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Artists gather Saturday for annual Little Spokane River show

The Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour includes five stops at locations along the river in north Spokane.
Courtesy of Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour
The Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour includes five stops at locations along the river in north Spokane.

One of the Inland Northwest’s most unique art shows will convene again on Saturday. The Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour offers people five places to see art along the river in north Spokane.

This is the 16th year that artists will show their works in outdoor garden, river and studio settings. More than 50 of them will have displays.

The art in the five studios along the river include a wide variety of media, from jewelry to paintings to wood and ceramic pieces.

You can find a map of the studio tour here.

Two of the artists scheduled to display their work are Patti Osebold and Will Richards.

Patti Osebold

Patti Osebold specializes in the Japanese art form of origami. She says she first began folding paper into interesting shapes when she was very young.

“Forty years ago I started making paper cranes and then after that, I just started going to conferences on origami and learned more about the uses of origami," Osebold said.

"It’s become very sophisticated from simply folding a piece of paper. Now they use it in science and art therapy, even medical, making stents. It’s just one of these things where your fingers are your tools, of course, and once you start folding a piece of paper, it becomes intuitive almost and your fingers know what to do almost," she said.

Artist Patti Osebold specializes in origami and Japanese paper dolls.
Courtesy of Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour
Artist Patti Osebold specializes in origami and Japanese paper dolls.

Osebold uses origami to create sophisticated, complicated pieces of art. One of her compositions looks like a paper quilt in the shape of an aqua-colored fish. It looks like it has a hundred individual origami foldings combined into one.

“I make a piece of folded paper and I repeat that same pattern over and over again with other kinds of paper and I think I made just about a hundred of them," she said. "And then you put it together, almost like a puzzle, into whatever design you think you want to do. And sometimes I’m not even sure when I start off, what the design is going to be.”

Besides origami, Osebold makes other art, including Japanese paper dolls.

"They are dolls that are sculpturally made from clay that I get from Japan, but I surround them with paper clothing. Paper always has to be in my art, I feel, and I will add a piece of origami to the paper doll, which I put in a case, so that’s part of my art too," she said.

Once a piece is to the point where Osebold considers it finished, she takes one more step to ensure that it keeps its final shape.

“Then I will put a coat of Mod Podge and some other kinds of coatings that it stays and will last. And I think I put on a paper and into a frame so that I know that it’s going to be something that a person can have for years and years," she said.

This is the 16th version of the Little Spokane River art show and Osebold has been a part of every one of them. She enjoys going to see the work of her peers.

“You look at a piece of ceramics or jewelry and ‘how did they do that?’ So you ask questions about how do they go about doing their own work. It’s very satisfying to see new artists and even the artists that come back for 16 years. Their quality is always top notch," she said.

Will Richards

Will Richards makes lamps and other interesting pieces in his studio near White Salmon, Washington. That’s across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon.

Artist Will Richards' current focus is lamps made in part from composite materials.
Courtesy of Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour
Artist Will Richards' current focus is lamps made in part from composite materials.

“I started making lamps 30 years ago, I guess, and it’s because my neighbor, who has a composite company, was building windsurfing masks and snowboards and I was just hanging around the shop going ‘What’s this stuff?’ Richards said.

"They make everything precise and tight and I’m pretty casual. The lamp shades began just being collaged, little stories of what I could do with putting things together. I will make a bunch of shades and then I make a bunch of lamp bases and they mix and match and I travel to shows and the client is able to kind of get what they want," he said.

This will be the tenth time Richards will display his work at the Little Spokane River show.

What makes his story especially interesting this year is that he and his wife lost their home to a wildfire in early July. It burned up the hill from the Gorge and destroyed their house but spared his studio about 100 yards away.

“What I lost was 50 years of collecting art, 30 vintage and select left-handed guitars, four generations of stuff on my side of the family and three from my wife’s," he said.

For now, Richards and his wife are living in a rented place about 14 miles from their property. They’re preparing to rebuild next year.

“The bluff property that we own is select. And I say it’s select because Laura Johnston, who retired there, built an Eichler or an Eichler-inspired home on the bluff with a very private, full panoramic view of Mount Hood and the Hood River Valley and east to Mosier and west to the Pacific Crest Trail," he said.

For Richards, rebuilding his home represents a time of transition in his life. Another part of that transition could lead to his making a new type of art.

“This is re-invent time. The lamps might be done," he said.

"I’ve got other ideas for three-dimensional sundial pillow shapes. They would be big. They would be a different price point. They’re going to be architectural little stories. I mean, I’ve done the lamps. I’m standing there thinking how am I going to keep this fresh? I’ve got to keep it fresh. I’ve got to dazzle myself and when that expired, I’ve expired.”

Richards’ work will be part of Gina Freuen’s studio, one of five studios that are part of Saturday’s Little Spokane River Artists Studio Tour.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.