At the display window in Uptown Port Townsend are, from left, Jeri Auty, Cheri Kopp, Debra Olson and Sue Gale, contributors to the “Art in a Pandemic” show, on view around the clock at the corner of Tyler and Lawrence streets. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

At the display window in Uptown Port Townsend are, from left, Jeri Auty, Cheri Kopp, Debra Olson and Sue Gale, contributors to the “Art in a Pandemic” show, on view around the clock at the corner of Tyler and Lawrence streets. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Ten women share window display

Pandemic inspires creativity

PORT TOWNSEND — Look through this window and you see an outpouring: “Postcards from Home,” “Road Trip,” “F**kd,” “Solace.” These are a few of the 33 creations by artists from across the North Olympic Peninsula, all gathered on the corner of Lawrence and Tyler streets.

“Art in a Pandemic,” on display in the window at this Uptown intersection — cater-cornered from Aldrich’s market — offers evidence of how embroidery, collage, silk and sculpture can soothe the soul. The 10 artists, members of the Surface Design Association, proudly arranged their work in this compact show, to remain on view through March.

These women also demonstrate ways to make art with thrifted and salvaged materials, said Linda Carlson, a contributor from Sequim. She’s the one whose “Origami Garland” stretches across the top of the window while her “Mountainscape 1” and “Mountainscape 2” show her embroidery skill.

“I purchased nothing new for these projects,” said Carlson, an avid finder of recyclable materials.

For the origami and note cards, “I started with paper from my now-grown daughter’s old Camp Fire projects and tractor-feed computer paper from my office in the 1990s,” she said, adding it was just plain fun to play with texture and color.

During the pandemic, Carlson has found it hard to tackle demanding projects. And the most popular in the window are the origami ones: simple works finished in a few hours each.

“I painted and stamped paper, a process that I found soothing,” especially when she suffered from cabin fever.

Evette Allerdings of Port Angeles began the pandemic making masks — more than 600 — with her 88-year-old mother. Then, in summer, she worked on “Journey,” a silk painting depicting the ups and downs of her life.

“Being stuck at home forces you to become more introspective. Less noise,” Allerdings said.

Then came the end of August, when her brother-in-law died. She and her husband had to travel to San Diego to clean the family home; they drove a rented U-Haul back, and it was broken into in Sacramento, Calif. For the rest of the trip, they were surrounded by the smoke of wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington.

When Allerdings finally got home, she painted “F**kd.”

“If you look at it a certain way, it is the upward infection rate graphs with hand-stitched and beaded viruses. If you look at it in another way, it is the silhouette of mountains burning with hand-stitched and beaded embers,” she said.

“I let all my frustration, fear, and rage out.”

In the months leading to the November election, Allerdings worked on “Solace,” a large and radiant silk painting of a tulip in bloom. It gave her beauty — instead of the continual “what next?” news.

“COVID affected my process a lot,” she said.

“Art has kept me sane.”

Allerdings’ and Carlson’s work shares the window with fabric, felting, paper, wire and wood creations by Sue Gale, Cheri Kopp, Debra Olson, Janice Speck and Erika Wurm of Port Townsend; Jeri Auty of Port Ludlow; Mary Tyler of Chimacum and Barbara Houshmand of Port Angeles. There are necklaces, a scarf shaped like a cat, and yes, fitted face coverings. Information awaits at the Surface Design Association’s website,, and most pieces are for sale — but not the ones Allerdings made.

“COVID has helped me express myself,” she said.

“COVID has forced me to embrace myself … I know this must be a cliche by now, but art has been cathartic to me, and is my therapist. It is why this batch are not for sale. I want to keep these 2020 COVID pieces for myself. They are so personal, and will be a reminder of my growth, this year.”


Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

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