white basket trio birch bark woven lisa kostelak

Basket Making — Lisa Kostelak Perfects an Ancient Art

baskets rattan organic cedar rushes woven lisa kostelak

Surrounded by grasses and trees, a series of hand-woven baskets by Colville, WA, artist Lisa Kostelak, celebrates the natural world.

Once upon a time, and not that long ago, there was no plastic. For thousands of years of human history, if people wanted to carry something around, from babies to drinking water, they wove a basket. It took, and takes, skill, patience, and an eye for artistry to create a useful basket.

“I have been making baskets for 35 years,” says Lisa Kostelak of Colville, WA.

“I made my first basket in a craft store in a mall in Florida, when I was in just the right place at the right time.

“Though I had been interested in learning for a long time, it was hard to know where to start in the old, pre-Internet days.”

dandelion birch bark rattan woven basket artisan lisa kostelak

It’s about two-inches high. This little basket is woven from dandelion stems, birch bark, and rattan. By Colville, WA, artisan Lisa Kostelak

Today’s technology worship aside, one of the best ways to learn a craft that employs our hands, hearts, and brain is from an actual person who learned how to do it from another actual person. And it is for this reason that Kostelak, who taught herself painstakingly through books and a tremendous amount of trial and error, passes on what she knows through teaching small, personal classes. Basket Making 101, contrary to what we’ve been told all these years, is not an easy A.

Basket Making 101 Is Not an Easy Class

“I learned to weave using rattan, which is a readily available material from Southeast Asia. It is lovely to work with, and I still use it to make many baskets.

“Over the years I have expanded, using material that I forage locally, including cedar bark, tules or rushes, birch bark, bear grass, red osier, even dandelion stems. I am always on the lookout for stuff to weave with.”

white basket trio birch bark woven lisa kostelak

They’re graceful, elegant, yet connected to the earth. The bark-based handles of this trio of baskets adds the perfect finishing touch. By Colville basket weaver Lisa Kostelak.

So it’s not just a matter of unpacking a cardboard box of materials and following a sheet of directions. For Kostelak, basket making involves a solid knowledge of plants and their environment, as well what to harvest, when and how, and what to do with it afterwards to prepare it for weaving. (Show of hands here: who in the room has even heard of “red osier” or “tules,” much less knows how to identify and gather them?)

“I forage anywhere — my backyard, where I’ve planted willow, juncus, red osier, to weave with. I also use my fruit tree pruning, among other garden plants.

“My tules, or rushes, I get from a friend’s pond. We have a nice visit, then cut rushes and load them into my van.”

Sustainable Thinking

For cedar, she gets permission from a private landowner to select a tree that is damaged and will need to be taken down. Once it is cut, she strips off the outer bark, then peels the inner bark or cambium layer, which she coils up and cures for a year before soaking and cutting it into strips for weaving. On hikes through the Colville National Forest, she looks for bear grass, birch bark from dead trees, scouring rush, and whatever else catches her eye.

white basket woven handle lisa kostelak artisan

The basket itself has something to say about its final shape and form. By Lisa Kostelak, artisan weaver from Colville, WA.

“I always ask before harvesting live material,” Kostelak says, because an essential part of making baskets — by real, regular people throughout history — has been working with the environment, not against it. In today’s arena of industrial, profit-driven, multi-billion, even -trillion, dollar corporations, this respect for, and awareness of, sustainability is becoming as lost as the knowledge of making baskets.

“I love working in 3D, with shapes, textures, and colors, making something that is functional and beautiful,” Kostelak says. Her studio, she adds, was formerly known as the family room. With the kids grown and flown, she has commandeered the entire space, with foraged materials stashed everywhere.

“I love spending time there, with the music turned up as loud as it goes, just getting into the rhythm of the weave.”

Baskets Are Timeless Technology

Kostelak sells her work through area shops and regional craft shows, and her wares have found homes from Seattle to San Francisco, from New York to Florida, from Nova Scotia to New Zealand. There is no end to creative inspiration, she says, because the materials themselves are dynamic, redolent of life, tactile, and almost demanding to be touched, handled, interlinked and intertwined.

“I get new ideas while I work. Sometimes I get an idea from the colors or textures of material stored together. Sometimes I dream a basket, and write it down when I wake up.”

The skill, and the baskets, transcend time, and there is a rush (no pun intended) to creating something that artisans have been making for far, far longer than industry has churned out plastic bags and petro-chemical products. There’s a human touch that endures from one age to the next.

This is good to remember the next time we overhear someone scoffing that a class is as easy as Basket Making 101. We can be free to retort,

“Have you ever actually woven a basket? It’s not as easy as you think.”

Wenaha GalleryLisa Kostelak is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from April 20 through May 17, 2021.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

water dance swan bird painting impressionist relaxed not uptight

Not Uptight but Relaxed — Impressionist Paintings by Carol Betker

water dance swan bird painting impressionist relaxed not uptight

The Water Dance, original oil painting by Carol Betker. Relaxed and calm — you can’t get more opposite from uptight than that.

When you jump out of an airplane with a parachute, you have a pretty good idea of where you’ll end up: on Earth. It’s the process of getting there that you can’t predict. Unnerving? Yes, but that’s also part of the adventure.

For artist Carol Betker, starting each painting is akin to jumping from the plane: she knows what she wants the finished painting to look like, but the process of getting there is flexible, dynamic, even mercurial, more so because she paints Alla Prima, a method by which the artist applies wet paint on wet paint.

blue springs horse equine water wading impressionist painting carol betker

It’s a relaxed splash and plash through the water in Blue Springs, original oil painting by Kennewick artist, Carol Betker

“It’s a method that allows fresh brushwork,” the Kennewick oil painter says.

“I often feel in the beginning of all the creative messiness like I’m sky diving. I know I’ll land eventually, but I have to learn to enjoy the process and not get uptight.”

On Her Feet and Behind the Easel

Betker describes her style as loose, impressionistic, expressive, so she can’t be uptight when she’s behind the easel.  Her background as a public school art teacher (she retired in 2010) means that she has worked in, and taught, many mediums: from pottery to printmaking, and in the painting realm — watercolor, acrylic, oil, charcoal, pencil, and more. For years she worked in acrylic, with which she describes having a love/hate relationship.

“Acrylics are easy to clean, odor free, and dry quickly.

“On the other hand, drying quickly can inhibit the blending of edges which I like in my work. So I’ve been leaning toward oils in the last five years. I am intrigued with how oils blend in the wet on wet technique.”

landscape not uptight relaxed breathe peaceful impressionist painting carol betker

Who could feel uptight in a landscape so calm, so peaceful? Breathe, original oil painting by Carol Betker.

Working out of her dining room studio, where she paints pretty much every day, Betker explores subject matter from florals to landscapes, from pet portraits to the human face. If she doesn’t have another painting planned when she finishes her latest project, she doesn’t worry — or get uptight — but rather, relaxes into free fall.

“I think every successful person knows that, if you just show up, that’s half the battle.

“Showing up at the easel — not waiting to be inspired, but simply showing up every day — well, you will BE inspired as you begin.”

Remember the Camera

Exhibiting her work in multiple venues around the Tri-Cities and Prosser, Betker has garnered collectors in Washington and Oregon, as well as Missouri, Virginia, South Carolina, and Canada. She names Richard Schmid, Jessica Zemsky, and Dreama Tolle Perry as artists whose work and technique inspire her. She also credits her education at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA, where she received her B.A. in Art Education.

With a husband who loves photography, and with her own trusty Canon Rebel camera nearby when not in hand, Betker says that she reaps the benefit of having more images than she could possibly paint. Her main problem is remembering to bring the camera.

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It’s a place for a quiet and gentle stroll. Color My World, original oil painting by impressionist painter, Carol Betker.

“I can’t tell you how many shots I’ve missed by leaving it behind.

“Judging from sales, though, even using a shot taken at 60 miles per hour through a windshield is usable as inspiration. I love a challenge!”

The image she photographed from the moving car, she explained, was “a spectacular Dogwood tree in full bloom with a little picket white fence, and parts of a white house peeking through. My husband was driving, and for some reason he doesn’t like to stop every time I see a great shot. But it did turn out, as the painting I created from the photo sold very quickly.”

Relaxed, Not Uptight

Betker looks for a feeling in her reference image: the turn of a head, glance of the eyes, a ray of light dancing across the surface of the landscape. When she isn’t in a moving car, she finds inspiration closer by, at a more leisurely pace:

“I enjoy the endearing expressions of my tortie calico cat, Missy, as I maneuver around, camera in her face.”

Seize the moment. Land on your feet. Make sure the parachute is packed. Let go of being uptight. Don’t forget the camera. And show up every day.

Along with art, Betker taught these life lessons to her students at Finley and Burbank schools during her teaching career, and the reason she could do so is because she lives by them herself. Painting art and living life both take imagination, creativity, a willingness to work, and an appreciation of joy. The result is well worth the act of jumping out of the plane.

“I’m in a good spot in my art where more times than not I am finding satisfaction in my work,” Betker says.

“I’m not going for perfection but rather for being authentic — capturing the Creator’s little treasures that come into my view.”

Wenaha GalleryCarol Betker is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from February 9 through March 8, 2021.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

Collectible car 1934 duesenberg model automobile nostalgic

Collectible Cars — All Wheels Art Event

collectible cars show automobile vehicles all wheels weekend

Sharing space with paintings and sculpture, the collectible cars of the All Wheels Art Event creative a festival air at the gallery.

It’s amazing how much you can do when you’re persistent.

Take amassing a collection, for example, whether that collection is stamps, or art, or tea cups, or, in this case, collectible cars. At first you start with one or two, develop an interest, start looking around for more, and pick up a new piece the next time you’re where they’re sold. When you do this regularly through the years, you eventually find yourself with a collection well worth seeing, enjoying, and sharing.

Collectible car 1934 duesenberg model automobile nostalgic

Most people couldn’t afford the full-size version of this collectible car — but it’s very much reachable as a collectible.

So it was for Ed Harri, the late co-owner of Wenaha Gallery. In addition to a lifelong passion for art, one that led to his opening and running, along with his wife, the gallery in downtown Dayton, WA, Harri was fascinated by collectible cars. Like many people with this fascination, he started by looking for the cars of his youth — the very first car owned, the most memorable car, the first new car, the favorite car. From there, he expanded his horizons, and over a period spanning more than 40 years, developed a collection that includes everything from a 1928 Mercedes Benz to a 1990 Lamborghini Diablo. There are Mustangs, Corvettes, Pontiacs, and Cadillacs. Convertibles, family sedans, coupes, James Bond vehicles, and delivery trucks. Cool cars and nostalgic ones. Foreign and domestic. Red, blue, black, white, metallic green. Hundreds of cars.

“Ed took great joy in creating his car collection,” Pat says. “And now, I take great joy in sharing that collection with people, through showcasing it at Wenaha Gallery.

All Wheels Weekend with Collectible Cars

“It is fitting to do so in June, around Father’s Day, when Dayton traditionally holds its All Wheels Weekend Event. While, sadly, the town will not be holding that event this year, we’ve created a mini-car show in the gallery. We laid it out in such a way that visitors walk the aisles as if they were on Main Street.”

Gallery associate Savonnah Henderson, who has spent the last two months inventorying the collection, is impressed by the depth and scope of Harri’s selections.

collectible cars automobile all wheels weekend show

Hoods up. Seeing the detail is part of an All Wheels Weekend show, whether the cars are full sized or collectible.

“He chose collectible cars with the same discerning eye he used for purchasing art,” she says.

As a celebration of Ed’s interest in cars, Pat is making the collection available to both online collectors and people who visit the gallery. Henderson says that the gallery has sold many cars already to buyers on e-Bay, as well as to gallery visitors who, like Ed, discover treasures from their past and present.

Stories behind the Cars

“I love to hear the stories that people tell when they find just the right car,” Henderson says. “It brings about a special memory of a certain time in their lives. Often, a particular car was part of that memory.”

After arranging a selection of the collection throughout the gallery, Henderson says she loves to walk the aisles and admire.

“It really is like a mini All Wheels Weekend, just without people sitting in the lawn chairs,” she says. “These collectible cars are their own form of art. They represent creativity of design and engineering.”

Wenaha GalleryThe All Wheels Art Event is featured at Wenaha Gallery from June 15 through July 11, 2020.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

Morning joy bird bible promises Psalms Shawna Wright

Bible Promises and Song Birds — Watercolor by Shawna Wright

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Never Forgotten, inspirational watercolor painting featuring Bible promises from Isaiah 49:15, by Shawna Wright

The Comfort of Bible Promises

When someone we know is hurt and needing, we so often want to help, but just as often do not know how. What gesture can we make, what action can we take, to bring comfort?

Morning joy bird bible promises Psalms Shawna Wright

Joy Comes in the Morning, inspirational watercolor painting by Milton-Freewater, OR, artist Shawna Wright

The answer that watercolor painter Shawna Wright found for this question not only made a difference for the person she was trying to help, but launched her on an unexpected life journey. After earnest prayers to God that He would show her a ministry, something to do for Him, she found herself creating paintings of birds incorporating hand-written promises from the Bible.

And those paintings are resonating with people.

But first, let’s go back to the beginning:

It Started with Stick Men

“In January 2015, my father was in excruciating pain from a severe injury,” the Milton-Freewater, OR, artist remembers.

“Dad was over 2,500 miles away, and my heart ached, wanting to help him. I was inspired to make him a journal of Bible promises and hymns. It wasn’t beautiful — in fact, it was rather rough as my art ability at that time stopped at stick men — but it was from my heart.”

Every morning for two years Wright emailed her father a scanned copy from her journal. Every day, the pages became more detailed and colorful as, bit by bit, Wright began experimenting with her images. On her father’s birthday, inspired by the desire to do something distinctive, she created her first bird painting.

Possible with God bird watercolor Luke Shawna Wright

It’s Possible with God, original inspirational watercolor painting by Shawna Wright

“Both Dad and I knew that something special had happened,” Wright says.

Within two months, she was sharing her work on Facebook, had launched a website, and published her first set of inspirational calendars.

Birds and Bible Promises

Crediting God for her artistic advancements (“Little did I know that He had enrolled me in His own art class”), Wright has published her sixth yearly calendar, as well as numerous prints, cards, and recently, two prayer journals for mothers featuring 100 of her works. She writes a weekly blog of short stories and thoughts on the topic of Bible promises, pairing each article with one of her paintings. She has created numerous commissioned paintings for people who want a customized work in memory of a loved one. And she finds herself invited to share her story at local events, on podcasts, and in televised interviews.

“Bible promises have been a key part of my life, one that has given me comfort, hope, and happiness.

“My goal is to encourage the discouraged, bring hope to the helpless, and comfort to the grieving.”

A Memorable Commission

One of her most memorable commissions involved a woman who sewed blankets for children who have cancer. The client wanted Wright to design a tag to accompany the blankets.

strong courageous joshua bible promises bird hand shawna wright

Be Strong and Courageous, art tags commissioned for pediatric brain cancer awareness by Shawna Wright

“I felt a tender spot in my heart for the families of these children, and agreed to do it free of charge,” Wright says.

“Not long before I took on this project, an eight-year-old girl, Julianna Sayler from Walla Walla, lost her fight with brain cancer. Julianna’s favorite Bible verse had been Joshua 1:9.” (Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.)

Wright drew a golden bird and hand, symbolizing both pediatric cancer awareness and the concept of Jesus holding people in the palm of his hand.

“It is titled, ‘Jesus has me,’ quoting Julianna’s words right until the end.”

Wright gave the original painting to Julianna’s parents. All proceeds from the hundreds of mini-cards, tags and prints that have been sold of this image are donated to the Julianna Sayler Foundation, which helps families of children with cancer.

Each Calendar Has a Feeling of Its Own

With the exception of some commissions, all of Wright’s work features birds with Bible promises. Designed around a theme — courage, faithfulness, assurance, etc. — the calendars are the driver of each year’s art. One year the images were rustic and country, another focused on bold colors and bright flowers.

“I like to mix it up so that each calendar has a feel of its own.

“A theme and harmony is important to me; it’s the glue that holds what I do together.”

She’s come a long way from stick men and scanned journal pages. And she knows, as with any journey, there are many paths ahead, many twists and bends and switchbacks. But she takes seriously the Bible promises she incorporates into her artwork, and she knows that her Art Teacher is serious about working with her.

“I have never taken classes, watched YouTube, or read books. I’ve kept my story true — ‘God Taught.’ It’s what gives my work a unique style.”

Wenaha GalleryShawna Wright is the featured  Art Event from Monday, March 9 through Saturday, April 4 at Wenaha Gallery.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

candy nuts toffee chocolate mama monacelli gift basket

Candy Is Dandy — Artisan Sweets by Mama Monacelli

candy nuts toffee chocolate mama monacelli gift basket

From sweet candy treats to savory nut snacks, Mama Monacelli says, “Eat caro, cara, eat!”

It’s no secret that most people don’t like to see photos of themselves. (Especially candid ones!)

But most people do not have the unique situation that Nancy Monacelli has. The Walla Walla candy maker, who creates artisan toffees, brittles, chocolates, and snacks, needed an image for her packaging logo, and, in her own words,

english toffee candy chocolate mama monacelli

The English Toffee candy that started the flunking of Mama Monacelli’s retirement.

“I couldn’t abide the thought of looking at my own face all day.”

So, she and her graphic designer put their heads together, and went looking for a suitable face.

“I told him I wanted an older, Italian-looking, ‘How you gonna get a wife; you’re so skinny,’ kind of woman,” Monacelli recalls.

“He found a public domain image and said he thought he had just the thing if I didn’t mind being associated with a perfect stranger. I told him, if she was perfect, what more could I want?”

It Started out as Christmas Candy

So Nancy, as she is packaging up her many handcrafted treats for sale, does not have to face her face. And she can focus on what she really gets excited about: making candy using recipes that she has developed over decades.

“Basically, my business started as ‘the Christmas candy,” Monacelli explains.

“For years, I made baskets for family, friends, and co-workers, as well as to take to gatherings to donate to events. My kids told me for decades that I should ‘sell this stuff,’ so I finally listened to them.”

chocolate candy bark flavored sweet snack mama monacelli

Nine flavors and counting: Mama Monacelli works on new candy innovations in the winter

At the time, Monacelli was winding down a 30-plus-year career in general manufacturing, manufacturing software, and consulting, and she thought that candy making would be a pleasant diversion for her upcoming retirement. In 2017, less than four months after she made this decision, she was not only licensed and running, but well beyond the dabbling or hobby stage. She found herself with a business that was taking on a life — and a very robust and growing one — of its own.

“Basically,” Monacelli wryly observes, “I flunked retirement.”

Expanding Offerings

Now, Monacelli spends her days at the Blue Mountain Station in Dayton, where she operates a commercial kitchen in back and retail store in front. Fridays and Saturdays from spring through fall, while husband Richard minds the candy shop, Nancy heads to the Walla Walla and Richland Farmers Markets. In the winter, she focuses on new product development. This is an endeavor that not only stretches creativity, but the waistband as well.

bobpop candy snack popcorn mama monacelli

Bob the family dog was instrumental in the naming — and the research and development — of Monacelli’s candy popcorn treat, BobPop

“I generally do new product development in the first quarter of the year, when things are slower, so I tend to gain weight after the holidays, unlike most folks,” Monacelli says.

“There is a fair amount of trial and error, as you might guess, and my family are my guinea pigs. They really like the batches that I declare to be failures!”

Through the years, Monacelli has developed an array of flavors, building upon the signature English toffee candy that led to her initial flunking of retirement. She has added to that Maple toffee, nine flavors of chocolate barks; two brittles; seven “enhanced” almond snacks, and BobPop, a sweet and salty popcorn treat, “with a zing.”

Bob the Dog and Candy Tasting

“For the popcorn snack, I did the R&D in my home kitchen and our dog, Bob, was the preferred guinea pig — he really likes the stuff. So, around the house, we started referring to it as BobPop.

“When I was satisfied with the recipe and ready to go into production, we tried and tried to come up with another name. Failing, we just left it at BobPop, the only product that is named after a pet!”

With each of her candy and snack products, Monacelli is adamant that the ingredients be “real.”

Keeping that in mind, she seeks out the best she can find, locally when she can. There are no artificial flavorings or ingredients.

“The decision to use real, high quality, fresh ingredients is consistent with our approach to food and life,” Monacelli says. “Our chocolates are dairy and soy free; all of our products are gluten free. We are very careful in our sourcing, and sensitive to dietary issues.”

nancy mama monacelli snack maker dayton wa

Look closely, and you can see what Mama Monacelli really looks like

In addition to selling her artisan candies through her retail site and the Farmers Markets, Monacelli offers her products at specialty shops from Chelan to Glacier National Park. She has participated in the Prosser Balloon Festival and Walla Walla Fairgrounds Enchanted Christmas Market, and looks to keep expanding, just . . . not the waistline.

The Woman Behind the Face

So — what does Nancy, Mama Monacelli, really look like? That’s a mystery that is best solved when you meet her in person. But even if she doesn’t look like the woman on the package, she is, most definitely, Mama.

“The name was my daughter’s idea.

“I have five children, four step-children, a foster daughter, countless ‘spares,’ and now their children (12 and counting). So the ‘Mama’ moniker has been well used.”

Maybe, just maybe, Mama didn’t flunk retirement after all.

Wenaha GalleryMama Monacelli’s Candy is the featured  Art Event from January 27 through February 22 at Wenaha Gallery. A large selection of chocolates, toffees, and BobPop, will be at the gallery. Samples will be available.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

cats felines animals box braldt bralds

Give Differently, and Conquer the January Blues

cats felines animals box braldt bralds

When it comes to giving, why box ourselves to a certain way of thinking? Six Pack, art print by Braldt Bralds

After the hustle and bustle and giving of the holidays, January can seem like a bleak month.

The presents are all unwrapped, some already exchanged. New Year’s Resolutions have been dutifully made with subsequent feelings of failure to come. April 15 is closer than it was last month, and the credit card bills will soon arrive.

Yep. It’s bleak.

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Every season, every month, has its moment of beauty and goodness — even January. Sleigh Ride at Apple Creek, fine art edition print by William Phillips

But it doesn’t have to be. The same feelings of joy that stem from giving and that we experienced short weeks ago, don’t have to end because the holiday hype has. And money isn’t a factor: we can give five incredible gifts year round without having to spend a cent. As an added bonus, these gifts don’t even require time. Just effort.

And because gifts are never obligatory, we don’t HAVE to do these five acts of grace. In the spirit of experimentation, however, it’s worth considering giving them a try. So . . . let’s brighten up January (and February, and beyond) by giving five things we can’t tuck inside a box:

Graceful Giving

1) Give the benefit of the doubt. We all know someone who’s chronically late, or never pays their portion of the bill, or makes promises they don’t keep. And they are irritating. But the next time irritating happens, instead of thinking,  “They did it again! I’m so TIRED of them,” we have the option to gently muse, “Hmm. Maybe there’s something going on that I don’t know about. Maybe there are hidden circumstances in their life or their background (of course there are!) that are a factor in why they do this.”

indian stories storyteller listening gift grandpa family morgan weistling

Listening is a skill that is a valuable as speaking. Indian Stories, fine art edition print by Morgan Weistling

Obviously, we don’t want to be walked over (in our society, that’s as bad as looking uncool), but we also don’t want to box people in. It’s always worth remembering that, if we have nine pieces of information out of 10 (and we usually don’t have that many), we’re missing the whole story.

2) Give it a miss. The next time we’re in a conversation, and we think up something incredibly witty that plays upon what someone just said, let’s skip saying it. Just this once, we can opt to not to be funny or amusing or witty. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with being funny or amusing or witty, but — more times than we like to think — humor is at the expense of someone else. It’s not that we’ll never ever ever in our whole life make a joke again. Just this one time.

Listening Is a Gift

3) Give an ear. Genuinely listening to another person is incredibly difficult. We frequently want to add our own thoughts, give advice, or persuade them to our way of thinking. The first element is part of making conversation, the second is worth providing only when asked for, the third can easily be dispensed with. Cultivating the ability to listen is a skill that requires daily practice.

woman giving time beauty thinking search within steve hanks art

Our heart speaks all the time, but if we don’t take time to listen, we won’t hear. To Search Within, fine art edition print by Steve Hanks.

4) Pass it on. (Yes, this is a deliberate decision to not start the sentence with “Give.” Why be predictable all the time?) All of us have items in our home that we have received good use from, but no longer need. It’s tempting to think, “This is in great shape: I could sell it for half the new price and make a little fun money.” Who can’t use a little more fun money? But then again, there are people who could really use the item we no longer need, but don’t have the money — fun or not — to buy it. Try this: ask God (or, if you’re not on speaking terms with Him, the general universe), “Do you know anyone who could use this?” and see what happens.

When We Give, We Receive Beauty

5) Give it a try. We are well trained to put ourselves, and our efforts, down. Our feet are too big, our dreams outlandish, our finances meager, our skills insufficient, our personality the wrong type, to make a difference. Bosh. If you’re used to analyzing your way through everything, ensuring that it is sensible, scientific, reasonable, or profitable enough to work, let your heart speak over your brain now and then and see what it says.

Yes, one small act of kindness makes a difference: one smile, one word of encouragement, one can of soup to the food bank, one biting back a retort, one package of toilet paper to the homeless shelter, one dollar, one letter, one hour, one idea.

The best thing about any one of these five gifts of grace is that, not only do they make a difference in the world around us, the make a change in us ourselves. And that’s a gift worth treasuring.

Wenaha GalleryThe Annual Canned Food Drive is the Art Event through January 31, 2020 at Wenaha Gallery. For every canned food item brought into the gallery through January 31, the giver receives $2 off their next custom framing order, up to 20% off total. All proceeds benefit the Dayton Community Food Bank.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

jewelry necklaces earrings bracelets treasures andrea lyman

Treasures from Treasures — Jewelry by Andrea Lyman

necklaces andrea lyman jewelry vintage

A selection of unique, handcrafted necklaces by Andrea Lyman, featuring found, vintage, and unusual treasures from around the world

She creates treasures from treasures

Anyone who creates with their hands knows how long it takes to make beautiful things. Whether it’s a lace doily, woven basket, knitted scarf, or beaded necklace, handcrafted treasures require a lot of literal, hands-on work.

Jewelry maker Andrea Lyman treasures these treasures. On her global travels, she is on the prowl for what she calls “vintage ephemera” — the beads, antique buttons, and scraps of lace and trim and fabric that are sometimes all that is left of a project made long ago and now residing in a thrift shop. She ferrets out the unusual, the rare, the handmade, to incorporate into one-of-a-kind necklaces, beads, and bracelets.

jewelry necklaces earrings bracelets treasures andrea lyman

Fashioned from found and vintage treasures from all over the world, Andrea Lyman’s jewelry is literally one of a kind.

“I use a lot of vintage materials,” the Moscow, ID, artist says.

“I do this first, because I love them and find them unique and beautiful, appreciating their detail. But I also like the idea of recycling or repurposing things.

“My mother used to crochet, so I know the care and time it takes to make beautiful, handmade things. I love the idea of keeping these things circulating around, bringing joy to others with their beauty and good energy.

“Every piece of lace, every button, every old bead — these treasures delighted someone, were loved by someone, so I want to spread that love around!”

Treasure Hunting around the Globe

As a Director of Waldorf Music Teacher Training, a broad-based educational method developed in the early 20th century by Anthroposophy founder Rudolf Steiner, Lyman travels regularly around the world. And while teaching music in some form has been her career “day job,” fashioning jewelry is also a lifelong passion. The two forms of art, both requiring creativity, skill, and an eye for detail, complement one another, she feels.

“I have been making jewelry most of my adult life,” Lyman says. “At first, it was just for me. Then it turned into gifts for friends, relatives, then small commissions. Eventually, friends convinced me to start selling it at fairs, their small shops, and so on.”

earrings jewelry andrea lyman treasures beads findings

A wide selection of earrings by Andrea Lyman features treasures found from all over the world

Everywhere she has lived, Lyman carves out space for working on her art. Sometimes, this is no more than a corner of the room, but it is a well-used and well treasured corner. Right now, she has a studio in a spare bedroom, with an area dedicated to jewelry making, another to sewing and a third to painting.

“I make jewelry in spurts (when I have time, since I am quite busy), and am always reminded how much I love doing it!”

Lyman has sold her treasure creations throughout the U.S. and Canada and Mexico, as well as Ecuador and Europe. She operates under the business name of Awe and Wonder, which she says encapsulates her views on life and her art.

“It describes my personal world view, and it’s also something I would hope people feel when they see, experience, and wear my jewelry.”

Every Jewelry Piece Is Unique

Lyman especially loves commissioned work. It is an opportunity, she explains, of fashioning a piece or set unique to the person requesting it. During the entire creative process, Lyman focuses on thinking fond thoughts about the client, thoughts she hopes are imbued into the final piece.

bracelet jewelry charm beads andrea lyman

It’s a charm of a bracelet, featuring unique and unusual beads and finds from Andrea Lyman’s world travels

But whether the work she is making is commissioned or not, Lyman allows the materials themselves to speak, adding their voice to the final work, the finished treasure.

“I have all my materials very meticulously organized by color and shape.

“I may be inspired to ‘visit’ the pink and purple department/drawers; then things will catch my attention.

“I consider various aspects and start trying out a few things, and soon, I end up with the perfect combination or style it wants to be.”

No Duplicates

This is where the treasures that make up the finished jewelry truly shine: the vintage, the odd, the unexpected. They are the results of forays into flea markets, second-hand stores, artisan shops, and markets.

“I always have my eyes open to possibilities — even seeds or stones lying on the ground.

“My jewelry is fashioned from a huge variety of materials — found materials, vintage findings, beads and beads, semi-precious stones, felted wool, tassels. I also imprint and enamel brass pendants for my jewelry making — each and every piece is unique.

“I’ve never made two of the exact same thing!”

Wenaha GalleryAndrea Lyman is the Featured Art Event from Monday, December 2, through Saturday, December 28 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery for the Christmas Kickoff Art Show Friday, November 29, from 2 to 6 p.m. Lyman will be joined by Colfax rope basket creator Nancy Waldron and Kennewick photographer Nancy Richter.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment.

 

cannon beach oregon coast highway 101 paul henderson art

Highway 101 — Paul Henderson Paints Its Moods

cannon beach oregon coast highway 101 paul henderson art

Cannon Beach Glow, by acrylic painter Paul Henderson, part of his Moods of Highway 101 series.

Moods of Highway 101

From rocky cliffs and chilling fog to warm, sunny beaches, Highway 101 is one of the longest, most scenic highways in the U.S. Driving it is not fast by any means, but given that it winds through the coastal scenery of Washington, Oregon, and California, who’s in a hurry?

Not artist Paul Henderson, who with his wife Letha took a 16-day trip on the highway from Astoria, OR, to Eureka, CA.

yaquina head lighthouse oregon coast highway 101 paul henderson

Yaquina Head Lighthouse. It’s a beacon of light and beauty on Highway 101 at Newport, OR.  By Yakima acrylic painter Paul Henderson

“We wanted to take our time enjoying all the wonderful scenes of ocean, old farms, old communities, forest, gifts shops, galleries, boat harbors, and lighthouses,” the Yakima painter says. “We stayed one to three days around each major town, traveling 50-120 miles with each move we made.”

They visited eight lighthouses out of 13, and stopped in at state parks, farmers markets and festivals.

During that time, Paul  took more than 1200 reference photos which, after the trip, he went through with the intent to create a series of 40 to 60 small paintings of the coast.

“I’ve finished 14 so far, and have started another 10 paintings on the subject. I work on them simultaneously, and am about 60 percent done.”

Working in Multiples, and Singles

Working out of a bedroom converted into a studio in his house, Henderson often employs the multiple painting approach, lining up canvases with their reference photos and moving from one image to the next when he wants, literally, a change of scenery. Other times, on larger works, he focuses on one image. This he paints with incredible detail, devoting multiple hundreds of hours to its completion.

Nehalem River Oregon Coast Highway 101 Paul Henderson Art

Nehalem River Edge, original acrylic painting by Yakima artist, Paul Henderson

He doesn’t like to be stuck in one place or way of doing things, whether he’s traveling Highway 101 or creating in his studio. An artist from the time he was old enough to hold a crayon, Henderson has been painting professionally for 46 years, and he has experimented with everything from highly realistic representational work to abstract pours. A strong interest in history, archaeology, and multi-national cultures infuses his work, and because of this, he refers to himself as “The Northwest Artist with an International Touch.”

“I love to try different methods; it keeps me fresh and invigorated,” Henderson says. “After all, ‘variety is the spice of life.’ I am full of passion to express and create life . . . colorful living images.”

With his present project, the variety of imagery acquired on his Oregon Coast trip keeps him traveling from one canvas to another, from one scene to another, in all sorts of weather. It’s almost like taking the trip all over again.

Sun, Rain and Fog on Highway 101

“It was quite cloudy in the northern part of Highway 101. In the middle it was somewhat sunny, and then rainy and foggy when we reached the south end. But it was all very beautiful.

oregon coast beach ocean cliffs painting paul henderson

Water’s Edge, a view of the beach and ocean off of Highway 101, by Yakima painter Paul Henderson

“Because of the variety of weather, I am calling the series that I’m painting, The Moods of Highway 101. The variety of moods — from stormy to soft rain to the sun breaking through to the beautiful sunsets — these all define the landscape and the scenery of this long and historic highway.”

Henderson has exhibited his work at shows, galleries, and wineries in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Iowa, and California. He has been interviewed by Evening Magazine, the weekly TV show of KING 5 in Seattle, as well as by assorted newspapers and publications, including The Mzuri Wildlife Foundation Conference and The Artist’s magazines. He has had special shows at Saviah Cellars in Walla Walla; AntoLin Cellars of Yakima; Wenaha Gallery of Dayton; and Gallery One in Ellensburg.

In 1986 he attracted national attention when he began painting with coffee, the first artist to seriously consider doing so.

Realism, Abstract, and Everything in Between

“I’ve gone from drawing every leaf and brick as a child to abstract when I first started professionally painting,” Henderson says, describing an artist’s repertoire that is as varied and complex as the scenery along Highway 101.

“I am comfortable working in any style or subject matter from abstract to detail, to fantasy, to loose style, to just experimenting.”

It’s all part of the journey of being an artist — constantly moving, observing, exploring, and doing. It’s never being static. But it’s also staying long enough in one spot to fully capture its essence, its personality, its mood.

“Watch what’s coming next,” Henderson says. “Who knows?”

Wenaha GalleryPaul Henderson is the Featured Art Event from Monday, October 7, through Saturday, November 2 at Wenaha Gallery. He will be at the gallery Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a special Autumn Art Show, also featuring bead weaver Alison Oman and Heppner, OR, wildlife painter Sandra Haynes.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment.

 

beaded amulet necklaces bead weaving alison oman

Beads by the Thousands — Alison Oman Weaves Magic

beaded amulet necklaces bead weaving alison oman

A collection of beaded amulet necklaces by bead weaving artist Alison Oman

The next time you’re around a metric ruler, look at the size of a millimeter.

It’s really, really itty bitty. Jewelry seed beads of this size are problematic to pick up and work with.

Now, go out and look at a horse, which is . . . rather larger.

buffalo beadwork amulet bag alison oman necklace

Buffalo, beaded amulet necklace by bead artist Alison Oman of Clarkston, WA

Combine the two, and you have entered the world of beadweaver Alison Oman. The Clarkston artist creates what she calls tiny glass tapestries, woven drawings with beads that she fashions into bracelets and amulet bag necklaces. (This latter is a Native American “pouch” worn around the neck. It contains small treasures that ward off evil, enhance the wearer’s safety, or bring good luck.)

One of the many challenges of beadweaving, Oman explains, is fitting the detail and meaning of a much larger subject into a “canvas” of 2 x 2 inches in size.

“As an example, I have always loved horses, and have beaded many pieces featuring them. But an animal that big reduced to just a few beads must still make a statement. It needs to show freedom, grace, and intelligence!” Oman says.

“So I try to produce pieces that focus on emotions that I feel when I look at a certain animal, or remember a particular event, place or person.”

Beadweaving Design

Born and raised in London, England, Oman fell in love with the American West on a visit to Oregon in the mid 1970s. Now a U.S. citizen, she incorporates all elements of her background, travels, and experience into her designs — from childhood horse rides in the fields and parks around her London home to a mental image from the latest book she is reading.

iris garden flowers beaded bracelet alison oman

Iris Garden, woven beadwork bracelet by Alison Oman of Clarkston, WA

“I love to draw, so all the pieces are from my own designs,” Oman says. “I tend to shy away from most Native American designs. As a Londoner, I don’t think I can do their motifs justice!”

For the weaving, Oman works with primarily Delica beads — Japanese manufactured seed beads that are uniformly shaped to be as tall as they are wide — and incorporates a variety of beads for the finishing work and fringe: glass, silver, gold, metal, anything that catches the eye and works with the particular piece. Describing beads as “dangerously addictive,” Oman finds buying inventory a joyful and exhilarating experience.

mermaid seahorse beaded amulet necklace alison oman

The Mermaid and the Seahorse, beaded amulet necklace by Alison Oman

“In London’s Piccadilly Circus, I found a small bead store with some beautiful, wooden, hand-carved creatures. Some have not yet been used, as they still have to ‘tell’ me how they want to be used.

“In Kona, Hawaii, I found beautiful glass beads forged with lava and ash to create amazing colors and designs.

“And in Ketchikan, Alaska, I walked out of a jewelry store without buying a silver mermaid, only to jog back later because I could ‘see’ this particular piece, which later became The Mermaid and the Seahorse.”

Thousands of Beads

Depending upon its finished size, each woven project incorporates from several hundred to multiple thousand beads. It can take months to complete, as the weaving is just the starting point of the process.

“Finishing, adding the neck piece, adding the fringes — this all takes time and, as I age, my eyes quit working for me after a few hours! So I bead often, but for short periods of time.”

Oman works out of a studio at the Dahmen Artisan Barn in Uniontown, WA, where she also teaches classes. Describing the studio situation as her “happy place” and one of the best gifts she has ever given herself, Oman enjoys interacting with the artistic colleagues surrounding her. They offer encouragement and criticism, are ready to share a glass of wine, and — most importantly — know how to leave each other alone when it’s time to create.

“I’ve been there for the last eight years, prior to which I worked in our family room on a desk with my back to the TV. I still use that desk, but the Barn is where I most love to work.”

Weaving Three Interests into One

Oman has shown and sold her beaded artwork in London, UK; as well as in galleries and gift shops throughout the Pacific Northwest.

She is delighted to, well, weave three longtime interests into one: animals (especially horses), drawing, and beadwork. If one is going to have an addiction in life, she feels, it ought to be a good one. And beadwork is just that:

“Thankfully, no matter how many beads I have, there’s no chance that I will ever suffer from an overdose!”

Wenaha GalleryAlison Oman is the Featured Art Event from Monday, September 9, through Saturday, October 5 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a special Autumn Art Show, also featuring Western scratchboard artist Sandra Haynes and Yakima acrylic painter Paul Henderson.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment.

Exhausted pickup truck old abandone vehicle randy klassen watercolor

Old, Bold, and Beautiful — Pickup Trucks by Randy Klassen