Arts demonstrations will heat up the 2012 Anacortes Arts Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Sculpting, weaving and a variety of other demonstrations, including the painting of the 2012 festival mural by Skagit artist Jack Gunter, will give festival goers an inside look at the work that goes into making art.
Click here for a full schedule of Arts Festival events and entertainment.
The hottest act of the weekend will include a 2,000-degree furnace melting glass to be blown and molded into works of art by Dan and Joi LaChausseé of Langley.
Dan LaChausseé has been blowing glass for 30 years, shaping everything from bowls, vases and platters to lamps, sculptures and wall art.
This is the third festival where the LaChausseé family will demonstrate their art — after lugging in their 50-pound capacity furnace, steel table, pipes, rods, yokes and stands.
“It’s big hit, and a big draw,” LaChausseé said. “I’ve seen other glass artists do it, and I knew I could do a much better job.”
LaChausseé Blown Glass’s talents were showcased in arts festivals in Edmonds and Everett during the last year. They have participated as a booth artist in the Anacortes festival in years past, but this year they’ll craft pilsner glasses and goblets as the crowd looks on.
“They’re challenging pieces to make, but they’re not super-slow,” he said.
Most of his large projects take hours to craft. A small cup still takes as long as 30 minutes to create and sells for an average of $50, depending on the design. The pieces are available for sale after they’re completed, but LaChausseé said they need to slow cool in the oven overnight.
Time, skill and materials all factor into the cost of his glass artwork. Trickier pieces also factor in “breakage,” or the likelihood of needing multiple attempts to successfully create the piece.
He said demonstrations help people realize the craftsmanship and artistic effort that once went into all glassware.
“You blow a bubble for the cup, for the stem, for the base, so you’re stacking bubbles,” he said. “Nowadays of course they’re all made by machine.”
Another art demonstration involving heavy machinery will return for the second year. Large-format steamroller prints will be rolled out on Saturday and Sunday.
Eleven artists and teams of artists have designed relief carvings that will be coated in ink and pressed, via an industrial paving steamroller, into prints that stretch 50 inches by 38 inches.
“This year more printmakers have stepped up to design the prints,” said Nicolette Harrington, organizer of the steamroller block printing.
Harrington designed a print that includes more than 150 snow geese. After drawing the images, they were engraved onto the blocks. She said all the artists designed prints that are relevant to life in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s impossible to know exactly how the images will turn out until the roller has made its pass.
“That’s part of the excitement,” she said.
Layers of plywood, artificial turf, blankets and steel protect the paper, which costs $10 per sheet, as the weight of the machinery presses the oil-based ink into the raised sections of the blocks.
Harrington said the plan is to make eight prints every two hours during the art demonstrations.
Aside from the glass blowing and steamroller printing, eight other artists will give demonstrations on a smaller scale.
Virginia Dusenbury has lived in Anacortes for more than 30 years, and has painted portraits even longer than that. She will demonstrate her skills in the Experience Art Area Saturday and Sunday.
Dusenbury said she’ll invite anyone who wants to sit for a portrait, and she always enjoys talking to her subjects and getting to know them as she records their likeness on her easel.
“I like people,” she said. “I like to interact with people, and to me, everyone is beautiful.”
Dusenbury said she did a painting demonstration for the Arts Festival when she and her husband retired to Anacortes in 1981. She has been a booth artist for several years, but returned to demonstrations last year.
Although she enjoys it, she said that at 86 years old, painting all day long can be taxing.
“I’m getting pretty ancient to do this kind of thing,” she said.
• Gustavo Vargas, large-format painting.
• Steve Baccus, chain saw sculpture.
• Skagit/Whidbey Weaver’s Guild, weaving and spinning.
• Chris Theiss, repurposed paper habitat construction.
• Northwest Washington Woodturners, wood turning.
• Peregrine O’Gormley, sculpture.
• Allen Moe, ceramic construction.
Click here to see the Fine Art Award winners from the juried fine arts competition.
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