When artist Bert Lambier took his first Stinking Fish self-guided studio tour he felt rushed trying to visit all the studios within a few days. In a trial run, this year the tour will go all year long instead of limiting visitors to 10 days.
“We felt it was so hectic,” said Judi Dyelle, tour co-ordinator and artist. “Sometimes there would be 50 people in the studio and people want to ask questions.”
The tour was held once in the summer and again in the winter.
With the new annual format more artists are signed up to be a part of the tour, Dyelle said.
It’s the first year in the tour for Lambier who admits he would have participated if it was a 10-day tour, but he’s excited for the new format.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said the Metchosin welder. “Now people can come when they have time. People can call ahead and book two or three artists to go see.”
Plus, he points out, artists can work together.
“When they leave my shop I can call the next artist and let them know they are on their way,” Lambier explained.
In his shop, sparks and epics of metal tend to fly, so the artist prefers a heads up to prepare for a visit.
Lambier learned his trade at Camosun College where most of his classmates where not seeking the skill for artwork.
“I had no intention going to work at the shipyards or dockyard, but everyone else had the intention,” he said. “They all laughed at me and said they’d see me at the shipyards.”
Now Lambier jokes he’s the only one from his class still working in welding.
He’s most well-known for his steel kelp sculptures and he said he’s always been inspired by the ocean.
“When I was a kid I would swim until I was blue in the lips,” he said. “Now I like to go sit down at the ocean with a coffee.”
He’s also been known to snorkel at Taylor Beach and the Esquimalt Lagoon.
Some of his other creations include bowls made of nuts and bolts, space rockets and flowers.