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Landscapes, horsehair and more on the ARTrails this weekend

The great Glen Ellen Village Fair

The big Glen Ellen news for today can be found in the news section up front. See scenes from our fabulous Glen Ellen Village Fair here.

As for my part, I’m penning this on Thursday, three days before the fair, so the only thing I can announce is the hope that we all celebrated a perfect day of sunshine and warmth in our little village with great music, fine food, creative crafts and a profound parade.

Most likely the day kicked off just after noon when the boys and men of Glen Ellen Scout Troop 63 carried the colors down Carquinez and onto Arnold Drive. Closely followed by Fred Berger and his sweetie, Carol Berger, riding in one of Tom Leonard’s snappy, special vintage vehicles. We hope to report that the Bergers were accompanied by other members of their tribe including son, Kevin Berger, Air Force reservist, recently returned from the Middle East; and his patient wife, Eileen; along with their two children, CC and Joe; as well as any other Bergers that show up for the day. Congratulations to the entire extended Berger family for being good stewards of the mountain.

We cleaned up

We will assume the glorious day continued until 5 p.m. when the music stopped and the good folks of our village began the annual clean up of our fairly littered streets. By Monday morning only a few white flour sprayed remnants of the booth space allocations remained.

I’ll share more good news from this year’s 2013 Glen Ellen Village Fair in columns to come, including all of the winners of the parade, along with my favorite crafts, food and fair fun. In weeks to come I’ll also be sporting my brand new snazzy Glen Ellen Village Fair T-shirt. Yes, of course I’ll hail the winner of the beautiful 2013 “Food for Thought” quilt winner.

Local artists welcome visitors

Today I want to point you in the direction of Sonoma Valley’s ARTrails open studios in our village and nearby. The open studios began last weekend, however, amid the excitement and draw of our fair, I skipped them entirely. Sonoma Valley ARTrails continues from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. this weekend, Oct. 19 and 20.

ARTrails provides a rare and tantalizing glimpse into artists’ studios – where they work, where their creative muses dwell and where thought takes form, creating lasting art. So, this weekend I’m ready to visit several of my favorite local artists whose work I’ve long admired.

Sadly, we were sorrowfully notified that Sonoma artist Joanne Monks recently died. I last saw her at Nina Gorbach’s home where we both participated in classes run by the Sonoma Mentoring Alliance. I will miss Joanne, but am content with her legacy of artful paintings of flora.

Exquisite botanical visions

While many Sonoma artists open their studios this weekend, I have only a few on my “must see” list. Foremost among those talented folks whose studios I hope to visit this weekend are Bouverie docent and watercolor artist Irene Guidici Ehret in downtown Sonoma. Irene specializes in exquisite botanical art that brings the plant world alive. Her outdoor scenes capture the very thrill of being there.

During these open studio weekends in the past, Irene has shared her extensive collection of personal nature journals. Ever inspired to follow David Pleydell Bouverie’s dictum, “On the trails, do not pass a tree, a flower or any living thing as a stranger. Pause and identify with every living thing as a friend. This will enrich your life and increase your knowledge.” Irene supplements her art with nature journals that celebrate the great outdoors. These treasures are not to be missed.

Spiritual icons spark reveries

My friend Erika Schmitt just east off Highway 12 near Glen Ellen, features fantasy jewelry and tiny found items formed into spiritual icons. Erika’s art is individual and unique. Not necessarily for wearing (though some pieces clearly are), her jewels are mostly for leading one into reveries of times past and future adventures. Erika’s pieces are inspirational for me, stimulating writing and contemplation of the collision of the mechanical and natural worlds. Slightly old-world, vaguely steam punk, her artsy fabrications are uniquely beautiful and well worth the visit to her studio.

Last year, on my visit, an earlier art admirer had accidently up-ended a drawer full of tiny jewels, leaving a sparkling mess on the floor, further scattered by the roaming dog. Erika, down on her knees, was dreamily reassembling the lost sparkles, still in a cheery mood, ready to talk about her creations, seemingly just as happy to be there as upright.

Moody landscapes

Just down the highway from Erika’s studio, you can find the studio of former Dunbar teacher Sandra Lane, not retired. Her dark, moody landscapes can easily transport you to seaside England. They are evocative and graceful, surely one of my not to be missed stops.

Years ago, when our older son was Sandra’s student, he fell in love with one of her portrait paintings and added it to the top of his Christmas list. He was thrilled when Santa delivered on that wish. Now that #1 son has moved far away, the painting still graces our living room between a poster from Kate Kennedy’s “La Bete” and a painting by Kaetie Bailie, who doesn’t (though we wish she did) participate in ARTrails. Maybe someday.

Christine MacDonald, another Glen Ellen painter captures the mystery of raptors with her visions of hawks, crows and other birds.

Ray and Judy Watten, ceramic artists create practical porcelain and stoneware for home and garden in their Kenwood studio. Susan Miron, a neighbor to the Wattens, weaves horsehair and palm fronds into decorative baskets.

Way out west

You can complete your artful journey by continuing into Santa Rosa, over to Petaluma, or traveling way out to West County. There are almost 27,000 artists in Sonoma County, so anything you seek can be found.

ARTrails magazines with maps and directions are readily found around town, try the Glen Ellen Village Market news rack, or you can go the paperless route and check it out online at sonomaarts.com.

Glen Ellen music of the ’60s and ’70s

Save the date, Saturday, Nov. 2, for the Glen Ellen Historical Society’s quarterly meeting. It will begin at 2 p.m. down Arnold Drive at the Grist Mill in Jack London Village. As always, admission is free and a no host bar and buffet will be available.

These historical society meetings feature the heritage and legacy of the Valley of the Moon. This particular meeting will focus on the culture and music of the ’60s and ’70s and how it played out in our town, from Londonside Lodge to the Rustic Inn and beyond.

The hollows and hills of Glen Ellen echoed the tunes of the times and this presentation will explore that legacy.

The presentation is being called “Those were the days my friend!” Featured speakers of the day will include such local luminaries as Tommy Thomsen, Steve Kahn, Hugh Shacklett, Diamond Jim Corbett, Judy Williams, Tim Dixon, Tobi Smith, Yvonne Giambrone-Martin, Larry Brookins and Jeffrey Norman. If you’re another one, come share the fun.

Jim Shere, former president of the Glen Ellen Historical Society and their current publicist, promises, “The program will include live music from the times, and names from the past that could be celebrated might include Norton Buffalo, Alex Horn, Chef Cardini, Rita Booth, Jack Coffee, Hunter S. Thompson and Juanita Musson, along with others.” He offers, “This may just prove interesting,” which I believe to be true. All of these meetings range far beyond simple historical information, and delve into the culture, society and tenor of our town, always fascinating.

Late ’60s was when I first visited Glen Ellen, a sleepy little town off the main drag. I came to see my friend Judy Laursen who was living and working at Jack Williams’ Arabian Ranch on Enterprise Road. That first visit included a motorcycle trip over to Jack London State Historic Park, and ever since, I’ve carried Jack London’s saying that begins, “I’d rather be ashes than dust” in my wallet. Jack’s ranch and the winding road to get them seemed a full adventure back then. And the nearby folks I met, including the Coturri brothers, cemented my view that this was paradise. I swore someday I’d visit that mysterious looking Victorian house on the corner of Enterprise and Sonoma Mountain Road. In time I did, and met dear Stacia Derickson, whom I instantly admired. A true and solid mountain woman. You can be sure I’ll be at the Glen Ellen Historical Society’s presentation as we revisit the ’60s and ’70s, now some 40 years past.  I hope to see you there.

If you have good news to share about our recent fair, send it along. I’d love to feature others’ points of view on this big town celebration.

• • •

Want to see your own name in the news? Share your stories with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks in advance.