Art of the Wild

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Art of the Wild: NatureWorks

Celebrate a deep awareness of our native environment through art made from local, wild materials. Each of us has an opportunity to use what is right around us to create beauty—it is as simple as finding driftwood, collecting river rocks, or arranging native berries and flowers to decorate the home. This show exhibits the work of 10 leading artists inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds the Yuba Watershed and profits benefit river conservation through Syrcl, the South Yuba River Citizen’s League. A few of the artists featured include:

Painting from Natural Elements

Franceska Alexander “How art is made matters to me and I sourced viable alternatives to make art without harming the ecosystem. The paintings are laced with bits and pieces of orchestrated life force blown, crawled and stuck onto the surface. My marks were made with my bare hands and sticks, pinecones, willow branches, and leaves from the gray pine, black oak and bamboo. I also used acorns, plantain, dandelion, iris, and miner’s lettuce, lichen, moss, sage, mustard, and curry spice; charcoal, clay paint, tar, stone talc, and shellac, silica, ink, and the mysterious xylem.

Maple Bark Basket


Matt Berry offers a unique approach to functional art, blending his expertise in field biology and Permaculture with primitive skills. He gathers all of his materials from local woodlands. “In the spring, when the sap is flowing fast, the bark will slip most easily off the trunk of the Maple tree. I score a piece from the tree, without penetrating the wood. The tree heals, creating a piece of bark to fold and sew into a basket. I make holes with a bone awl (a long, pointed spike) and use rawhide from a deer for the lacing.”

History of our Region, Part I

Peggy Wright

Peggy’s pieces, made of local branches, handmade paper and mixed media, are a timeline in three parts that represent the history of our region.  The first piece is first titled, “How the Gold Came to California.” The 2nd piece will be about early life and the indigenous people and the 3rd piece will be about the gold rush and its impact on our region. “My work integrates my life long interest in dance and the natural environment. The earthy patina of the weathered material I gather in the local woods and gardens supply the color palette for my sculptural forms constructed using ancient textile techniques.”


Black Walnut Bowl

Mike Snegg “I’ve lived amongst the rivers and trees in Nevada County for over 40 years. My dad was a wood worker and after he left his workshop to me, I was inspired to make wooden bowls. I love the idea of rescuing the old trees from Nevada County and throughout California and making something beautiful out of them that will last for generations.”


Yuba River Rock Necklace

Amarah Designs is a collaboration of two country girls raised on the Yuba River in northern California. Their Sticks and Stones jewelry collection features intricately wrapped Yuba river rocks, and local cedar, oak, manzanita and driftwood branches cast into sterling silver. Influenced by the aesthetic forms and textures of the river and landscape around them, their work mimics the gentle irregularities found in nature.

Using organic materials in their designs juxtaposes elements in ways that sometimes surprise, and always delight.

Maidu Elderberry Clappers

Grayson Coney, Cultural Director of the Tsi-Akim Maidu, shares his knowledge of this land in an art form that was essential to daily living for the Maidu people. Beauty, function and culture are intertwined in Grayson’s pieces.




Other featured artists include award-winning woodworkers Holly Tornheim and Bob EricksonDavid Nizdjenko and Yuba Watershed Institute wildlife photography captured by remote cameras.

Visit the exhibit anytime between January 3rd and 30th and enjoy the art reception on January 11th, 4-7 pm, followed by inspiring environmental films at the wild and scenic film festival, Holiday Gift Idea: Ask loved ones for a gift certificate to the Mowen Solinsky Gallery so you can take home a piece from the Art of the Wild show!

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