Friday, December 24, 2010

There is a Reason... Turn, Turn, Turn


Hello All,

To every season (turn, turn,turn) there is a reason (turn, turn turn)! Or should I say, "Through every season (turn, turn, turn), they have a reason (turn, turn, turn)". The San Diego County Carvers Guild members certainly embody this sentiment season after season, and year after year. They are currently "turning" through their 13th Annual Wood Turners Show at Gallery 21 in Spanish Village Art Center located at 1770 Village Place, San Diego, California. The show runs 12/8/10 - 1/3/11. The Wood Carvers Guild members are on site from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily to greet visitors, and to demonstrate their latheing skills at entrance of the gallery.

When entering the gallery, my eye was met by an amazing array of wood vases, bowls, standing sculpture, wall pieces and hand carved toys. Every type and color of wood imaginable was on display, at least to my knowledge. I am sure the San Diego County Carvers Guild members would debate this point with me, saying that there are untold numbers and combinations of glowing and earthy woods to choose from when it comes to wood turning. In view of that logic, I probably would agree with them. Certainly, Mother Nature's bounty seems, at times, "limitless".


This group of artisans, although extremely talented, have a modesty and well grounded approach to their craft. Enthusiastically, but quietly, going about their work, they are informative and skilled at the lathe and with carving tools of the trade. At any time, one may ask them questions about the variety and properties of the various woods available for turning. Ever knowledgeable, each member that I spoke to, unhesitatingly, volunteered information and valuable instruction on the process of turning, and the many aspects of creating with wood.


The members of the San Diego County Carver's Guild, and their personal biographies can be researched on their website. Each bio is a testament to their approach to their craft, and gives much insight into each artisans creativity, as well as the background that they bring to their art.

Perhaps this is a bit biased, but, I am particularly fond of Carol Martin's lovely hand carved doors. They are intricately carved and never cease to amaze me with their refined lines and compositional design. Her choice of fine woods is, in a word, "exceptional". Nan Bushley is another of my favorites, and is the President of the guild. When I asked Nan if there was any particular information she would like me to write about the guild and the show, she modestly said, "Well, it's our annual show. We have a website". A woman of few words, and real talent.

I think that sums it up for all of the participants of the show. There is no doubt that the members of the guild boast a wide variety of talent, and enjoy an extensive interest in the many facets of wood turning and woodcarving. Whether done by lathe or carved, chipped, sanded and polished by hand, the wood pieces produced by this group are wonderful. Add to their separate talents the beauty and glow of fine and exotic woods, and you have a winning combination. "What a winning hand"! A true compliment to nature, a great accomplishment for themselves and a fantastic gift to wood lovers. There's nothing better than that..."Wood-n't you say"?


I would like to extend a special thanks to Scott van Hoften, for his assistance in producing photo images of the pieces in this year's show, and for his extra time and dedication in helping me complete this review. Muchas Gracias, Scott!

"To every season...Turn, turn, turn. There is a reason...Turn, Turn, turn".


The San Diego County Carvers Guild is housed in Spanish Village in Studio 38, and we are especially proud of that fact. The members are there 7 days a week to greet visitors to Balboa Park and Spanish Village Art Center. You can expect a magnificent array and variety of hand carved and lathe turned art pieces when you visit. The collection is quite remarkable, as is each wood carver's approach to his craft.

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted, 2010, all rights reserved

Saturday, December 18, 2010

You Can Bet Your Bottom Bead!

Hello All.

Yep, you can bet your bottom bead, your top bead and everything in the middle when it comes to the Bead Society of San Diego. The members of the society displayed their diverse and eclectic style and talents during their recent show at Gallery 21, located in Spanish Village Art Center, 1770 Village Place, San Diego, California. The show ran daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from 11/24 - 12/6/10. All visitors were invited to come and "Get their Bead On"!

There are "fetishes and passions" that are inexplicable when it comes to bead collectors and bead lovers. Purely addictive scanning, combing, comparing and, ultimately, unstoppable collecting of "all things bead". Having worked for 40 years with gemstone beads, Swarovski crystal and Czech glass beads as a jewelry designer, it was not difficult to channel the "Passion" that this organization and its members infused into their work. The array of beaded art on display ranged from wearable art to free standing sculptural concepts that were intriguing to behold. If ever, you wanted to submerge yourself in beads, crystal and blown glass, this was the show and the bead society for you.

This year's show, headed by Ellen Kroll, boasted many show stoppers. Members were well rewarded for hours of dedication and diligence to their creative endeavors. While I am on the subject of dedication and diligence, let me say that I admire, but don't envy, all bead artists who have the patience and "stick-to-it-iveness" to work with thread! "Gutta Percha", girls. However do you keep from screaming when that wicked thread, with a mind all its own, ties itself in knots? I mean, it does this miraculously frustrating thing while you are still holding onto the needle; and the other end of the thread is undeniably attached to the art piece. Eeeek! (Ask any beader). They know what I mean. Thread is definitely for the patient. (That's clearly an understatement, if ever there was one). I'm a wire man, myself (22 gauge sterling),
that is.

Hold that bead threaded needle right there, folks! Don't drop it, now. You might get tied in knots! I'll be right back. Out to the breakfast nook to grab a cup of Celestial Seasonings' Red Zinger. Just for safety, I've secured my needle in a pin cushion. No knots for me!

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted, 2010, all rights reserved

Friday, December 10, 2010

Through the Looking Glass at Gallery 21

Alice's Consequences" by JACK WADE, Glass Artist
Uroboros 1st Place


Hello All.

It is amazing how busy this time of year is. People find themselves racing to keep up with the everyday things, while participating in the holiday hustle and bustle. I am certainly no exception to the mad dash. My friend, Alane Gray (Lord High Mistress of Twitter and Facebook for Spanish Village's social connection), keeps asking me, "Where did you go"? My answer, "Oh, just the usual places this time of year".

But, I'll tell you, I did go to one place recently that was nowhere near "Usual"... anything but! That was my visit to Gallery 21 for the, "Through the Looking Glass" annual exhibition of the Art Glass Association of Southern California (AGASC). The association held its 29th Annual Show November 11- November 22, 2010 at Gallery 21 located at 1770 Village Place, San Diego, California. The art glass was on display daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. where visitors were invited to come and marvel at the expert craftsmanship and originality of this amazing group of artists.

When you think about glass, it is a pretty amazing thing. I mean, what is it, really? Silica? Infused with color, mixed and blended with swirling canes, dichroic flashes, dots, bumps, and globs of other fusible ingredients or matter. Or, left crystal clear and pristine to reflect or refract all the prismatic light of the spectrum. Cut, crushed, slumped, encased, molded, folded, twirled or pulled molten and glowing from the "glory hole", this is a medium that commands respect and demands attention to detail and precision. Gosh, I'm feeling a warm flush just thinking about it. Just imagine the actual "rush" that these amazing people must get while going through the process.

"Jellies" by MARCI STINTON, Glass Artist

As "Glory" as the glory hole may be, I think that this an art that I would much rather view from the spectator's seat rather than pick up the challenge. You've got to be pretty "gutsy" to stir that pot, if you ask me. But, gutsy and "glory" they are, these "masters of radiant, fiery matter pulled from an infernal vortex". Wow! Does that describe it or what? Dante's got nothing on them.

"2 Pieces of View" by VICKI LEON, Glass Artist

The masters of "fire and light", as I like to call them, are a group of artists "interested in promoting and educating the public in all areas of art glass creation and endeavor". Founded in 1981, the small group of local artists has grown into an organization of more than 125 members that pride themselves in belonging to AGASC. It is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting all the art fields from traditional stained glass to repair and refurbishing of antique stained glass pieces, glass blowing, glass fusing and lamp worked glass. The Art Glass Association of Southern California is proud to be recognized as one of the oldest active memberships in the United States.

All of the members of AGASC were invited to participate in the exhibition. The categories that they competed in read like a list of gauntlet running immense challenge to me. As mind blowing as the art glass created by the masters was, the designated categories for the awards were widely varied and extensive, which sent me scrambling for a thesaurus for clarification, not to mention pronunciation. The title categories for this year's art glass entries were as follows:

1) Uroboros Special Theme Category: for best representation of the title
2) Coatings by Sandberg, Inc. Category: for the best endeavor in dichroic glass
3) Cold: Stained Glass, Mosaic, Sandblasted or Etched
4) Kiln-formed: Fused or Cast
5) Hot: Blown or Pour Cast
6) Wearable: Anything that can be worn
7) Mixed Media: Must contain at least 51% glass and anything else
8) Masters: This category is reserved for those artists that have previously won 3 or more awards in a category or "Best of "Show".
9) People's Choice: This category is voted on by the public for their favorite piece.

To congratulate the members, ribbons were awarded in 1st, 2nd and 3rd Places.

The winners in each category were:

Hot: 1) Baby Bear Rescue by Carlson Potts, 2) Piano Sconce by John Gibbons,
3) Kaleidoscope Platter by Patricia Yockey

Cold: 1) Hexagon by John Gibbons, 2) I Love Circles! by Pam Horn,
3) Reflections of Funkytown by Gina Meyers

Masters: 1) Dreams of the Dead by Kathleen Mitchell, 2) Splash Bowl by Joel Bloomberg, 3) Too by Leslie Perlis

CBS: 1) Jellies by Marci Stinton, 2) 2 Pieces of View by Vicki Leon, 3) Swimming
with Turtles by Cathy Coverley

Mixed Media: 1) Spiritual Regeneration by Rick Knight, 2) Alice's Cubistic Bird Bath
by Patricia Yockey, 3) Green Faery Revelry by Laddan Hashemian

Wearable: 1) Surya Chakra by Vicki Leon and Mili Shah, 2) Radiant Vortex by Vicki Leon, 3) Amor/Amore Deux by Leslie Perlis

Kiln-formed: 1) String Theory by Jack Wade, 2) Why the Long Face? by Jack Wade, 3) She's Not the Right Alice by Marti Blair

Uroboros Special Category: 1) Alice's Consequence by Jack Wade, 2) Falling Daughter by Leslie Perlis, 3) Queen's Target Practice by JoAnn Pastori

People's Choice: Jellyfish Sculpture by Joel Bloomberg

"Jellyfish Sculpture" by JOEL BLOOMBERG, Glass Artist

Holy Cow, I am "plumb wore out"! This is not an art for the lax and uninspired. Is anyone feeling a bit like Alice trying to keep up with the prolific creativity of this group? Thank you all, AGASC for taking us on a whirlwind trip "Through the Looking Glass" by way of the "glory hole", torch and kiln. And as for you, Alice, "...Honey child, you and the Art Glass Association of Southern California glass masters, ROCK"!

"Falling Daughter" by LESLIE PERLIS, Glass Artist

Oh, the glory of the miracles brought forth from the Glory Hole! "It's gettin' hot in here..."

The Art Glass Association of Southern California (AGASC) is a working group of glass artists in San Diego County, founded in 1981, and can be contacted through Jon Simpson, the 2010 AGASC Show Chairperson. Additional information may be obtained on the group at or (619) 229-1243. Send e-mail correspondence to

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted, 2010, all rights reserved

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ding Dong, Ding Dong...Christmas Bells Are Ringing!

Good Tidings We Bring to You and Your Kin!

It's here! The "Don't Miss Event of the Year" !!! Yep, you guessed it..."December Nights" is here once again, and the members of Spanish Village Art Center have "outdone" themselves getting ready for this annual celebration.

The big event takes place from Friday, December 3 - Saturday, December 4, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. in Spanish Village Art Center, and throughout Balboa Park. It is a veritable Santa's Wonderland with a magnificent tree lighting ceremony, gift booths, live performances, caroling and as much eating as a body can stand.

We, in Spanish Village Art Center will not be outdone in the decorating and entertainment departments this year. We have created an amazing North Pole Wonderland complete with colorful Christmas trees and a maze of gift wrapped boxes hanging from the trees and along the pathways of our colorfully painted tiles.

It reminds me of that old Christmas carol, "...and, presents on the tree". Let me tell you that there isn't a tree in the Village that isn't bursting with gift boxes, lollipops and candy canes(...visions of sugarplums) ! Not to mention the beautiful decorations in every studio, all encircled in White Light! Whoa! Let me step out of the path of the Stampede (...shoppers, that is) !

As I think about it now, this year's theme is reminiscent of my decorations last year, when I placed overstuffed gift bags and gaily wrapped boxes along the path to my studio, #32, softly lit by votive candles to guide guests along their way. Maybe, this is what they mean when they say, "Art imitates Life".

So, Come One ... Come All to our Merry Santa's Wonderland in Spanish Village Art Center, located at 1770 Village Place, Balboa Park in San Diego, California. There will be lots of joy, ART, eats, entertainment and a fantastic throne where the little ones can sit on Santa's knee to make those Christmas wishes come true. Perhaps, there will even be a sprig or two of mistletoe for the adults! (I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus...) Shhh! Come browse through our 37 "magnificent" studios, mingle through the patio artists' booths and take something "unique and handmade" home to place under your tree. We invite you to make Spanish Village Art Center your "Home for the Holidays". Do make it an artful Christmas, and as we always say this time of year, "DON'T GET MALLED" !!!

"Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ... Dashing to Spanish Village Art Center" !!! Hey, "artistic license", don't you know! We'll keep a (white) light on for You!

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted, 2010, all rights reserved
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...