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Local artists open work spaces for tour

Gaston and Cornelius studios among stops


Photo Credit: COURTESY PHOTO - Laurie Weiss, a Cornelius resident who hand-crafts books, has opened her studio for the county tour two other years. Dozens of artists from one end of the county to the other will open the doors to their most intimate space — their studios. The fifth annual Washington County Open Studios tour kicks off this Saturday, Oct. 18, and Sunday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The tour shows off where artists work their magic in a wide range of media — mosaic, painting, jewelry, wood working, mixed media, ceramics, forged metal, fabric and felted wool, encaustic, collage, glass, book arts and photography.

Laurie Weiss of Cornelius will open her studio this year to show how she creates books. She tried her hand at calligraphy and book arts in the 1990s when she was working at Intel and looking for ways to balance her time and her life. “To be good at calligraphy you have to practice every day,” Weiss said. “I’d rather make books.”

Using leather for book covers, handmade papers and dyes, natural patterns and colors, and hand stitching, Weiss crafts blank books, journals, wedding and baby albums and just flat-out works of art.

Weiss has worked with former Oregon poet laureate Paulann Peterson and Aloha printmaker Barbara Mason to produce 50 signed copies of “Dark River of Stars,” featuring Petersen’s poetry and Mason’s etchings, and is working on another project for 2015.

Gaston wood worker Les Dougherty sees his creations as more craft than art. He specializes in working with native Pacific Northwest woods. “Northwest hardwoods are comparable to almost any wood in the world,” said Dougherty, who counts Big Leaf Maple, black walnut and Madrone among his favorites. “I’d rather specialize in what we have here than in the exotics.”

Dougherty turns bowls, makes cutting boards and turns out flatware, which he will have on display during the open studios tour. 

Dougherty and his wife, arcylic painter Susan Curington, who is also on the open studios tour, run North Woods Figured Wood, a company that provides fine woods to wood workers across the country and parts of Canada. They haul 600 to 800 blocks of wood to shows and offer advice to buyers on which type is best for their specific projects.

Dougherty — a third generation wood worker and former carpenter and contractor — lives and works on land near the Tillamook State Forest that has been in Susan Curington’s family for three generations.

The two-day tour is free and open to the public. Brochures listing artists and their locations are available from the artists and from four galleries — Valley Art in Forest Grove, Sequoia Gallery+Studios in Hillsboro, Village Gallery in Cedar Mill and Art on Broadway in Beaverton — which also will be open during the tour.

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