I’ll happily embrace any religion that expands my ability to love. If something strengthens me and brings me clarity and joy, I bring it close. I don’t care what it looks like, or where it comes from. That isn’t to say that I won’t take on a difficult practice, or explore deeply. I enjoy questioning any thought pattern of my own, or of any other persons—turning it round, and round, looking at it from every angle. I often find that kind of exploration fruitful and even life-changing. I try to let go of any ideas that generate sorrow or create feelings of separateness. I want to shed those parts and let them fall away like an old useless husk.
I’ve come to believe that any dogma is a form of illusion that will just exacerbate all the troubles in the world. I trust in my own direct experience with the Divine. Those experiences come to me largely through dreams and creative acts. Mostly through painting, rarely through words. The paintings you see in this show, Strength in Tenderness, are like a visual trail through the last three years of my inner explorations.
When I began painting the Sacred Feminine I felt the world open up. I felt--and still feel—a chorus of voices coming through me from my depths. Grandmothers, aunts, sisters, some that I’ve known, others that I’ll never know. They seem to want to be painted. They want to be loved and honored and they should be. It is my privilege and joy to portray them as best I can.
So many titles came to me for this show: The Healing Circle, The Return of Magdalene, Holy Rascals, Recalcitrant Saints, Rebels and Mystics. Then one morning they gave me the perfect title: Strength in Tenderness. That is the message the Sacred Feminine is bringing to this beautiful injured world. Strength in tenderness is a desperately needed new concept that needs to be cultivated. It has nothing to do with dominance or cleverness. We will find our healing in our ability to be tender, in our ability to care for and nurture life. It is the powerful tenderness required to forgive, and forget, and begin anew.
—Sue Ellen Parkinson
When I first held one of Lizzie Helbig’s lovely cups, a teaching of Martín Prechtel's came to my mind. Martín wrote, “Deep in our bones resides an ancient singing couple who just won’t give up making their beautiful, wild noise.” In Lizzie’s work I feel the essence of that human song he refers to. She creates by gently squeezing and pinching her clay into shape--she doesn’t use a potters wheel—so the entire surface of her pottery is infused with the touch of her fingers. It makes no practical sense to do something so time consuming as this, except that it clearly brings her joy. To me, this feels like evidence that she has found that ancient singing couple within herself. Whether or not I am right, Lizzie Helbig is doing her part to keep the world alive with beauty.
She comes from a family who works with their hands. From her father, a machinist, to a German grandmother who is fond of tole painting. Raised in New Jersey, schooled in Vermont, Lizzie now finds herself settled in the village of Mendocino, where she is surrounded by the natural world.
There’s something so timeless, yet unique, about her ceramics. Lucky for us, she loves making objects for everyday life. Her interest and love of nature’s patterns and the inherent intelligence found in thoughtful design are reflected in everything she does.
Come see, and feel, Lizzie Helbig’s ceramics. Hold her work in your own hands. See if your fingers can hear that beautiful, wild singing. Her show, sunrise/sunset, will be on exhibit for the month of May, 2018, at Northcoast Artists Gallery. You can meet her at the First Friday Opening, May 4th, from 5 pm to 8 pm.
“The whole culture is telling you to hurry,
while the art tells you to take your time.
Always listen to the art.” ~Junot Diaz
At a time when many of us are caught up in the jumbo juicer of modern life, art allows us to step back from the turmoil of daily living and contemplate a new realm of possibilities. When we experience art—view it, touch it—we slow down. We are opened to the myriad ways in which human beings can articulate the deeper aspects of life and give it meaning.
Creativity is contagious. Come see the show and meet the artists on opening night! The art forms are as varied and diverse as these rural artists themselves. Join us in celebrating the creative spirit that is alive and well in our community. The reception for the artists will be on First Friday, April 5, 5 to 8 pm, along with concurrent openings at a number of Fort Bragg galleries that participate in a monthly Art Walk.
Some Featured Friends:
Carolyn Zeitler, Basketry
When you see Carolyn Zeitler’s work you’ll want to drop to your knees. Nothing but the deepest love and intelligence could inspire this level of craft. Her baskets are made with pine needles for Pete’s Sake!!!
What Hung Hung can do with his inner vision and opposable thumbs will make you feel proud to be part of the human race. The beauty and elegance in his furniture is breath taking. It seems musical.
Virginia Ray, Assemblage
Assemblage artist Virginia Ray clearly likes to play. Her creativity is an expression of her curiosity and amusement in the world of found things. Using old and broken objects she constructs new and beautiful objects. No wonder she looks so happy!
Keith Monroe, Jewelry
Keith's jewelry leads one to wonder, “What spirits does he commune with?” This latest round of work gives us another glimpse into this man’s delightful soul and the paths he walks upon.
Victoria Bard, long time member of Northcoast Artists Gallery, died last November, and her passing truly leaves a vacuum in our gallery. Artist, craftswoman, and avid surfer, Victoria produced a line of fine jewelry, as well as being the go-to person which everyone depended on. She was aways ready to step up when something needed to be done, always ready to offer a helping hand.
What molded and made Victoria was her love of the ocean. The beach was a stone’s throw away from where she lived. She was as much at home sitting atop her surfboard, as she was sitting at her bench, casting, polishing and fabricating new adornments out of silver and gold. The ocean was an endless source of ideas and inspiration.
"Patterns in the sand, the shape and texture of shells and seaweed, or the surface of the water, its bubbles and rivulets--all are evocative of the forms that later emerge in my work,” Victoria said. “If I can build a ring or pendant around a particularly nice shell or beach glass, that's double the fun!"
Please join us this May 2017 to celebrate the life of our dear friend and beautiful artist, Victoria Bard, at Northcoast Artists Gallery, 362 Main Street, Fort Bragg, CA.
Two local artists join forces for a limited edition collaborative ceramic show at Northcoast Artists Gallery for the month of June. Havana Davidson and Solange Roberdeau -- artists of different mediums -- find common ground and inspiration in materiality and abstract forms from the natural world. Ceramicist, Davidson, chose a natural red clay body and strong geometric forms when making this body of work specifically to compliment Roberdeau's bold and oftentimes minimal design sensibilities.
Roberdeau utilizes this three dimensional framework to expand her otherwise drawing-based investigation of form and perception. The resulting collection of plates, bowls, pitchers and cups is aesthetically energetic and fresh without compromising it's utilitarian functionality. It is earthy with a minimal color palette delivered in layers and highlighted with glints of gold luster.
Collaborations in Red Clay will be on display from May 31st – July 2nd .
Opening Reception on First Friday, June 2nd from 5-8pm,
Northcoast Artists Gallery, 362 N. Main St., Fort Bragg, CA 95437