At its essence art is an alchemical process.
Alchemy is a process of transformation.
—Julia Cameron, Author of, The Artist Way
Have you ever thought about what clay might consist of? The rock-bones of the planet, stardust, ancient fallen leaves that have laid in creek beds. Grasses and vegetation. A baby's hair. Feathers and claws. All left for eons in wind and rain. Year after year, clay passively receives the blessings of sunlight and moonlight. This sticky, moist, earthy substance seems to hold all the world. And in the hands of artist, Satoko Barash, clay turns into something elegant again, rising up into lovely and often iridescent forms. Her pottery reminds us of all the living things from which it originated.
This artist fully enters her work. She tends to each piece with love, etching delicate detailed designs, putting swirling spirals onto her plates—like whirlpools at the base of a a waterfall. Hold one of her cups and you are reminded of rolling hills, flowing streams, and sand dunes in a desert.
Satoko throws her pottery on a wheel and then fires in a soda kiln that she built at her home. With this kiln, she achieves gorgeous color combinations from using soda ash. Spraying soda ash into the kiln during a firing the vapor travels through the air and chemically interacts with the clay, thus creating these wonderful patterns and colors on the exterior surface of each piece. The result is absolutely lovely.
Why do we human beings respond to such beauty in the way we do? Because it restores a sense of possibility in us. In the presence of creative beauty, we ourselves are renewed. Good art brings us back to where we belong: to a state of wonder.
In addition to being beautiful, Satoko’s creations are utilitarian! Cups to drink from! Plates to eat from! So let us feast on this life, my friends! Come see her show, Form and Surface. You won’t be disappointed. First Friday, September 7, at the Northcoast Artists Gallery, in Fort Bragg, 5pm to 8pm.
Let the beauty we love
be what we do.
It’s hard to live in this political environment and not be worried. What’s the world coming to? But then, I think about people like Jon and Ann Maglinte and my spirits are lifted. I have hope. I even have a sense of balance in the making!
As artists, this couple came to Mendocino County 40 years ago. They were part of the back-to-the-land movement and shared a dream of living creatively and in a sustainable way.
As it turns out in America, living outside of the “norm” is an extremely hard thing to do. Many people in this movement gave up and moved away, or reverted to their original way of life. The Maglinte’s stayed and with humor, grace and good will, built a beautiful life for themselves. In addition to establishing their homestead, raising a family, gardening, etc., they both play musical instruments and make art as well! It’s no surprise that they are beloved by their community.
In their August show, Simple Beauty, Jon, who always has a twinkle in his eye, will be displaying his infrared photography along with their garden art. They make beautiful cement plaques that bring their message to the world in a wide variety of forms. Ann will be showing her astounding watercolors and her exquisite scarves. Her paintings give us a window into their world and most importantly into her heart.
Come celebrate this couple and a life of creativity. Focus on them for awhile--not global warming and Trump! Their art show, Simple Beauty, will be at Northcoast Artists Gallery, during the month of August 2018. Opening, First Friday, August 3, 5 to 8pm. Join us!
There are love dogs no one knows the name of.
Give your life to be one of them. —Rumi
Cliff Glover and Marion Miller just might be Love Dogs. They may not wag, but their hands certainly express their love and devotion to this world.
Though their work is very different—one works in clay, the other in silk—they share a delight in nature, which is their source of inspiration. Together they live and work at home, in the coastal village of Albion. There they have a charming studio that is often open to the public.
Both were introduced to the ancient tradition of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, Chanoyu, over 30 years ago. They were so fed by the beauty of this teaching, that it continues to give them nourishment to be true to their art and to life itself.
When you see Cliff Glover’s work you’ll sense a natural rhythm in his pottery. It is as rich and alive as the earth from which it springs. The first time I picked up one of his bowls I was so pleased by the unexpected lightness. I thought, “This level of refinement comes from years and years of practice.” So it is.
Marion works in silk. Her scarves remind me of waterfalls and sunlight filtering through leaves. She uses the natural pigments of local plant materials and a traditional hand dying process. Her pieces have a lovely ethereal quality to them that seem to convey layers of awareness. These scarves are a pleasure to the touch.
Maybe we are all Love Dogs. We long to merge with the beauty of this world. We hunger for the simplicity and elegance found in Nature. We hunger for signs of the eternal. And we are so grateful for the age old practices that center us and keep us steady when the waves come crashing down.
If you sense you are a Love Dog, get your longing satisfied at this show where both tradition and new possibilities abound. While Marion’s scarves are as surprising and ephemeral as life itself, Cliff’s pottery is born of such an ancient art that it reassures. When you see their work together you’ll know: Life is good—life is of itself enough.
Perhaps life might even be sustained through the creation of Beauty made with human hands and honest intention.
Come see, and wag your tail at, Tea and Silk, opening First Friday, July 6th, 5 to 8 pm, at Northcoast Artists Gallery in Fort Bragg, CA.
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.