SEQUIM — “Mary and I cannot be more different; that’s why this is interesting,” Lynne Armstrong said, considering the possibilities of the collaborative painting she and fellow Sequim artist Mary Franchini will create at this year’s ARTjam.
Armstrong likens it to “a responsive gestural dance.”
Franchini is a bit more blunt about it.
“Lynne and I are going to drive each other crazy, and it’s going to be fun,” she said.
Fun and creativity are on the canvas for a special collaboration of two artist groups this year, as ARTjam and ARTfusion groups host art demonstrations and sales over Labor Day Weekend on Sunday and Monday at two Sequim venues.
ARTfusion is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Cutting Garden Art Center, 303 Dahlia Lane, while ARTjam is slated for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rock Hollow Farm, 505 E. Silberhorn Road. Admission is free.
For the past dozen years or so, both shows have showcased artists of varying styles, and both are back this year with a host of contributors.
ARTfusion, held annually at Catherine Mix’s studio at The Cutting Garden, has expanded to include six pop-up tents and will showcase potters, woodworkers and painters.
“It’s a lovely location,” Sequim artist Jinx Bryant said.
In addition, the studio will feature a “Wall of Smalls” — “We call them bit-sized pieces of art,” Bryant said — that feature 6-inch by 6-inch pieces of art for sale.
The pieces are affordable, Bryant said, and still give the buyer a sense of the artist’s style.
Art aficionados have two big venues to tour this year — “two huge locations (with) such great artists,” Bryant said.
Artists at both venues will be at work demonstrating their craft, Armstrong said.
“People can ask questions and people — old and young — can make art,” she said.
“We want to show our finished work (too) but we want to show the process,” Franchini said. “We want people to share that energy.”
The heart of ARTjam, Armstrong said, is the barn at Rock Hollow Farm.
“That’s part of the experience; people enjoy coming there.”
On the farm grounds, ARTjam will feature artists working in clay, pastel, wood, metals and paint. Live music will be on the Apple Tree Stage both days, as well as some spoken word and dance performances.
Mary Lou Sanelli of Port Townsend will perform “Crow,” a literary and dance combination, on Sunday.
ARTjam organizers also will auction off “Birds of a Feather,” a restored chair decorated by 15 ARTjam artists, to benefit the Sequim Food Bank.
Artists will honor the work of Ed Crumley, a fellow ARTjam contributor who died this past year.
“He was a true artist,” said Sequim sculptor Ross Brown.
Crumley helped connect Brown to the local art community when Brown moved to the Diamond Point area years ago. Crumley had an idea for the 2020 ARTjam show, a 12-foot obelisk that never was realized after last year’s event was canceled.
“I built a model of what I thought might work,” Brown said. “But then Ed got very sick.”
Now Brown is finishing the piece for the 2021 show.
Brown, an instructor at the University of Washington and Bellevue College, has light at the heart of his art.
Attendees of Sequim’s Sunshine Festival may recall Brown’s 10 interactive light stations that mix or filter colors using a light source. He plans to have something similar for this year’s ARTjam, but because the event is during the day, attendees can view the light-centric art using viewing boxes.
Sequim artist Liz Harper will display her light-catcher art, with fused glass art on a metal stand that filters the sun’s rays.
ARTfusion artist Roberta Cooper will exhibit gourds. Cooper sources her materials from Southern California and uses a water-based urethane coating so people can store dried foods inside.
During a Lavender Weekend years ago, she hosted a solo show and met a group of women from North Carolina, who wound up sending her some pine needle straw from the East Coast for one of her projects. Cooper will display some of those pine needle straw gourds at this year’s event.
Armstrong said the COVID pandemic hasn’t changed her art, neither theme nor process, but that “it’s intensified (the art) in a way.”
Brown said it motivated him to put one of his sculptures at a public area in Diamond Point, a popular spot to stroll. The pendulum-style piece is meant to be pushed or pulled, and many walking by stop to interact with it, he said.
Franchini, on the other hand, struggled with the lockdown.
“I kind of stopped making art,” she recalled. “I felt the creativity was leaving me totally. I was getting scared.”
She credits her teaching responsibilities — she instructs five students once a week in her studio — and starting on small pieces of art to gradually find the inspiration.
“It was simple, easy. I wanted to go and play some more,” Franchini recalled.
Now, she and Armstrong are set to find a way to play together at an ARTjam collaborative piece. The pair will join creative forces to bring life to a 5-foot by 6-foot canvas.
“(Mary) will make a mark, then I’ll make a mark,” Armstrong said. We’re going to respond to each other.”
Francini said people shouldn’t expect order from her contribution.
“I don’t see straight lines, so I don’t make them,” she joked.
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].