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Miners Foundry Cultural Center Awarded California Arts Council Grant to Produce 2nd Annual Nevada City Dance Festival

ncdfThe Miners Foundry Cultural Center is pleased to announce they have been awarded a $10,800 grant by the California Arts Council (CAC), which will be used to support the production of the 2nd Annual Nevada City Dance Festival, a week-long celebration and showcase of professional dance in Western Nevada County, March 14-17, 2017. This is the Miners Foundry’s second year to receive a significant grant from CAC for the Nevada City Dance Festival.

With the CAC Local Impact grant funds, and the support of the community, the Miners Foundry will host the following international and professional dance companies: dawsondancesf, Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, Linda Blair Dance Company, Pisa Za Congo Dance Company with Vivien Bassouamina, and Airaligned aerial dance group, for a week-long residency in Nevada City. Dancers will prepare for several live performances as well as work with local dancers, dance studios and schools over the course of several master classes.

“The mission of the Miners Foundry is to preserve, enhance and utilize the historic Miners Foundry for cultural, educational and social activities in our community,” stated Gretchen Bond, Miners Foundry Executive Director. “With the support of the community, we have been working for a number of years to enhance the Osborn/Woods Hall to better support diverse, quality programs in Nevada County.”

This year CAC announced $8,726,168 in grants to California nonprofit organizations under ten unique, competitive grant programs. 712 grants were awarded for programs supporting arts education; underserved communities; veterans and their families; local economic development; arts and community development; creative place making; and arts service organizations. The CAC Local Impact grants were awarded to smaller arts organizations for the purpose of providing project support and fostering equity, access and opportunity to arts programs in smaller communities.

In 2013, with support from the County of Nevada and the community, the Miners Foundry was able to complete the installation a professional dance floor in the Osborn/Woods Hall. They have since welcomed many professional dance companies to perform, and hold professional dance residency programs and classes.

“We are so fortunate to have the Osborn/Woods Hall at the Miners Foundry,” says Karin Attix, organizer of the festival. “It is a perfect venue for contemporary dance with its intimate in-the-round seating and spacious stage dimensions and high ceilings. Our audiences will have a profound, in-depth experience of watching amazing, technical dancers and crafted, engaging choreography.”

dawsonedancesf_4-nevada-city-dance-festival-2015-2About the Dance Companies

Back by popular demand, Gregory Dawson and his company, return to Nevada City after wowing audiences during their sold-out performance at last year’s festival, to perform selected works from his January season at the Yerba Buena Cultural Center in San Francisco. dawsondancesf has steadily delivered risk-taking, muscularly elegant performances since its establishment. It breaks down the barriers placed on classical ballet, and brings to light the strength and beauty that artists possess within themselves, allowing them to explore their voices through choreography and vision.

What started as Tahoe Youth Ballet in 2009 with a single performance at the North Tahoe High School auditorium, the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective has evolved into a company that presents a range of performances for Lake Tahoe audiences throughout the year, including its own productions as well as visiting dance companies. Under Artistic Director, Christin Hanna’s crafted eye, these young dancers perform a wide range of pieces from ballet to contemporary modern works.

The Linda Bair Dance Company based in Sacramento, comes from a deep modern heritage with roots in Merce Cunningham, one of the 20th century legends of modern dance. Dancers range from 17 to 52 years in age and will perform from variety in music both commissioned scores from modern dance composers and music from Haydn and Purcell, along with other baroque composers.

Pisa Za Congo (Children of Congo) Dance Company is a professional Drum & Dance Performance Ensemble based in Santa Cruz, CA, directed by Vivien Bassouamina. The company performs dances in a range of styles from Traditional to Modern, including Lyrical, Improvisation, Acting, and Story-Telling.

AirAligned aerial dance group, now based in Sacramento, was formed in 2002 by Artistic Director Tresa Honaker. Unlike traditional circus performers AirAligned members consist of formally trained dancers. AirAligned is a theatrical aerial dance group. Productions are beautifully choreographed and athletically executed. The group has received additional training in the aerial arts from Ingrid Hoffman, Hollywood Aerial Arts and Cirque LA in Los Angeles, Trapeze Arts in Oakland and San Francisco Circus Center.

Event Activities include the following:

A Gala Reception at the Miners Foundry on Tuesday, March 17, 2017
Four dance master-classes
Three technical and dress rehearsals
Professional dance performances by the visiting companies March 14, 15
& 17, 2017

For further information about this event, please visit our website:
www.minersfoundry.org

Charles & David

Charles & David - Front of AVM

Calling all Nevada County history buffs!  We’re hoping someone can tell us the back story of this great photo.  If you know, please send an email to kat@minersfoundry.org

As the origins of the photo are murky for now, consider it a Happy Easter from the Miners Foundry, throw back Thursday style!

 

The Pelton Wheel

Pelton Wheel

Invented in the 1870s by Lester Allan Pelton, the Pelton Wheel revolutionized hydro-power and hydroelectricity.

Manufactured at the Miners Foundry, the Pelton Wheel is an impulse type water turbine which extracted energy from moving water, as opposed to water’s dead weight.

Pelton Wheel

Pelton Wheel

The paddle geometry design used by Pelton meant when the rim ran at half the speed of the water jet, the water left the wheel with very little speed extracting almost all of the water’s impulse energy.

There are a number of Pelton Wheels on display at the Miners Foundry and around Nevada City.  The floor of the Upper Gallery is decorated in honor of the largest single pour of  a Pelton Wheel in history.

 

New Music Monday – Karen Savoca

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New Music Monday is all about sharing the good tunes of new bands and artists that we love and/or coming to the Foundry soon! This week’s artist to check out is Karen Savoca who will open for Grammy-nominated folk musician Greg Brown on Sunday, March 20th, at the Foundry.

Karen Savoca’s baby diary reads, “20 months, knows six songs”. Born in northern NJ, daughter of a big band singer, her mother was not at all surprised to find her constantly dancing and singing. Karen studied piano at the age of eight, and at thirteen cracked her piggy bank to buy a guitar. She started writing songs in her early teens, sang in choirs, played in bands, and has been performing ever since.

“A voice with this much strength and easy confidence is a rare find. But that’s not where Savoca’s talents end. Her songs are filled with good humor, sensuality, and nature’s simple pleasures. She can work a sly smile into a lyric that makes you smile in spite of yourself. Open up and let her in.” – All Music Guide

Acoustic Guitar magazine calls Pete Heitzman “A true virtuoso of groove, with a sly touch that, combined with Savoca’s in-the-pocket drumming and spectacularly soulful vocals, gives the duo the impact of a four-piece band.”

Having performed together for decades, Savoca and Heitzman’s chemistry leaves audiences uplifted, wowing 10,000 from a festival main stage as effortlessly as they charm an intimate black box theater.

“Grit and sensitivity… percussion and groove… spanning soul, blues, r&b, roots and world rhythms like a high wire act working without a net.” – Six String, Columbus, OH

Savoca’s seventh solo album, “Promise,” was recorded in their 1890’s renovated church-home studio, nestled in the hills of upstate NY. The Edmonton Journal says, “There’s soul in the delicious grooves and phrasing, and soul in the broader sense that floats out of her lyrical vision.” “Promise” reached #1 on Alberta’s CKUA, and #25 on the Euro/Americana chart.

“Embracingly beautiful songs that have a beguiling way of changing and reconfiguring themselves like an aural kaleidoscope.” – Duluth News Tribune

In addition to their own catalog, Karen and Pete have produced two albums for Americana legend, Greg Brown, who says, “If she were a Native American, her name would be Sings Like Two Birds.” They have played hundreds of shows with Greg across the U.S. and Canada.

Karen and Pete have won seven SAMMY awards and are independent record producers and film scorers. They are currently recording I Shook The Tree, due for release in 2016

“Melodic songs that probe the mysteries of heart and soul. One of the most breathtaking live performances I’ve ever experienced.” –WILLAMETTE WEEKLY

New Music Monday – Grateful Bluegrass Boys

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New Music Monday is all about sharing the good tunes of new bands that we love and/or coming to the Foundry soon! We are loving the Grateful Bluegrass Boys, who are co-headlining with Achilles Wheel on Saturday, March 19, 2016, at the Foundry.

Grateful Bluegrass Boys is a string band that plays traditional Bluegrass versions of Classic Rock favorites from bands such as the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, The Eagles, Rolling Stones and more.

These songs, combined with classic Bluegrass and Country tunes, consistently have audiences singing and dancing along the whole show.

The band is made up of an all-star cast of veteran bluegrass players including Aaron Redner (Hot Butter Rum), David Thom (David Grisman), Isaac Cantor (Dusty Green Bones Band), Ben Jacobs (Poor Man’s Whiskey, Achilles Wheel), and a rotating cast of bass players that include Bryan Horne (Hot Buttered Rum), Aspen Stevenson (Poor Man’s Whiskey), Pam Brandon (Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys), and Russel Simon (Rusty Stringfield).

The Grateful Bluegrass Band came to life when David joined forces with fellow Sonoma resident Redner, and they decided to combine their two musical passions: bluegrass and The Grateful Dead.

New Music Monday – Stars Turn Me On

New Music Monday is all about sharing the good tunes of new bands that we love and/or coming to the Foundry soon! First up is Stars Turn Me On, who will open for Zepparella this Friday, February 12 at the Foundry.

Stars Turn Me On is an indie rock band formed by Clementine, drummer of Zeppelin powerhouse Zepparella, and guitarist Justin Caucutt.  Stars performs as both a full rock band, and as an acoustic duo. The songs are lyrically rich and musically draw on classic influences from rock, country and blues genres, as well as modern electronica and R&B. Clementine fronts the band as singer, and often plays the drum parts on the recordings, or creates the beats electronically.

On stage, she has been compared to Alison Mosshart of the Kills and Jim Morrison, an early love. Performing an acoustic duo, the storytelling of the songs pops out and carries the audience away. Performing with a full band, Clementine’s frontperson persona is completely arresting. Bassist and lap steel player Judah Collins has become an integral part of the project.

Miners Foundry Cultural Center Awarded California Arts Council Grant

Scene3-pic-DawsonWallace-featThe Miners Foundry Cultural Center is pleased to announce they have been awarded a $9,240 grant by the California Arts Council (CAC), which will be used to support the production of the first-ever festival of professional dance in Western Nevada County. With the CAC Local Impact grant funds, and the support of the community, the Miners Foundry will bring two professional dance companies; the exciting contemporary San Francisco ballet company, Dawson Dance SF, and the internationally renowned Afro-Cuban dancer, Kimberly Miguel Mullen, for a week-long residency in Nevada City, November 14 – 19, 2015.

“The mission of the Miners Foundry is to preserve, enhance and utilize the historic Miners Foundry for cultural, educational and social activities in our community,” stated Gretchen Bond, Miners Foundry Executive Director. “With the support of the community, we have been working for a number of years to enhance the Osborn/Woods Hall to better support a diverse selection of performing arts programs,” she continued. “With the completion of the installation of the professional dance floor in the winter of 2013, we are now able to welcome professional dance companies to perform, and to develop ongoing professional dance residency programs to our community. We are very grateful for the award of the CAC grant funds which will enable us launch this new long-term program.”

urban1The California Arts Council Local impact grants are awarded to smaller arts organizations for the purpose of providing project support and fostering equity, access and opportunity to arts programs in smaller communities. “Although our area hosts a range of professional- level arts experiences, never in the history of Western Nevada County has there been a dance festival” stated Karen Attix, Miners Foundry dance consultant and choreographer. “This is not for lack of interest,” she continued. “We have a large community of dancers, dance educators, choreographers and dance students here, including six dance studios, two high school dance programs, all pursuing a wide range of dance forms”.

Dawson Dance SF has steadily delivered risk-taking, muscularly elegant performances since its establishment. It breaks down the barriers placed on classical ballet, and brings to light the strength and beauty that artists possess within themselves, allowing them to explore their voices through choreography and vision. Kimberly Miguel Mullen is an acclaimed choreographer and dance ethnologist. The Los Angles Times has described her movement as “spectacularly supple,” a well-crafted mixture of Silvestre contemporary dance and traditional techniques from the African diaspora. She has performed in the USA, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and Hong Kong.

OWHallKatAlvesAll dance activities will take place at the Miners Foundry and at the dance studio at Nevada Union High School.   The Foundry will also be partnering with local dance studios; Holt Ballet Conservatory, KSK Dance Collective and the Nevada Union Theatrical Dance Department, in the promotion of the festival, and support of the week-long events including the Opening Night Gala Reception.

Event Activities include the following:

  • A Gala Reception at the Miners Foundry on November 17th
  • Two dance master-classes (November 14 & November 18)
  • Three technical and dress rehearsals (November 15, 16 & 19)
  • Two professional dance performances by the visiting companies (November 17 & 19)

For further information about this event, please visit our website: www.theminersfoundry.org

 

 

Artisans Festival 2014 – Meet the Maker, Seth Simpson

3-300Meet Seth Simpson.  Simpson 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.

Simpson’s hand thrown porcelain and stoneware forms are the result of calculated decisions of process; the unpredictability of fire, and the influence of place upon my work. his aesthetic stretches across the pacific to Japan and Hawaii and from his home in the Pacific Northwest to the deserts of the southwest. His work has elements of Asian calligraphy and manmade mark making, but more than anything Simpson tries to rely on the beauty of nature to inspire him.

What was the art background of your childhood?

I was not raised by artists, but art was always something big in my family. My grandma and great grandma were artists and my and parents created art for fun; My ancestors were sculpture artists in old Havana, Cuba. So, my childhood included a tradition of art and a sense of joy from creative outlets.

When did you recognize a special talent or interest in art? Was it a moment or a process? Can you remember a specific setting?

I was raised rurally so there were not so many other kids around. I spent a lot of time alone in nature and was inspired to create there. As for a moment, in grade school I found he was good at stuff like illustration. I remember the positive feedback felt good.

It has been a process. I started with 2D and 3D him early on, but worked for potter in high school which helped change my focus.

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 very encouraging and supportive.   They figured, “if it can be done, I can do it.”

Who or what were your early creative inspirations?

My family, history of successful, talented artists. Where I live in Northern California. Nature. The outdoors. Sense of place. How colors change during seasons. Light on flora and fauna. The effect that light and form has emotionally.

Which artists are you following currently?

Abstract expressionism how color is used to express emotion and pass it on to the viewer. Asian and Japanese art. Contemporary shapes that blend ancient and modern influences. Function is a huge aspect. I like art that is a good tool for everyday life.  Peter Volkus.

What, besides the obvious, do you like about selling your art?

I love the interaction with the people who purchase my art. I work in the studio alone a lot and it’s nice to meet the public. Gives a sense of place and motivations me to keep doing what I’m doing.

What do you think is the role of art in a society?

Art has lots of different roles. My art is to enrich people’s daily life with something small like a favorite mug. Art brings a sense of place, familiarity, joy, beauty to the everydayness of life.

What have been the biggest sacrifices you’ve made for your art?

The predicatble living that comes from a steady 9-5 lifestyle. I live with the unknown and unpredictable. Time wise, I work long hours and sacrifice time with family and friends. I am doing what I love, but it takes some other things I love away from myself and others.

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Artisans Festival 2014 – Meet the Maker, Liz Collins

2-300Meet Liz Collins.  Collins 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.

Despite compelling argument that she should become an architect, Collins graduated from The University of Colorado with a Bachelors of Fine Art and a lot of “tsssk tsssk’s” from the sidelines. Noting her artwork’s odd perspective with walls and windows out of plumb the consensus was that it was just as well she didn’t follow their advice. It is exactly this off-kilter look that has become the signature style of her work.

Collins began by doing serigraphs (silkscreen prints), quickly moving into oil pastels, and then onto mixed media, always retaining a certain whimsy to her work. Evident in every medium is her familiar infusion of life and movement in all things. Breaking up the usual planes of color with maps, sheet music and poetry keeps her work dynamic, never stale or static.

More recently her fascination with maps and travel has added another dimension to her work. “Travelling the world I have realized how I love to watch people in their every-day activities, whether it be selling chai on the bustling street corner, or riding a bicycle through inconceivable traffic. I love to watch their limbs, their movement, the subtle ways they hold themselves, their feet, their hands. Using maps, or poetry or music, to me, adds an element of surprise as well as a sense of place.”

What was the art background of your childhood home?

My parents didn’t talk a lot about art though they did take us to museums in NYC. They had one artist whose original art was in our home. My mom would also buy original art in galleries when we’d go to the Jersey shore.

I remember the romance of finding a set of hard pastels in a wooden box in my Gmas attic.

When did you recognize a special talent or interest in art? Was it a moment or a process? Can you remember a specific setting?

I remember it as a moment in the 4th grade. I had always liked to draw, but Laney Crawford in 4th grade was really good and could draw anything and she showed me how to “draw what you see.” It was like a Zen moment of realization. Suddenly, I realized I could draw anything. I’ve always loved art; the smell, the look, being alone, the doing of it.

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 wanted me to be an architect because that was the practical thing. They appreciated my talent, but didn’t think I could make a living at it. Then, in my last year of high school, my lifelong friend, Emmy, said “of course you’re going to major in art.” And, that was that. They got used to the idea.

Who or what were your early creative inspirations?

Laney Crawford in 4th grade. My friend and co-worker, Ann, in Boulder, CO when I was a young sign painter. She started actually selling silk screen art. I thought, if she can do it, I can do it so I did.

Artistically, Thomas McKnight who was a silk screener. I saw his stuff in NYC gallery and loved it. He painted interiors looking out into the moon and night sky. They were happy and bright. Also, Thomas Hart Benton of the 1930s. He painted rolling landscapes and motion.

Which artists are you following currently?

Nobody, really. Maybe modern artists. Contemporary paintings. I am inspired by the new look of contemporary, modern art.

What, besides the obvious, do you like about selling your art?

I love talking to people about my art. I like hearing what people see in my work. It’s interesting what it brings out in people.

What do you think is the role of art in a society?

Art has the capability to make people happy. It brings out good feelings. It brings out deep feelings in people. It has the ability to revives them and add passion to their lives.

What is the funkiest job you’ve taken to support your art?

I am lucky enough to have always made my living as an artist.

Anything particularly interesting or striking about your story that you’d like to share?

My current work celebrates my life and my life as a traveler. The maps, the nostalgia they hold for the days of map travel, bring depth and a shared appreciation of how the world is changing. Maps evoke both adventure and safety because they indicate you are on an unknown road and actually tell you where to go.

I honor and appreciate map makers and the beauty they put to their task.

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Artisans Festival 2014 – Meet the Maker, Shawn Ray Harris

2-300Meet San Francisco based photographer Shawn Ray Harris.  Harris’ development as an artist has been of two paths: the first path, exploring the medium itself by making three-dimensional photography while working in manufacturing; and, the second path, using photography traditionally, exploring his personal interests, often with a sense of humor. He recalls an art teacher saying, “Have a job and make art on the side. Eventually, depending on your commitment, one will win out and you will find yourself doing what you were meant to do.” This holds true. Six years ago, Harris began making art full time. His art also had two separate paths that became one: he focuses on making work that is deeply personal and that also pushes the boundaries of photography.

Harris thinks of the camera/photography as a tool, as an in-depth sketch book that captures ideas. He uses a camera, sometimes in a traditional sense, most of the time in tandem with a computer and editing software. Cameras, film, software and technologies will change. He enjoys working through how to best use available tools to capture, record, and translate his imagination. That’s what’s important to him. “Along the way, if I enable myself and a few others to laugh…then I feel I am doing what I was meant to do,”

Harris 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 did landscape oil painting on the side, but put it away early on. My mom always doing crafts for sale. Their interests gave me the ability to do my own thing because there were always supplies to tinker with. They definitely put value put on creating things.

When did you recognize a special talent or interest in art? Was it a moment or a process? Can you remember a specific setting?

My interest and talent were always there as long as I remember. I wasn’t interested in other subjects like math. Art always held my interest. It gave me direction. My teachers in mid school and high school saw my talent and interest. They were good at inspiring me to keep doing art as a valuable and pursuable field.

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?

I wasn’t a moment. I went to art school because it became the obvious choice. My parents always supported doing that which you love to do. They, probably like other parents, were a bit concerned about me making a living at it, but realized it’s important to do what you love in life.

Who or what were your early creative inspirations?

I saw other students at school who were really good and that was motivating. I wanted that, too. I specifically remember noticing good imagery, Annie Leibowitz especially. She blew my mind with her intelligence, creativity and playfulness. Jerry Ueslmann, who was a traditional dark room photographer. He did some super surreal work and I was amazed he could do that with photography.

Which artists are you following currently?

No one especially. Just my muse. Street artists if anything catches my interest. I have a total respect for spray can art. I am inspired by their ability, the design, the place, the temporary nature with danger in the background. The way they do it makes art available to everyone, not just art people. They put it right in our backyard.

What, besides the obvious, do you like about selling your art?

I like the gauge on how it’s being received. The instant feedback. Being acceptable and being affirmed encourages me to move in further and keep going. The fact that I can make art that is interesting to me and can be sold is pretty fantastic.

What do you think is the role of art in a society?

I hope the role of the artist is to point out and/or comment on society at large. I think I’m still working on my art as a comment on something larger than dressing up in masks and taking pictures of myself. Art is so much more enjoyable, approachable, deeper, broader and bigger than just something for sale.

What have been the biggest sacrifices you’ve made for your art?

I’d say sometimes I am too focused and keep on track at the expense of people around him.

What is the funkiest job you’ve taken to support your art?

One eclectic urban patron of mine had me gold leaf a gorilla skeleton. That was weird. I Pop Arted it.

Anything particularly interesting or striking about your story that you’d like to share?

I am also an oil painter and mixed media artist. I see myself as just an average Joe plugging away.1-3004-300

Artisans Festival 2014 – Meet the Maker, Kelly Bechtold

3-350Meet Kelly Bechtold owner and designer of Girl on a Motorcycle.  The lovechild of glamour and grit, Girl on a Motorcycle is a California conceived, Colorado born luxe leather accessories label. Founded in 2007 by Bechtold, the brand has become known for unique handmade “must have” allure. The inspired design & painstaking construction of pieces utilizes the highest quality leather hides, and distinctive riveted hardware. Girl on a Motorcycle style is a blend of 1960’s innocence and 1970’s Rock n’ Roll decadence. Incorporating timeless style with strength and durability, this line has a lasting quality almost unrecognizable in today’s disposable culture.  Bechtold believes in things that last. My bags and accessories are timelessly designed, made by hand and build to endure. No machines, no factories-just Bechtold, a workbench, some hand tools and a good record playing on the turntable. Her materials are sourced of the finest produces American deer, buffalo and cattle hides and feature high quality fixtures and adornments.

Bechtold 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?

I was raised off the grid in a Colorado mountain canyon by a hippie mom who encouraged me to see the design in everything. She valued taking time for dreaming and hearing the call of my creative soul. She left me with an appreciation of nature’s design and repetitive patterns.

When did you recognize a special talent or interest in art? Was it a moment or a process? Can you remember a specific setting?

In my early 20s I worked in a vintage clothing store and was obsessed with making our displays beautiful. After that, I worked as a wardrobe stylist and found I had a knack for set design. I am obsessed with the special arrangement of beauty.

I was surrounded by people who were “fine artists” and didn’t see myself in their league so I kept it quiet. Also, I just never found the fashion industry inspiring or interesting. It had too many rules.

Then, 7 years ago I started making leather bags and found a love for taking a big hide and having the muse bring out the beauty in it. I was only mediocre at first, but persevered until one day I made something “cool!” I felt connected to the divine inspiration and started creating a collection. My family and friends liked them and gave me a lot of encouragement. Now, I consider myself a designer and I love my bags. Each has a personality and is looking for just the right owner.

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 mom always kind of knew I was going to do something artistic and so she wasn’t surprised. She raised me to be independent and a little bit different. Now, she is over the moon proud and couldn’t be happier that my work arises in me from a deep place and is nature based.

Who or what were your early creative inspirations?

My supportive family and teachers I’ve had along the way. And, NATURE absolutely.

Which artists are you following currently?

My musician friends bring life and joy. Rhiannon the bead maker. Her design and color choices bring out the goddess in women who wear her jewelry.

I share fascination with woodworkers who see form in raw materials.

Louise Nedelson. Georgia O’Keefe. Rustic artisans. Those who see what can come from the inside and shine through from its life force. Paco Rabin. “I traded my needle and thread for pliers and a blow torch.”

What, besides the obvious, do you like about selling your art?

I like that I’ve gone from making purses to really creating art forms. I like the direct human interaction and the joy that I see when someone gets something fine for themselves. I like making bags that are “different, unique and get better with time” just like women. I like that my artform gives comfort and beauty that can leave the house with you.

What do you think is the role of art in a society?

To inspire the dreamer in each person and show that there are languages each of us speak and all of them matter. Art allows us to hear the voice of love and that the universe give to us all. Artisans put that love into form and give it away to everyone. Art connects us to other dimensions of the human experience.

What have been the biggest sacrifices you’ve made for your art?

Stability and peace of mind about the future. Being willing to live the roller coaster of success. Wear and tear on my body.

Anything particularly interesting or striking about your story that you’d like to share?

I am self-taught. Everything that comes out of me comes from somewhere unique to me. I’ve never taken classes; no one has taken time to teach me. My art comes out of my experiences and my inner vision.

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Artisans Festival 2014 – Meet the Maker, David Wong

2-300Meet photographer David Wong.  Wong began showing his work only eight short years ago after a prior lifetime career in film production. He was inspired by his teacher, Ted Orland, one of Ansel Adams assistants, who felt he had a unique eye for light, subject and composition. In his work, Wong looks for a unique sense of art and story as created by the subject, light, composition, movement, and other “of the moment” factors. Wong’s soft spoken manner is evident in his photos, each of which offers a calm, peaceful reflection of nature’s beauty.

Wong 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?

I was a photographer from the age of 15. I did darkroom work and experimented a bit but it wasn’t until later in my life that I “woke-up” to art and photography. I made a switch from engineering and business mentality to an art orientation.

When did you recognize a special talent or interest in art? Was it a moment or a process? Can you remember a specific setting?

I had taken a photography class from Ted Orland, who was one of Ansel Adams assistants. I did a photograph of a lighthouse at night for the class and I found out later that he was showing the photograph to his classes. It gave me inspiration and encouragement that maybe I could do this. Shortly after, I entered a number of photographs in a show and was successful in selling many of them. I never looked back.

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 gone by the time I became an artist.

Who or what were your early creative inspirations?

Edward Hopper, Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Georgia O’Keeffe, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh

Which artists are you following currently?

Charles Cramer, Annie Leibovitz, Art Wolfe

What, besides the obvious, do you like about selling your art?

I enjoy relating my love of art to the people who enjoy my vision. I very much like teaching photography and getting others to excel in their development of photography and the arts.

What do you think is the role of art in a society?

Art brings great enjoyment and appreciation to life. It expands ways of thinking and creativity in how we tackle our individual lives. I believe that people who learn to appreciate art in their lives tend to be less self-focused.

What have been the biggest sacrifices you’ve made for your art?

I don’t feel that I’ve had to make big sacrifices for my art, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I have gained much by being an artist.

What is the funkiest job you’ve taken to support your art?

I pretty much enjoy all my work.

Anything particularly interesting or striking about your story that you’d like to share?

I didn’t come to art until I was almost 60. I think self-doubt and thinking that you can’t do art is too big an obstacle for many. I never thought I had an artistic bone in my body. I used to hate going to museums and galleries! Now, I am biggest student. Never too late to learn.

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