November Galleries: Work of Area Teachers, Mini-Oriental Carpets

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    The Lamorinda Arts Council this month features the work of current and retired teachers who are also artists in an exhibit called Teachers Have Class.
    Eighteen teachers from Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda elementary and middle schools, the Acalanes Union High School District or those who have participated in the Arts Ambassadors and Visual Arts Competition programs held at the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library are participating.
    “Some of the days in November carry the whole memory of summer as a fire opal carries the color of moonrise,” says Gladys Taber. Like the fire opal, the walls and cabinets in the gallery carry the ripples of creativity sparked by the talented teacher/artists whose work is on display. Exhibit fees have been waived by the council in consideration of the dedication these educators have poured into the community.
    Council Board Member Lois Reynolds created labels for the more than 50 works on display. Council curators Maggie Boscoe, Denise Nomura and Bill Carmel organized the install and take-down of the artwork.
    Many of the artists are intrepid travelers, which is reflected in the diversity of their artwork.
    The exhibitors are as follows: Maggie Boscoe, Orinda, ceramics, watercolors and photographs; Susan Dannenfelser, Lafayette, ceramics; Carla Gelbaum, Moraga, acrylic paintings; Tim Hancock, Lafayette, pen, ink and watercolor sketches; Lesley Jensen, Lafayette, ceramic vessels; Linda Kam, Orinda, botanical watercolors; Larysa Larson, oil paintings; JoAnn Lieberman, Lafayette, acrylic paintings, monoprints, mixed media; Aram Muksian, Vallejo, digital photographic prints; Denise Nomura, Moraga, Nihonga paintings; Nicole Reader, Orinda, acrylic paintings; Lois Reynolds Mead, Orinda, acrylic paintings, handmade books/journals, iPhoneography; Kirsten Theurer, Danville, watercolors; Pam Toki, Oakland, clay monoprints; Pauline Tsui, Emeryville, Chinese ink and watercolors; Moose Wesler, San Leandro, linocuts; David Wilson, Oakland, color pencil drawings; and Kim H. Wong, Orinda, acrylic paintings.
    Meet the artists at their reception 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 10. Light refreshments will be served. Go to The Orinda News online at www.theorindanews.com to see the work of each teacher.
    To learn more about the Lamorinda Arts Council, go to www.lamorindaarts.org. The Art Gallery at the Orinda Library is at 26 Orinda Way. Open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. The library will be closed Nov. 11 for Veterans Day and Nov. 27–28 for Thanksgiving. Call 925-254-2184 for more information or visit http://ccclib.org/.

(Elana O'Loskey, Photographer)
Turkish Mudjar, a 21” x 15” carpet, is part of Bohuslava Ruzicka’s Miniature Oriental Carpets exhibit, inspired by Frank M. Cooper designs.

Art Gallery at Wilder: Miniature Oriental Carpets
    Bohuslava (Slavka) Ruzicka’s intricate cross-stitchery is on view this month at her solo exhibit entitled “Miniature Oriental Carpets.”
    Ruzicka, who was born in Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic, began cross-stitchery 30 years ago in Singapore. There, when she joined the American Women’s Club, she said she was invited to create cross-stitched ornaments for a children’s orphanage. Never having tried it before, she did one. She said it turned out pretty good. Ninety-nine ornaments later, she was hooked. Now living in El Sobrante, she says she still loves cross stitching.
    Ruzicka chose to create the designs in this show from Oriental Carpets in Miniature by Frank M. Cooper (1994). The miniatures on display are the culmination of 10 years of work based on Cooper’s designs which she describes as “magical and masterful works.”
    The entire work is done on cotton Aida 14 count Victoria Red, Cross Stitch fabric with cotton DMC floss, two strands. Aida cloth is an open weave, even-weave cotton fabric. Its natural mesh and stiffness facilitates cross stitching. Two strands of cotton DMC floss – rather than three or six – gives her the ability to create a fine, easily visible line. DMC has been manufacturing embroidery floss since the 1800s. See if you can count the horizontal threads in Persian Kurdistan, a 20.5” x 13” miniature.
    Cross stitch and needlework can be found in the earliest human history, as far back as the sixth century Before Common Era. Pieces of embroidery and needlework have been found preserved in ancient Egyptian tombs and in Medieval churches. The earliest known cross-stitch sampler made in the U.S. is housed in Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was created by Loara Standish, a pioneer of the Leviathan stitch, circa 1653. It seems its popularity has never waned; in the iPhone App Store there are 134 cross-stitch apps on offer.
    To see what it’s all about, meet the artist at her reception on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., where light refreshments will be served. Ruzcika is offering a demonstration of a cross-stitch work-in-progress in Studio 4, adjacent to the gallery, where the reception is held. She said she is eager to share her knowledge of the symbolism and history inherent in cross-stitch designs and answer questions about her work.
    As the Wilder Art and Garden Center, 20 Orinda Fields Lane, is a new building, for now people can visit the Art Gallery at Wilder the first Saturday of each month at the artist reception from 2:30-4:30 p.m. or by arranging an appointment with co-curator Denise Nomura at wildergallery@lamorindaarts.org. Moving forward, more regular hours will be scheduled. Beginning Nov. 5, the gallery will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 – 8:15 p.m. The Orinda Parks and Recreation Dept. is seeking bookings of classes and meetings. Contact them at OrindaParksandRec@cityoforinda.org, visit them at 28 Orinda Way or call 925-254-2445.

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