bear, an eagle, a crow, a squirrel, an owl and a steller's jay -- that Leigh has spotted through her living room window.


Over at Ignition Gallery, an exhibit called "You and I" will show off new paintings by artists Anelecia Hannah and Charles Philip Brooks, who are engaged to each other. Hannah creates quiet still lives, interiors and portraits that draw on traditions passed down through a lineage of American painters. Brooks is known for his evocative landscapes, created in the poetic form of the American Tonalist tradition. His new works, a love letter to his betrothed, feature the skies and waters of Vashon Island, which Brooks newly calls home, after a move from North Carolina.


Stop by The Hardware Store Restaurant to see photographs by Dewain Gauntlett, whose works capture the beauty of Vashon, the landscapes of the Washington, Oregon and California coasts, the contours of Mount Rainier and more. Gauntlett's work has been published in Newsweek, The Seattle Times and other publications.


At Duet, you'll see Lenard Yen's charcoal sketches of Buddha, Ganesh and Shiva, inspired by statuary in the Fuller Garden Court of the Seattle Asian Art Museum.


You can get in the mood for Vashon Allied Arts' Garden Tour (discounted tickets are on sale through May 31) at the Blue Heron Gallery, where botanical art will be on display. Charlotte Masi will show new works created with gourds, including an eight-foot-tall sculpture made up of more than 100 gourds dyed in rich shades of reds and browns. Other works will include vibrantly colored gourd art, cut to Masi's specifications by Island artist Hartmut Reimnitz, and other pieces embellished with wooden beads, leather strips and found materials.


Also on display at the gallery will be painter Janci Mannington's large portraits of nature.


Finally, close out the night with some down-home fun and a blast from the past at Mean Dave's Diner, a new collectibles shop tucked inside the little red barn across the street from the Blue Heron. Live music and good times will mark the shop's opening.


Contact Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Arts Editor Elizabeth Shepherd at or 206-463-9195.