Get to know East Sooke and Metchosin artists on the Stinking Fish Studio Tour

Annual studio tour gives people a chance to see the process behind artists’ work

Dawn Gibson

Sooke News Mirror

Get an inside look at local art by visiting artists at their studios on the Stinking Fish Tour.

The Stinking Fish Studio tour got it’s name from Metchosin, which was named by the First Nations people of this region and literally means “stinking fish.”

The free annual tour will be taking place from Thursday (July 27) to Monday (July 31), and will allow people to visit various studios around Metchosin and East Sooke, and give them a chance to meet local artists.

One of the locals involved is clay artist Marlene Bowman from East Sooke. Bowman has been working with clay for more than 20 years, and became involved with the tour when it was getting started.

To many people’s surprise, Bowman didn’t start working with clay until her mid 40s.

“What got me started was seeing a pot being thrown on a potters wheel for the first time, it brought tears to my eyes it was such a moving experience,” said Bowman. “I knew right then it was something I wanted to learn how to do, and decided very early on that I would keep on doing it until I was very old.”

Bowman said she was moved by the texture of clay because it has so many possibilities.

“The challenging part is the same part that makes me and other potters keep on,” said Bowman. “It’s the uncertainty of what’s going to come out of the kiln. You’re always surprised.”

Another local artist involved is East Sooke resident Angela Menzies, who said her favourite part about the tour is the amount of people she gets to meet.

“I also really love seeing repeat customers,” said Menzies. “People will come from around the world for this event and you get to reconnect with them, even though that might be the only time you see them all year.”

Menzies has been involved in the tour for 17 years, and has been selling paintings for over 25 years. She explained that most of the artists that take part in the tour have been involved for approximately 10-15 years.

“When you go to a gallery you don’t get to meet the artist and you don’t get to see their process,” said Menzies. “But when you come on the studio tour you get to talk with the artists and often see them working or giving demonstrations. It’s just a nice way for the public to get to know the artists, and for the artists to inform the public about what it is they do.”

Bowmen explained that she also loves giving demonstrations, and visitors are encouraged to try their hand at making and decorating objects when they come to see her.

“It’s a lonely business working in a studio alone, so it’s nice having someone come and ask questions and be engaged in my work,” said Bowman.

“Local art is a very strong force for good,” said Bowman. “Without the arts, we aren’t human.”

For a brochure and map of the tour, or to find out more visit

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