Meet Davis, CA based artist Brigitte Mayer. Mayer’s work, whether printing, painting, sculpture, carving, or furniture and lamps – is steeped in the German forms and fairytales of her childhood. The spare tidiness and love of line are the influence of her cabinetmaker father. Finding art in found objects, such as beautifully transformed cocoa pods of hundreds of formica samples, creates the unusual diversity.
Mayer is one of over 35 artists showing at the annual Artisans Festival, Friday & Saturday, November 28 & 29 at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center. This holiday tradition is one of the longest running festivals in Nevada County and is known for showcasing the exceptional work of regional artisans. This year’s festival takes the term “Art Party” to another level with dozens of new artists, installation art displays, performance art, live music, children’s holiday art activities, and a rustic, bohemian Acoustic Café and Wine Bar. Tickets $3, $5 Weekend Pass, Children 15 and under free. Daily hours are 10am-5pm.
What was the art background of your childhood?
My dad was a master craftsman and cabinet builder straight from Germany. I thought it was boring and would never have thought building things out of wood would be my ultimate passion in those days.
When did you recognize a special talent or interest in art? Was it a moment or a process? Can you remember a specific setting?
Others in my family had talent, but I never saw it in myself. I was a mom. When my kids got more independent I needed something to do so I started working with a friend who worked with wood. To my surprise, I realized it was fun, interesting, and I was good at it. Then, it turned out people liked it, wanted to buy my art and the whole business started snowballing.
These days, I’m a tool junkie. I love the challenge of finding the right tool for the job and learning to use it with expertise. It’s like a puzzle and I love puzzles.
What did your parents say when you told them you were going to be an artist? Was it a moment or a process? Can you remember the specific setting?
My parents were already gone by the time I started creating things. I took them around to some local shops and they liked my work. and she just kept giving them her works and they kept selling. Decided she wanted a studio and refurbished the garage as a workspace. It was fun, people liked her stuff, and they were inspired by her creations which keeps fueling her craft.
Who or what were your early creative inspirations?
Definitely I was inspired by my dad. He could make anything. I also had a creative aunt who I was named after. She was an abstract painter, ceramicist, and overall fine artist whereas my dad’s works were functional. I guess I’m a bit of both.
Which artists are you following currently?
I mostly see something and the materials catch my eye, not really people or artists. I am always looking for interesting ways to use materials and tools.
What, besides the obvious, do you like about selling your art?
I feel validated. When someone actually pays their good hard earned money for what I create, I feel successful.
What do you think is the role of art in a society?
Art makes us feel alive and separates us from being just pure animals. The ability to appreciate creating makes life bearable and interesting. Creativity has the power to evoke excitement regardless of how the circumstances of the day are going.
What have been the biggest sacrifices you’ve made for your art?
Well, my kids say “It’s all you do!” Maybe, the ability to be nurturing, helpful, and available to the kids on some level.
What is the funkiest job you’ve taken to support your art?
Doing art and making money at it feels like the funkiest job I’ve ever done.
Anything particularly interesting or striking about your story that you’d like to share?
I have a hard time letting go of my art because I love each piece so much.