July Artwalk dovetails with Summerfest 2003

The Kirkland Artwalk is held from 6 to 9 p.m. the second Thursday of each month. This month it falls on July 10th. All the galleries listed below will stay open late July 10 to give residents and visitors a special opportunity to see some of what makes Kirkland such a popular and desirable arts community.

Parking is available at Marina Park, along downtown side streets and in the parking garage under the Kirkland Library - an excellent place for books and art. If you live near downtown Kirkland, you can even walk. Admission to all of the Artwalk galleries is free. The galleries also are open during the week, so if you miss the Artwalk you can still see the exhibits on your own schedule.

Many of the featured artists will be at the galleries during Artwalk, so make it a point to stop in and meet them. Why not start on Central Avenue and "Gallery Row?" There you will find many of Kirkland's finest galleries right next door to each other.

There are special things happening at the Kirkland Art Center this month in conjunction with the annual Summerfest celebration. Two of those events involve Kirkland residents, KAC instructors and glass artists, Delores Taylor and Carmen D'Aquila. Delores Taylor works in pâte de verre [paste of glass], an Egyptian process that was rediscovered in the 1890s and enjoyed popularity during the art nouveau period up until the 1930s. The process involves fusing fine, often colored, glass pieces in a refractory mold.

Since there are different methods of pâte de verre, the final pieces can be either thick, solid, cast pieces or very thin, shell-like objects.

An instructor at KAC for four years, where she teaches kiln-formed glass, Taylor feels that her experience in fusing was instrumental to her success in pâte de verre. She works in four different processes of pâte de verre, preferring the variety and flexibility this allows. She can match the art statement she wants to make to the type of pâte de verre best suited to it.

In the early 1990s, the Missouri native moved to Kirkland from California. Accompanied by her husband, Taylor gave up working in the corporate world [she has a business degree from the University of Phoenix] and turned to full-time glass working. Her introduction to glass came about during a downturn in the economy when she worked in the transportation industry. In the 70s, while Taylor was laid off, she took a stained glass and glass painting course.

"It was an instant love affair," she recalls. "I've never stopped creating since that period of time."

Rather than taking formal classes, Taylor has worked at glass facilities that gave her specialized experience in the things she wanted to do. Taylor took fusing and painting classes from Dan Fenton while living in California and first studied pâte de verre under Mary Fox. Later she went to Pilchuck Glass School and studied with Etsuko Nishi. Taylor attended The Studio, Corning Museum of Glass, on a scholarship and studied under Kimiake and Shinichi Higuchi.

Being a Kirkland-based artist is extremely important to Taylor.

"We have such a rich treasure with Kirkland Art Center," she said. "It's really important to the creative process that KAC has such fine instrucors in various types of creative arts." Taylor appreciates, both as an instructor and student, that KAC brings world renowned people to Kirkland. "That makes it a rich resource for the entire community.

Taylor also appreciates the finer points of being a Kirkland resident. "One of the reasons we chose Kirkland to live is the public art," she says. It reminds her of where she grew up - where public art is so widespread. "We have a really special community."

Taylor operates her studio in her home. "It has oozed out into the entire lower portion of the house," she says, after beginning in a small portion of the garage.

Art can be like that. It grows from a small compartment in your life to an all-encompassing and consuming passion. Taylor will be jurying art at Summerfest. Look for her there.

The subject matter of Carmen D'Aquila's glass reflects the artist's interest in global spirituality and cultures. What draws her most to the material is a desire to know and understand why she is interested in it versus what knowledge of the subject might impart vicariously. She chuckles over the thought but adds thoughtfully, "It must be the analytical side of me."

Like Delores Taylor, D'Aquila teaches at Kirkland Art Center and Pratt Fine Art Center in addition to her work as a glass artist. She teaches because, "I believe in putting back something into the place," where you work or learn.

D'Aquila's own path to learning the art in glass began in 1984 when, "I went to a gallery show and bought a Greg Englesby piece." She was so excited by what she saw, "I found out he was teaching at Pratt and took classes in blowing glass," she recalls. After that was course work in fusing glass and D'Aquila discovered, "That was my niche."

"There were a lot of people blowing glass and not that many fusing - certainly not as many as today." That made formal training difficult so she is mostly self taught. After a year she phased out of her job in the wholesale clothing business and started her own studio. "Quite a change!" she exclaims. In all the intervening years, she hasn't looked back. Each piece of D'Aquila's work is individually hand-made.

"It's not mass produced," she stresses. "It is glass that is layered, heated in a kiln at 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. I do pieces with detail that draws the viewer in for a closer look." Some forms she works with are platters and bowls, though they are not utilitarian place settings.

Working out of her studio-garage, D'Aquila finds the Summerfest arts community spirit offsets the many solitary hours devoted to her craft. "It's very supportive at KAC," she says. The arts community is not very tight, not very organized in Kirkland. "There are groups of artists, but it's not an organized thing," D'Aquila says. "But at Summerfest they get an opportunity to get together and interact and share ideas. Summerfest really promotes this."

And Summerfest also helps promote the spirit of education that is so important at the Kirkland Art Center.

"I think contributing to the community by teaching and making people more aware of art is a good thing to do," says D'Aquila. "Sometimes the public can be very intimated by an artist who they think knows everything."

Teaching allows the artist to facilitate an understanding of the art and the process of art. "KAC classes make people aware of the process of creative art so they have more respect for it and understanding," she adds.

Carmen D'Aquila unveil some new works at Summerfest. "Something bright and colorful to share with everyone," she says. 620 Market Street. 822-7161.

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