Tunisian inspired necklaces by Pamela Good Walla Walla

Exotic Tunisia & Walla Walla Wine Country — The Jewelry of Pamela Good

Tunisian inspired necklaces by Pamela Good Walla Walla

A touch of Tunisia: necklaces by Pamela Good, Wenaha Gallery guest artist.

They’re called souks — marketplaces or commercial quarters in Western Asia or North Africa, and most of us know what they “feel” like by imagining ourselves in the Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. The sights, sounds, smells, colors, people (even without the evil, black-robed swordsman confronting Indie), are all very exotic, alluringly unfamiliar in a fascinatingly romantic sort of way.

Tunisia inspired jewelry by Pamela Good Walla Walla

Tunisia-inspired jewelry by Pamela Good of Walla Walla

But for Walla Walla jewelry artist Pamela Good, who was born in Tunisia and has lived there, off and on, throughout her life, souks remind her of urban ethnic flea markets in the U.S. and Mexico.

“What makes the Tunisian Medinas so different are the narrow alleyways and switchbacks, the intense sounds of people talking a variety of languages, carts moving products, copper and brass hammerings and vendors calling to get your attention as you walk by,” Good says.

During a prolonged residence in North Africa during the 1970s and 80s, Good regularly walked the jewelry souks of Tunis, Sfax, and Djerba, seeking vintage beads, ancient findings, and precious and semi-precious stones to incorporate in her earrings and necklaces. One of her favorite merchants with which to work was Monsieur Ahmed, who through the years became a friend as well, tucking aside special finds for Good’s review.

Cork earrings walla walla wine country pamela good

Cork earrings, celebrating Walla Walla Wine Country, by Pamela Good.

“The first time I met him, he invited me for tea, and sitting inside his shop I shared what I was  looking for and how I was interested in designing jewelry integrating my Tunisian culture,” Good remembers. Afternoons with Monsieur Ahmed involved “sweet tea with almonds floating on top in a gold rimmed glass, and a tray of beads, stones, and/or vintage silver pieces.”

Some of these treasures Good still possesses, incorporating them in special designs that she creates as part of her jewelry business, which she focuses on outside her day job as program manager at AVID, an educational organization preparing students for success in high school, college, and career.

Necklaces earrings tunisia touch walla walla jewelry artist pamela good

Necklaces and earrings, with a touch of Tunisia, by Walla Walla jewelry artist Pamela Good

“The arts should be woven into everything we do with kids,” Good says concerning both her job and her art. “I have always believed that everyone can be an artist — you can draw, paint, make jewelry, learn to ride a bike.”

In addition to knowing how to do all of these things, Good possesses a few skills out of the American norm, one of which is speaking Arabic. This she acquired through concerted study; interacting with Tunisian family, friends, and co-workers; and co-owning Auberge de la Falaise, a Brasserie French restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Dressing appropriately for the culture by wearing a head scarf and keeping her arms and legs covered, Good avoided, during her market forays, being mistaken for a tourist, and her happiest souk day occurred when one of the vendors asked if she was Algerian.

“I laughed and thanked him and told him that I was American.

“He could not believe that I was speaking to him in Arabic, and called over people to tell them, ‘This American girl speaks Arabic!’

“They were happy and I was delighted!”

Earrings touch of tunisia walla walla jewelry artist pamela good

Earrings with a touch of Tunisia by Walla Walla jewelry artist Pamela Good

A member of the Walla Walla Art Club and Art Walla, Good enjoys the challenge of making jewelry from found objects, and while there are no souks in the Pacific Northwest, Good haunts vintage and antique stores. She also finds creative use for items immediately — although not obviously — at hand.

“Recently, I was inspired by an artist from Santa Fe who was using cork and Native American seed beads to create earrings,” Good says. “I thought of all the cork we use and then throw away after opening our wine bottles in the Walla Walla Valley, and decided to create a series of wine cork earrings — each are unique, most with sterling posts and semi-precious gems. Others include metals, wire wrap, pearls, crystals, and glass.”

They all look exotic, testament to a lifetime spent learning, traveling, and experimenting. With two or three themes going on at a time, Good finds her jewelry collections changing, evolving with her, her environment, and what she finds — here, or a quarter of the way across the planet.

“The last time I visited Tunisia was in 2012, two years after the Arab Spring,” Good says.

“The Medina and jewelry souks are exactly like they were when I had lived there from 1977-1984.

“There are a lot more imitations; prices have risen, and many old pieces are now seen as antiques, but I would return in a heartbeat!

“I love the chase of vintage pieces and am always excited to incorporate them in my work.”

Wenaha Gallery

Pamela Good is the Featured Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, April 24 through Saturday, May 20, 2017.

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.

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Bright, Shiny Jewelry — The Corvidae-Inspired Art of Rachelle Moore

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Bronze, silver, ruby, and moonstone necklace, jewelry by Rachelle Moore, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Crows, ravens, jackdaws, magpies — while members of the Corvidae family are notorious for raucous dissonance, they also possess a captivating charm that invites jewelry maker Rachelle Moore to their fan club:

They like shiny things.

Bracelet incorporating bronze and hessonite nuggets by Rachelle Moore

Bracelet incorporating bronze and hessonite nuggets, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“I love shiny things!” the Kennewick artist exclaims, explaining why she named her business Corvidae Fine Art, reflecting a lifelong enthrallment of birds with their refinement and intelligence. “Sparkles and elegant jewelry and gem and mineral specimens of hematite, selenite, and quartz are always trying to take over the surfaces of my work space.

“I can lose countless hours to the joy of crafting in silver or bronze metal, making mini enduring wearable sculptures to combine with sparkling gemstones. I like to imagine these will exist and be enjoyed for many years,” Moore says.

Because like many humans on the planet, Moore does not find herself with actual countless hours, she efficiently juggles the ones she has, incorporating a full-time job as a nurse and subsequent 90-minute commute back to her rural studio space/apartment on Weston Mountain with her art business.

Grey Faceted Hawks Eye Drops earrings by Rachelle Moore

Grey Faceted Hawks Eye Drops earrings, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

Creativity with both time and physical materials is a skill she learned young, from a child homeschooled in the mountains with her siblings, and refined in her late teens, when she started crafting earrings, beaded hair pins, and accessories to help pay for college.

“This was so successful and enjoyable that I started my own small business in 2007 selling my jewelry,” Moore says.

“I have been artistic for as long as I can remember.

“I suppose what started it was wanting to capture and save some of the beauty around me.”

Feeding her appreciation of beauty was a voracious appetite for reading, and Moore spent (and still spends) hours consuming “marvelous stories” such as Treasure Island, The Count of Monte Cristo, and the Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Narnia Chronicles series.

Fine silver vine chandelier earring with phrenite bunches by Rachelle Moore

Fine silver vine chandelier earring with phrenite bunches, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“These books among others helped inspire my love of adventure, travel, and trying to capture those fantastic images in my imagination to share in one form or another,” Moore says.

“Many of the pieces I have made, I picture in my head as part of a bigger, fantastic world.”

Moore sells her work on her etsy shop, under the name CorvidaeFineArt, and has participated in ArtSquared, ArtWalla’s annual fundraiser benefiting area arts education, and the Walla Popup Juried Art Show, as well as kept a booth at the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market. She also creates customized commissioned pieces, which she describes as her most rewarding, yet stressful projects.

“I remember a custom commission I did of a bronze sculptured and carved dragon necklace with many rubies and sapphires. I wound myself up wondering if the customer would like the character of the dragon as I created the layers and the dragon came to life.

Rectangular pounded pendant necklace with sapphire roundels, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

Rectangular pounded pendant necklace with sapphire roundels, jewelry by Rachelle Moore

“In the end, my customer loved the piece, and I have seen her wearing it so many times. It makes me happy to know she enjoys wearing it.”

Moore makes a point of not replicating or repeating her designs, because she values the individuality and uniqueness of something that is handmade. And while this is time consuming, the end result is something both she, and the wearer, feel incredibly good about.

“If someone owns a piece of my jewelry, it will be something special and a little different than what anyone else has.”

Working with precious metals and components that require torch firing or time in a kiln at 1200-1600 degrees is a lesson of rolling with the unexpected. Holding her breath upon opening the cooled kiln, Moore never knows if a piece will emerge as planned, not quite as planned — “There’s always a risk of random inclusions . . . having caused a small explosion or microscopic cracks” — or better than planned, the artist’s equivalent to Christmas morning, any time of year.

This is a fitting analogy, because to Moore, art is a gift that is part of her life, no matter where she lives, and no matter what else she does. It neatly compliments her career as a registered nurse, in which each patient requires a balance of time, energy and dedication.

“At the end of each work day I take home a sense of connection and peace in knowing I worked hard to make a positive difference in another human’s life while they were in a challenging part of their life.

“Having art to make on my days off is a welcome change of pace and a different kind of challenge.”

Wenaha GalleryRachelle Moore is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, February 27, through Saturday, March 25.

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.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

 

 

Desert Grass, public art piece in Richland, WA, by Joseph Rastovich

Public and Private Art — The Metal Sculpture of Joseph Rastovich

Desert Grass, public art piece in Richland, WA, by Joseph Rastovich

Desert Grass, public art piece in Richland, WA, by Joseph Rastovich

Falling metal, flying shrapnel, punishing heat, blinding light, loud noises — it doesn’t sound like an artist’s studio, but then again, the making of Joseph Rastovich’s art doesn’t fit into a small space. The Kennewick artist, whose primary medium is fabricated sculpture in steel, designs wall art, furniture, and lamps, in addition to significantly sized public art pieces.

Lady Tree, side table furniture, by Joseph Rastovich

Lady Tree, side table furniture, by Joseph Rastovich

He started working with metal when he was 14 years old, after inheriting classic cars from both sides of his family.

“I had to learn metal work to fix these cars, and that quickly transformed into my art career,” Rastovich says. “I had a job as a dishwasher at a jazz and wine club during that time and spent my paychecks solely on metal working tools.”

Ten years later, Rastovich’s studio, which is primarily outside his home (“luckily all my neighbors like me and accommodate my unusual profession”), boasts a plethora of the specialty tools necessary for metalwork: welders, plasma cutters, air compressors, grinders, sheet metal roller, clamps, gantry cranes, vises, sandblasters, an oxyacetylene kit, and forklift among others. These are just the tools. Finding the supplies with which to create is another matter.

“Unlike most artists, when I go to an art supply store, there effectively is nothing I can use,” Rastovich says. “Instead, I source my materials and supplies from industrial stores such as steel yards, welding supply stores, and industrial paint stores.”

Tree of Zen, wall art by Joseph Rastovich

Tree of Zen, wall art by Joseph Rastovich

The son of two artists — LuAnn Ostergaard, whose box mounted art prints are sold to private and corporate collections nationwide, and Michael Rastovich, an artist of multiple mediums whose resume includes creating a float for the Portland Rose Parade — Rastovich was “unschooled” for much of his educational career, an experience that allowed him to pursue creative endeavors with full focus.

“Curiosity and awe is the foundation of which intelligence is built,” Rastovich says.

“I was free to study philosophy, learn quantum mechanics, create music, look at great art, witness the running of a business, build things, and commune with nature.” The result, for him, is a 21st century Renaissance Man who not only has a passion about everything, but is extremely fit.

“It is a very physical profession,” he explains, one of the reasons he calls himself a metal wrangler, complete with signature cowboy hat, that is, when the situation doesn’t require a hard one.

Vortex sculpture by Joseph Rastovich

Vortex sculpture by Joseph Rastovich

“Everything is heavy. Before I bought my forklift, half my time was spent just moving steel plate with pry bars, rollers, and blocking.” And while the forklift has made certain aspects of his job easier, it still isn’t . . . easy. Because the work takes place primarily outside, Rastovich finds himself in all types of weather, ranging from 120 degrees to 0 degrees, from full, blazing sun to pouring rain and falling snow.

Rastovich sells his smaller work through galleries as well as furniture, gift, and jewelry stores throughout the Pacific Northwest. His larger, public works are installed in parks, schools, business districts and hospitals in the Tri-Cities, Spokane, and Tualatin, OR. He also attends select art festivals, including the Sausalito Art Festival in California and the Bellevue Art Festival, both prestigiously difficult to get into.

“At art festivals, I often admire jewelers because their entire inventory fits in a suitcase,” he observes wryly. “I have had shows where I needed to bring a forklift. But alas! I enjoy the scale and gravity of my work.”

Visual art, he believes, is like a static form of music, and like music, has the ability to bring forth powerful emotions in the viewer, from tears to joy, from quiet contemplation to the impulse to dance. It is his goal that his own art, large pieces or small, bring on a sense of awe and inspiration.

“I create art to provide relief from normalcy.

“What was a bare wall of insignificance becomes a reason to stop and slow down.

“What was empty space becomes a place for inspiration.

“What was a normal average day can be transformed into a power memory, when one encounters art.”

Wenaha GalleryJoseph Rastovich is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, October 10 through Saturday, November 5.

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.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.