When you are along the Pacific Coast, it is a spiritual, shifting canvas of beauty that is repainted every day. Something about it calls to an artist’s soul. They can hear the ocean’s siren song, pulling them toward her shores like the tides. So, it makes perfect sense that the Pacific Coast is home to thousands of creative minds. Long Beach Peninsula artists are no exception. The intimate region is heavily freckled with galleries, studios, museums, and internationally recognized creators.
One 6-mile spur of the area’s footprint boasts more than 20% of its 200-person population as working artists. North Cove to Tokeland is home to a tight-knit community of creativity and events. The colorful people that live there make up a tapestry of talent. So, in honor of their annual Studio Art Tour, we take a closer look at this special artistic byway.
First, what draws the artists here?
Why Does Long Beach Peninsula Draw in Artists?
We have already determined that there is a seductive, tidal pull between an artist’s soul and the peninsula. Something about the way the wet sand reflects the heavens on the deserted stretches of Long Beach. Or the way the verdant trees embrace the land on one side, and emotional sea on the other. Or how the marshy grasses tickle the bay under the lacy valances of fog. This place is magic, and the beauty is inspirational. It makes sense that it is home to so many Long Beach Peninsula artists.
And when so many creative forces hum in one location, they manifest things. The community calendar is full of festivals and events. One of those annual celebrations is the Studio Art Tour in Tokeland and North Cove.
What is the Tokeland North Cove Studio Art Tour?
The Tokeland North Cove Studio Art Tour is an annual event that has been held for more than a decade. Over two weekends, studios open their doors to the public, allowing them a glimpse behind the creative curtain. It is an intimate invitation to climb into a Long Beach Peninsula artist’s wild, colorful brain.
Guests experience live demonstrations, tours, and displays. They have a chance to meet the artists and hear their process, from idea to art. It is a chance for locals and visitors to purchase their own piece of the peninsula.
Just like the teeming waters of Willapa Bay, the mediums used by the local artists are diverse. Driftwood, photography, fiber, pottery, metal work, jewelry making…for an art appreciator or collector, this experience is overflowing. And while the Tokeland North Cove Studio Tour is a wonderful time to see these spaces, the artistic mastery exists year-round.
Here we celebrate just a few of those creative beacons in that stretch of peninsula.
Jeffro Uitto and Knock on Wood in Tokeland
A son of the land, Jeffro Uitto is born and raised in Tokeland. The majestic beauty of this area became an inspiration and tool for his artwork. His Knock on Wood studio is steps from the historic Tokeland Hotel. And a review of his gallery will find elegant and powerful sculptures of driftwood that are evocative and breathtaking.
Remnants of wood are rescued from the shores, banks, and valleys of the region. He can hear a voice inside each piece of wood he touches, and he knows how to harmonize it into another form. Jeffro’s handcrafted furniture and stunning sculptures have found their way into homes and museums across the globe. And anyone familiar with the Long Beach Peninsula artists and community may spot some of his work around town. His distinctive, creative vision is easy to recognize.
Just like Jeffro, our next artist can see the landscape through a different lens.
Marguerite Garth Photography in Tokeland
Marguerite Garth is a visual storyteller in the community of Long Beach Peninsula artists. An international award-winning photographer several times over, Marguerite’s pieces have been featured all around the world. Some of her work has been in galleries that would require your passport. But lucky for you, you can find her hauntingly beautiful photography in her studio in Tokeland.
The way her eye processes her subject matter is a visual journey that evokes melancholy, longing, and familiarity. Some of her newer projects use encaustic painting. This centuries-old technique involves a process of using wax or resin with heat to transfer photos to another surface. The result is Marguerite’s ghostly capture of beauty on organic elements like local wood slabs or Venetian plaster. She enhances them with oil paint for a stunning finished product.
Her refined and delicate process is just as fragile as the medium of our next artist in the area.
J Bartheld Glass and Elements Glass Art in Grayland
The Pacific Northwest is known for its glass art, and the peninsula is no exception. It is the home to J Bartheld Glass. Jeremy Bartheld is a popular artist who coaxes glass into form through a skilled process of melting, blowing, coloring, and shaping. Self-taught, he is a Renaissance man when it comes to his craft. He is always evolving his craft. Some of his work includes pots of fragile, colored spires surrounded by glass floats, reminiscent of other-worldly gardens. One-of-a-kind drawer pulls, solar garden lights, or oil lamps are his functional works of art. He creates custom, emotional pendants containing the immortalized ashes of loved ones or pets. His wild grin stands out amongst Long Beach Peninsula artists. And it is not unusual to see his story in many a newspaper article.
During Art Studio Tour, it is common to see a heavy presence of other burgeoning artists getting their own exposure on his sidewalk. His artistry draws additional local artists to his fray, as he is an avid supporter of the community.
And he is not the only artist weaving it together. Our next artist really knows how to spin a yarn.
Fix Wheel Fibers in Grayland
Visit Fix Wheel Fibers and find yourself unravelling an adventure; one where this artist’s footsteps influence her creations. Kitty Bryan is a retired engineer who read an article on yarn, and it ignited a fire in her. She started upcycling yarn from thrift stores, which then led to her sourcing organic wool from merino sheep or yaks.
Her yarn is hand spun and then dyed through an intimate, firsthand process. Kitty forages botanicals and nuts that she has gathered herself. The items are collected from peninsula local forests, roadsides during road trips, or her hometown visits to Alabama. Black walnuts, golden sage, and pokeberry are just a few of the things she uses to dye the yarn. Elements are mixed with collected Washaway Beach seawater from the shores of the coast or spring water from places like Zion. No two dye results are alike, as the magical mix of minerals on the day the water is collected creates a new result with every dip.
Her process is as organic as our next location.
Evergreen Flower Farm in Grayland
In the fields of green in Grayland, the Evergreen Flower Farm blooms. Part nursery, part farm, part florist, this colorful location specializes in floral artistry. Its heavenly scent envelopes you the moment you walk into the space. Brimming with cut flowers and arrangements, it also features art pieces made from blossoms. Frames and terrariums are decorated with fresh or dried petals. Elaborate wreaths are woven with stems from the garden. And a selection of dangling crystal art casts rainbow reflections around the room. But it is her elaborate floral chandeliers that will take your breath away. Massive works of art made entirely of organic elements have graced the special events and ballrooms of the city.
Their onsite shop is also brimming with other local artists including The Fancy Accent Tea Company, a purveyor of premium loose teas And it is the flagship home to the popular, locally made Tokeland Candle Works. Creamy, paraben-free candles in dreamy scents are poured into glass vessels and sprinkled with crystals and other goodies. It is enough to make you melt! And don’t forget to peek at the pigs, goats, rabbits, and chickens that call it home too.
From there the journey continues down the road to another fanciful, artsy spot.
The Knotty Siren in Grayland
This whimsical gift shop is known for its handcrafted items. Owner Janette has been creating her items for many years out of this storefront, along with local art. She loves making her handcrafted bandana tops, whimsical light plate enhancements, and body soothers. During the Art Studio Tour, she opens her sidewalk to local Long Beach Peninsula artists and has been an avid supporter of the artistic community for years.
The Cranberry Museum and The Cranzberry Gift Shop in Grayland
This wooden building was built in 1933 and is celebrating its 90th birthday. It became the home of the Furford Picker, a dry cranberry harvesting machine still made today. Each picker is hand forged and is a functioning work of art. If you’re lucky enough to experience a tour through the 7,000 sqft onsite workshop, you see old machines, drill presses, and pipes from years gone by. The gift shop and museum are a trove of treasures, including handmade trinkets and welded art pieces.
In addition to their whimsical, stocked gift shop, they host a variety of art classes. Learn the art of Gyotaku, which is the Japanese technique of fish printing on rice paper. Or decoupage a glass fairy light bottle or colorful garden stake. Delightfully eclectic, this historical building is all about creating new memories.
Earl Davis Designs and Shoalwater Bay Museum in Tokeland
Our final highlight is also rooted in historical significance. Shoalwater Bay Museum is more than just a display of artifacts. Located on the Shoalwater Bay Indian Reservation in Tokeland, its mission is to share the rich history and culture of the Shoalwater Bay people. The museum works closely with Tribal families to accurately portray the truth and beauty of this land and community. And the wooden building features carvings, paintings, weavings, and jewelry. So many of the artists spotlighted here have an interwoven connection to the land. A visit will allow visitors to experience the voice of the people and to see the region in a light that reflects history.
And as a spot on the Tokeland and North Cove Art Studio Tour, guests will be treated to not only their installations, but also other cameo tribal artists. Of special focus is Earl Davis. Earl is an artist, carver, and member of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe in Tokeland. As the Heritage and Cultural Director of the museum, he ensures that the center remains relevant and rooted. As an artist, he follows in the footsteps of his ancestor’s sophisticated work. Find his elegant and beautiful carvings on your next visit.
More Art and Happenings in Long Beach Peninsula
Sometimes we count our lucky stars that so many in our diverse community are Long Beach Peninsula artists. They enhance the masterpiece that nature created for this glorious gallery called the world. To learn more about the community of artists and all the happenings in Long Beach Peninsula, follow our blog.
By: Danelle Dodds
Danelle is an international traveler, road tripper, writer, and artist. She firmly believes in testing the limits of word count, mileage, and AYCE sushi.