Northbay Wildfires: Natural Disaster + Community

At its heart, the Quake Mosaic  was created to document and honor a community healing after trauma from a natural disaster. The impact of the October 2017 wildfires have eclipsed those of the 2014 earthquake and I have decided to expand the project scope.

I am redesigning the plan to include a special section for any remnants collected after the fire.I am currently reaching out to those impacted to ask for any objects they may want to donate to the mosaic. I am planning to rename the project as well, but have not yet settled on a new name.

Several friends lost their art studios and I am so grateful that they will be contributing recovered objects to the project. Calistoga painter and friend, Karen Lynn Ingalls, shared the following images of her barn, lost in the Tubbs Fire. As soon as the site is open to the public again, I will join her to collect some remnants to include in the mosaic. 

BarnStudio_AfterTubbsFire_11-1-2017_AL_5881_800p.jpg
BarnStudio_AfterTubbsFire_11-1-2017_AL_5885_800p.jpg

Another artist friend, photographer Norma Quintana, also lost her home and studio. A consummate collector, she is sifting through the remnant of her home for objects to photograph in a new series entitled, "Forage from Fire".

This experience has served as a reminder that we live in a part of the world that is vulnerable to natural disaster. Earthquakes, floods, and fires happen constantly in California. It not only requires resilient, vigilant and responsive inhabitants, it creates opportunity for growth, change and new perspectives on what home means.

Site Dreaming with Gretchen Stranzl McCann

Today I met with landscape architect and friend, Gretchen Stranzl McCann and Greg Brun from the Wine Train to discuss ideas for the site plan. 

We looked over the student plans Jessica and I had selected at Cal Poly in June. The students had worked on fully workable plans that included irrigation, grading as well as planting for the entire site. 

SLO Wenjie Sketch 2.jpg
SLO Wenjie Sketch 2017-06-08 10.22.14.jpg

Gretchen will be creating her own plan for the site, but we will be utilizing ideas from the student plans as well. The four student plans we selected will be displayed at the NV Wine Train station's RAD wall this winter.

Next: selecting the car so we can create the master plan to submit to the City.

Quake Mosaic meets Pastry at the CIA, Greystone

About a month ago, pastry chef and Culinary Institute of America professor Stephen Durfee contacted me about participating in a project he was doing with his students. Each year he pairs his pastry students with local artists so they can create a dessert inspired by the artist's work. So instead of bringing them to my half finish art studio, I decided to share the Quake Mosaic with them.

I met the adorable and talented Nicole, Dana and Natalie at the Wine Train yard where all of the mosaic materials are being stored. We discussed the project and the were so enthusiastic and excited to work together. They even took some of the broken pieces of a couple plates with them to use in their creation.

I was super excited to hear about the other incredible artists they had selected for this project: Chelsea Ritter-Soronen of Chalk Riot, Mikey Kelly, Freeman Tanner and Patty Wessman, all longtime friends and active members of our local art community. Each artist was paired with 2-3 pastry students and they results were incredible!

Delicious creation that Dana, Natalie and Nicole made using actual broken donations from community members. Photo by Infinity Visuals.

Delicious creation that Dana, Natalie and Nicole made using actual broken donations from community members. Photo by Infinity Visuals.

Students presenting their work inspired by Mikey Kelly's sculpture and drawings. Photo by Infinity Visuals.

Students presenting their work inspired by Mikey Kelly's sculpture and drawings. Photo by Infinity Visuals.

Students during the presentation.

Students during the presentation.

A second dessert (!) by Dana, Nicole and Natalie inspired by the Quake Mosaic. Notice the 'train tracks'? Photo by Infinity Visuals.

A second dessert (!) by Dana, Nicole and Natalie inspired by the Quake Mosaic. Notice the 'train tracks'? Photo by Infinity Visuals.

My individual plate for the second dessert. Beautiful! Photo by Infinity Visuals.

My individual plate for the second dessert. Beautiful! Photo by Infinity Visuals.

 

 

 

Quake Mosaic: Cal Poly Landscape Architecture Student Visit

Another inspiring day with the next generation. When Jessica de Lasaux (longtime RADnapa cohort) and I reached out to our talented friend, Gretchen Stranzl McCann of GSM landscape architecture, inc., to talk to her about what it would take to create a living roof, she had a ton of great ideas. She also thought this would be a perfect case study for her class of students at Cal Poly, where she is also an adjunct professor.

So a few months later, Jessica and I made a visit to the campus and were blown away by what this group had come up with for the site. They had gone way beyond the living roof and designed the entire parcel, complete with irrigation diagrams, landscaping + hardscape ideas as well as grading plans. 

The class had so many great ideas and ways to make the landscape plan efficient, inviting and exciting. Jessica and I gave feedback and made a short list of the work we thought we could hopefully incorporate into the final design. These drawings will be on display on the Wine Train station's upcoming "RAD Napa Wall", which will highlight completed and in-progress projects.  

Quake Mosaic: Sorting Day with New Tech High School

What an amazing day working with students from Napa's New Technology High School and their teacher, the wonderful Margaret Dennett! We made it through the bulk of the materials and specifically focused on sorting through the beautiful seconds donated from Heath Ceramics. Several students also worked on sanding the edges of the sharper broken pieces so they will be safe for the public to touch when they are used in the final mosaic.

Special thanks to Art Teacher Margaret Dennet for reaching out and bringing her students down to help for the morning. 

Here are a couple of (unedited) student interviews shot by Israel Valencia. Amazing.

 

 

Quake Mosaic: Sort Day at FLOW: Arts at the River

Thank you so much to the volunteers who came down to help us sort through the many donations for the Quake Mosaic on April 30 as part of FLOW: Arts at the River! We got through several hundred pounds of material, way more than I even thought possible in one day. 

Major thanks to Azalea Aguilar's AP Spanish Comp + Lit students from Vintage High School, who blasted through the bulk of it in the morning. And an extra special thanks to Jen Sarkisian, Andrew Watt and Gary Oliveras for all of your muscle and support throughout the day!

Thanks also to Danielle Smith and everyone at Arts Council Napa Valley for all of your hard work to make FLOW happen!

Special cameo appearance by 2 frogs and 1 scorpion who'd been somehow hiding out in the cardboard boxes with the donations all winter! All were rescued and placed in much more safe and luxurious accommodations near the Napa River.

Special cameo appearance by 2 frogs and 1 scorpion who'd been somehow hiding out in the cardboard boxes with the donations all winter! All were rescued and placed in much more safe and luxurious accommodations near the Napa River.

 

 

Classy Classes

I've always wanted to teach at Nimbus Arts and di Rosa and now I finally get to! Here's all the info - come join me!

NIMBUS: Book Arts: Making, Writing & Illustrating

In this class, students will become storytellers, illustrators, authors, paper engineers and book artists. Drawing on personal memories, students will create their own books. We will explore different book parts: end papers, covers, dedication pages, the about-the-author section, as well as the difference between spot and full-page illustration. Students will explore collage, painting, wax resist, and other mixed media techniques to illustrate their ideas. At the end of the class, students will be able to read their finished books aloud to the class. Click below for more info and to sign up!

Ages 8-13  |  Mondays: Nov 21, 28 & Dec 5, 12 (3:45 – 5:30 pm)  |  $85

 

NIMBUS: NIP 'n SIP

Make a little mosaic magic! In these mosaic workshops, students will learn the basics of mosaic techniques and create lovely treasures. Our “mosaic tasters” will give you a great sense of how fun and simple it is to make mosaic art (while sipping some fine Napa Valley wine!)   Theses classes will teach you how to work with and nip glass and ceramic tiles to create bright and whimsical designs. Leave your completed mosaic with us, and we’ll do the messy cementing and grouting, and then come pick up your masterpiece in one week. $50 each class, all materials & wine included. (Shipping can be arranged for an additional fee)

Saturdays (4:30-6:30): Nov 19, Dec 17, Jan 21, Feb 18

DI ROSA: DAY OF THE DEAD MASKS

Learn about Día de los Muertos and celebrate Day of the Dead by making your own vibrant skull mask. Families will learn to build and decorate their own paper masks with paint, flowers, and other colorful materials.

Oct 30 (1:30-3:00)  |  $15 per family ($12 for members)

Purchase tickets

Workshop begins promptly at 1:30 PM. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call 707-226-5991 x24 for more information.

 

DI ROSA: SCREEN PRINT YOUR OWN HOLIDAY CARDS

Using simple silkscreen techniques, learn how to design and print holiday cards. Create your own screen using an embroidery hoop, customize your card design, and then print as many cards as you can send!

Nov 13 (1:30-3:00)  |  $15 per family ($12 for members)
Purchase tickets

Workshop begins promptly at 1:30 PM. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call 707-226-5991 x24 for more information.

Tile Mania

I have ordered a lot of tiles to make the samples. A LOT of tiles. Thousands of tiles - mostly glass. And mostly from Mosaic Art Supply and Mosaic Trader USA, both great suppliers I'd recommend.

Shipping tiles is expensive and because many come in sheets, they must be peeled/ torn/ cut/ or soaked off their mesh or paper backings. So this was my night time job, done at the kitchen table.

9-5 Piles of Tiles.jpg

Band Aids

So far, I have gone through a box of Band Aids. But that's what you get for playing with broken glass all day. 

In my dad's workshop first aid kit, I found one of those really old ones that had the red thread to help you open the package. The adhesive was pretty crummy and came off an hour later, but it got me through the rest of the afternoon.