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Washington Voices

Lives are imbued with art

Artists Karma, left, and Bill Simmons are seen with two of their art pieces outside their Hangman Valley home. (Jesse Tinsley)
Artists Karma, left, and Bill Simmons are seen with two of their art pieces outside their Hangman Valley home. (Jesse Tinsley)

Artists celebrate ‘a creative life’

Artists Bill and Karma Simmons reside in Hangman Valley in an environment conducive to creativity.

It is a barn/studio/home surrounded by nature and sculptures made by them. Driving up the dirt road to their place, it looks like a large barn or garage; wood logs kept in place by grout make up the tall walls flanking the garage doors. Upon entry is a lifestyle completely integrated with art. “It’s pretty simple,” Bill Simmons said, “We like to eat and drink wine and we make stuff. It’s a nice creative life.”

In the huge shop/studio, the couple sand blast, rivet, laminate, paint and cut an array of materials including wood, aluminum, steel, copper, concrete, rubber and glass. The designs come from their imaginations. Bill has been making things since his 20s, learning to use tools when he owned a body shop and Karma is a deep well of ideas. “She is never restrained by whether or not it can be built. We figure it out,” he said.

A flight of stairs in the back of their workspace leads to their living space which is wide open. The couple made most of the furnishings and designed the house. It all came to be after they sold everything, bought a boat and hit the seas for over three years. On the boat, they pondered life and began sketching their future.

From the table in the dining area, you can see their studio through large windows. “When we were sailing, we talked about plans for after our return. We hit upon the idea for a circular life which we defined as co-mingling our art, work and play into a constant stream of creative endeavors. Our shop and living space was designed to allow us to view a piece at any time from any angle over our morning coffee or evening glass of wine,” Bill Simmons said.

Their work encompasses home and life and adds beauty to the surroundings. Large sculptures for the garden including pillars with unique cuts through which light escapes, functional and sleek furniture and whatever else they can imagine. Their public sculptures include “Pool Day,” three abstract forms (a mother and two children) strolling near Comstock Pool.

The couple sell mostly by word of mouth. They don’t show a lot but they do participate in artfests. For the first time, they will be joining other artists for the annual Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour on Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at one of the three studios on the map.  

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