Montclair Village is a charming and vibrant community, nestled in the beautiful, tree-covered Oakland Hills. With its laid-back, small town feel, Montclair Village is the perfect spot to take a break from the bustle of the Bay – and for the Montclair Fine Arts Sidewalk Festival, which celebrates art in the outdoors when more than 50 artists from the Bay Area and beyond will be displaying their wares against the scenic backdrop of Montclair Village and the Oakland Hills. Visit the event, engage with the artists, touch hand-crafted treasures and take home a unique gift. Presented by the Montclair Village Association, this free festival is set to take place Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, June 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Paula Riley has painted for many years, but it is only recently that it has become her passion. “I am devoted to the expression found in the brush or palette knife through the application of paint,” she says. “…I like to paint objects and landscapes which are joyful and exciting to me - and hopefully to the viewer.” Paula is interested in light and shadow, in warm and cool, and texture. She strives to take her paintings beyond what is seen by the eye, and to create a mood or feeling through color and composition. The works of the great Impressionists, and later those of Expressionists, have influenced Paula’s painting.
Kelly Morgen’s unique line of jewelry is made from precious metals, recycled piano keys, natural stones, and gemstones. Her work centers around worldwide mythology, empowering women through story and art, and utilizes themes from a diverse cultural background. Creating all of her jewelry by hand, Kelly hand-saws a design from sterling silver, solders 18k gold details onto this base, then carves faces, arms, and bodies from ivory (recycled from antique piano keys) and scrimshaws the features into the ivory with a diamond-tipped pen. The final touch: beading the pendant with natural pearls and signing the bottom. All these processes follow either the ancient artisan traditions of the Florentine jewelers or the Native American silversmiths with whom she trained: further emphasizing the influence of cultural history that defines Kelly’s artwork. “Stories are, and always have been, a necessary part of the human experience; they allow us to live out all the different parts of ourselves. Each of my pieces has a story to tell, and I hope they will remind you of the strength already inside your heart."
Linda and Steve Ripatti have been designing textiles for 25 years. The couple has traveled extensively around the world for 10 years. When they began their clothing line, their travel experience informed the designs—they wanted to present pieces that would travel well, be stable in color and were totally unique. When micro-fiber fabrics were developed, they fit these requirements exactly. Linda and Steve want the customer to have such an original item that they almost get tired of hearing “where did you get that?” They started using rare remnants of these fabrics to make their items, but on the quest for more originality, they began creating totally original artwork and graphics to print on these copyrighted fabrics..Finds of great, remnant prints are used to make their dresses and jackets. The Polartek® fabrics used for their cape designs are the finest grade of these types of fleece materials and perfect for the California climate. The fabrics are made from mostly recycled materials and the weight drapes well while not bunching or wrinkling easily. And the styles are unique yet classic, ready to be dressed up or down.
Kurt McCracken attributes his artistic talent to his father and his grandfather who were both design engineers. Kurt was always interested in all forms of art. His high school ceramic class is where he first began experimenting with clay. After graduating from high school, he worked the waters of the Chesapeake Bay as a crab and oysterman. In the mid-80's, Kurt returned to his love of clay and established himself as a self-taught, award winning artist. He has developed a fresh new approach to the ancient Asian art of raku, which dates back to the 16th century. McCracken's has an eye for traditional forms and has the ability to wheel-throw one piece of clay into extraordinarily large size forms. Often his vessels will exceed three feet in height. He loves to vary his art forms, creating large wall hangings, sculptures with glass and decorative plates. Some of his more contemporary works are ceramic towers (up to 8 feet tall) and abstract music designs. Kurt is also using his design talents to create large-scale paintings on wood and canvas. Because of the large scale of his creations, Kurt custom designed and built his own raku kilns. He selects special clays for each of his hand-glazed pieces, which are individually fired at over 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. These red-hot pieces are then transferred from the kiln to the reduction barrel. The glazes are oxidized with natural materials, such as pine needles, leaves and straw. This abrupt oxidation process is what produces the color, crackle and intensity that are signatures of Kurt’s gorgeous artwork.
The Montclair Village Fine Arts Sidewalk Festival takes place in the Montclair business district on Mountain Avenue at LaSalle, off highway 13, between Park Boulevard and Thornhill Drive. For more information, contact the Montclair Village Association at (510) 339-1000 or Pacific Fine Arts Festivals at (209) 267-4394, https://www.pacificfinearts.com
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