A walk with Julia and Lucy Mitchell may last hours. It may last hours because they both love to walk. It may also last hours because a walk with these sisters is punctuated by stops to observe and collect rocks. In the rocks they see alphabets, patterns, designs; they see a whole world. It’s the rocks and it’s the walks that led to A Studio Guide to Nature, their collaborative show at A Gallery.

Julia weaves tapestries, Lucy sculpts and illustrates. There was no question they would be artists. As young girls, shuffling between Indian Hill and Edgartown with the seasons, their father, Joseph Mitchell, would build them doll house furniture. They were allowed to watch, but not to talk or touch while he built intricate ship replicas. With their mother, painter Joan Mitchell, the girls learned how to carefully blow an egg out of an eggshell and how to float seaweed onto a piece of paper to create a design.

Julia Mitchell's specialty is tapestries. — Jeanna Shepard

“You started making art when you were a little, little, little kid...you were very serious about it,” Julia said to Lucy. “You had a style built in, you’ve never really wavered from that essential style. Neither did I really. We just knew.”

Lucy remembers a drawing of a cat from childhood with a spiraling tail. Looking back on it, she finds the shape so elemental.

“It could be a prehistoric drawing,” Lucy said. “I think I’m just very connected to my early ancestors.”

Lucy illustrates small intricate designs on triangles of paper and covers them with items like branches or rocks, while keeping the shape intact. Any matter of found object becomes a small gift covered in delicately decorated paper.

“It’s the concept of potential and what’s inside,” she said.

Julia’s art is on a bigger scale, but is just as delicate. Her tapestries can be sprawling, multi-part designs or smaller than a placemat. She began weaving when she was 15 years old after signing up for all the classes offered by her favorite teacher at boarding school. She wanted to weave pictures, not just yardage, and started tapestry.

“I discovered all on my own how to make images on the loom and I thought

I was so very clever,” she said. “I didn’t even realize I was weaving tapestries.”

The sisters rarely show together, but not because they don’t get along. As children they had the typical childhood spats; Lucy is the middle child, Julia the youngest. But collaboration can be difficult for any artist.

“You have to meld your personalities, so that you both are completely on the same page about it,” Julia said. “You have to fully understand what the other person wants and what you want and it has to be the same thing.”

The idea for the Studio Guide to Nature came about in England last September, where they had gone for a long walk that culminated with visiting a show by the walking artist Richard Long. Walking artists use their environment as a canvas and their feet as a paintbrush.

Lucy Mitchell sculpts, illustrates, and uses found objects. — Jeanna Shepard

“It’s beautiful, it got people thinking about the idea of sculpture being made by human beings,” Lucy said. Julia knew she had a show coming up and asked Lucy to collaborate. They felt so connected during the walk in England, they decided their collaborative show should be a walk in itself.

Their mutual reverence of the natural world makes their work complementary. One piece by Lucy began as pressed seaweed, turned into a watercolor interpretation and was re-imagined into tapestry by Julia. Both sisters are drawn to natural shapes. Lucy turned gourds from their eldest sister Anna (who is also an artist) into delicate blue bowls, each holding something inside. She then took the tops of the gourds and turned them into mushrooms to decorate a different installation. Julia coaxed flowers out of her strands of wool, linen and silk. She wove waving grasses on a shore and fleeting clouds in the sky. With the natural bounty around them, there is endless inspiration for the sisters.

“I never had to worry about what to weave because if I got stuck in the design phase I could go down to the beach and pick up a rock, any rock, and there would be my solution,” Julia said.

Whether they are looking down for rocks, or up at clouds, the sisters are capturing the world around them.

“We’re taking moments and translating them into something permanent,” said Julia.

A Studio Guide to Nature continues at the A Gallery, 8 Uncas avenue, Oak Bluffs until August 17. For more information, visit agallerymv.com.