Author Archives: SevenSistersGalleryCa

Savannah Designs

Seven Sisters Gallery is excited to carry Savannah Designs, the beautiful work of Juana and Steve Jelen.

Coin Pearl Ring with Granulation Larimar Ring

Juana Jelen, the designer behind the beautiful art of Savannah Designs, is a self taught jewelry artist, originally from the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco in Peru. After meeting her husband to be, Steve, Juana left Peru for Brazil, India and Nepal and later on to Switzerland, Spain and England before settling permanently in California.

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Once established, in California, Steve and Juana opened a gallery which they ran for the next twenty three years.

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These days Juana spends her time designing and creating her own line of beautiful, contemporary jewelry with an organic, textured feel which makes her (and all her customers!) extremely happy. We’re sure you will enjoy wearing any of the Savannah jewelry pieces as much as she enjoyed making them.

Trudi Gilliam: Metal Sculpture

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Trudi Gilliam is an artist who specializes in sculptures and mixed media art. A graduate of James Madison University with a bachelors degree in Fine Art and a concentration in Sculpture, Trudi draws inspiration, for her one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted pieces, from the wild landscapes in which she travels and lives. As an avid fan of the ocean, and to get an even closer perspective of the sea and marine life, Gilliam received her scuba certification while living on St. Croix, where she has spent more than 25 years. Today Trudi shares time between St. Croix, the Central Coast of California, and her home in Montana.

Gilliam makes frequent use of mediums such as copper and sea glass, as well as other metals like brass and silver, using them to create her works of art. Birds, flowers, and nature scenes are often the subject of Gilliam’s creations. One of our favorites is of a local treasure, the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, which has recently reopened after extensive restoration.

The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse is located at Point Piedras Blancas, meaning “white rocks”. The name is inspired by the large white rocks located slightly off the point, which mariners would use as navigational landmarks. In 1875, a lighthouse was built to further take advantage of the white rocks, which glowed bright when hit with the light from the lighthouse. After 10 months of construction, the 100 foot tall lighthouse was complete.

Throughout the rest of the 1800’s and early 1900’s the lighthouse was in full use, although a handful of earthquakes began to shake the foundation of the lighthouse, and a large earthquake in 1949 forced the removal of the top 3 stories. After the top 3 stories were removed, the lighthouse stood at 70 feet tall.

Restoration is currently taking place, with goals to reconstruct the top 3 stories and return the lighthouse to its original height of 100 feet. Some of the completed restoration projects on the sight include the fog horn building, the water tower, and much painting of the original lighthouse.

In addition, the landscaping has been redone to restore it back to how it was at the time of the lighthouse’s construction. The reintroduction of native plants has also lead to the increase in native animals, such as sea otters, elephant seals, gray whales, and many species of birds.

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Pearls: Symbols of Wisdom

The pearl, highly valued as an object of beauty for many centuries, has become a metaphor for something rare, fine, admirable and valuable. The symbol of wisdom acquired through experience.

noun: pearl

  1.  
    a hard, lustrous spherical mass, typically white or bluish-gray, formed within the shell of a pearl oyster or other bivalve mollusk and highly prized as a gem.
  2.  
    a precious thing; the finest example of something.
    “the nation’s media were assembled to hear his pearls of wisdom

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Unlike gemstones which are mined from the earth and then must be cut and polished to bring out their beauty, pearls are grown by live oysters, below the surface of the sea, and born complete.

A natural pearl begins its life as a foreign object becomes lodged in an oyster’s soft inner body where it cannot be expelled. The oyster responds by secreting a smooth, hard, crystalline substance (nacre) around the irritant in order to protect itself. Encasing the irritant with this silky, crystalline coating until a luminously elegant and lustrous gem, called a pearl, is formed.

How something so miraculous emerges, out of an oyster’s way of protecting itself, is one of nature’s loveliest surprises and explains how the pearl has come to symbolize wisdom acquired through experience.

While the most valuable pearls are perfectly round and smooth, many other interesting shapes also form and are known as Baroque pearls.

Baroque pearls, especially during the Renaissance times, have been valued for their sculptural inspiration. One example of this is the Canning Jewel, from the 16th century, which uses a large Baroque pearl as the body of a mermaid-esque figure.

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“The Canning Jewel is a sculptural pendant of the late Renaissance period, ascribed by some jewelry historians to Benvenuto Cellini, a celebrated sculptor, goldsmith, author and soldier of the Italian Renaissance. Around this period from the 15th to 17th centuries, baroque pearls in large quantities had reached the European markets, from the traditional pearl producing countries like the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and Gulf of Mannar, and also from the newly discovered pearl banks of the New World, in Venezuela, Colombia and Panama, but there was no demand for such pearls because of their irregular shapes, which would not fit into any type of existing jewelry at that time. Pearl dealers had large numbers of such irregular-shaped pearls in their stocks, not knowing what to do with their accumulated stocks. It was then that the enterprising jewelry craftsmen of the Renaissance period, came up with the idea, of incorporating these baroque pearls, together with other colored gemstones,  in various fancy shaped pendants; shapes that bore fruit in the fertile imagination of the craftsmen taking into consideration the unique shape of each baroque pearl. The result was a host of different pendants with a multitude of shapes such as animal and bird figures, bunches of flowers and fruits, monsters, dragons, mermaids and other mythical figures; the shape of the pendants being determined by the shape of the baroque pearls that were incorporated in them.” -http://www.internetstones.com/the-canning-jewel-india-viscount-earl.html

Today, Baroque pearls are a more affordable option than traditional, spherical pearls. And preferred by some for the way their irregular shapes inspire our imagination. But whatever your preference, from the spherical to the baroque, we’re sure you’ll enjoy our varied collection at Seven Sisters Gallery.

Morro Rock

Stretching from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo, a string of nine volcanic plugs sacred to the Chumash and Salinan indigenous peoples of our area, separates the Los Osos and Chorro Valleys and provides incredible views of green hills and beautiful cloud formations. IrishHills_panoramoThe Morros, as the small string of peaks is called, end with Morro Rock in Morro Bay. Seven Sisters Gallery choose it’s name in honor of the seven visible peaks (known as The Seven Sisters) within this string of peaks. Morro Rock, the most sacred of these plugs and the location where countless rituals have taken place over the years, lies just outside our door and is the inspiration for our unique signature line of Morro rock jewelry.

A steadfast refuge to creatures great and small, The Rock symbolizes sanctuary, groundedness, the sense of our empowerment to overcome obstacles and the return of cherished things which might have once seemed lost.

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“El Morro” was first named by the Spanish maritime explorer, Juan Rodriguez Castillo, when he saw it in 1542. But the Chumash and Salinan had been living around the rock since long before the Spanish explorers sited it. Both Native American tribes have been known to perform rituals on Morro Rock, including one prayer ritual by the Salinan that was said to ensure the return of the Sun after it had set.

Morro Rock SS - 14K Bracelet

In 1968 the rock was designated as a State Historical Landmark and since then, climbing the rock has been off limits to the public as it is a designated Peregrine Falcon sanctuary. The majestic raptors have nested on Morro Rock for centuries, and it was at one time one of the last remaining nesting sites in California when extensive use of DDT nearly drove the Falcons to extinction. Rehabilitation efforts since the ban of DDT have been successful in increasing Peregrine population once again, and it is now common to see the fastest animal in the world flying above the bay.

https://sites.coloradocollege.edu/indigenoustraditions/sacred-lands/morro-rock-ca/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morro_Rock

Elizabeth Ngo: Antique Button Jewelry

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Elizabeth Ngo creates jewelry from historical works of art. Perhaps you yourself own one of these tiny historical pieces, thrown into a jar or the back of a drawer. You might have one or two tucked under your sofa cushion. The button. The simple fastener that fastens material and memories and generations. How many of us remember hours of entertainment sifting through button collections? Enjoying the feel of running our fingers through a pile spilled onto the floor. Marveling at the variety and detail. Turning to our siblings to say, “look at this one!” So often, as I stand with a customer, picking up this piece and that of the Ngo collection, I hear a story tied to memories of our mothers, our grandmothers, our younger selves.

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The simple button carries a sort of sacred quality that transports us to another time. Elizabeth Ngo retains that quality by creating with great respect and attention to detail. With a profound reverence for the historical significance of each piece, she maintains the integrity of the button by leaving the shank in tack. Setting the buttons in finely worked and beautifully detailed sterling silver to create wonderfully balanced rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Adding details of Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones and the finest findings.

“I work mostly with the Victorian Glass, picturesque French Metals, carved pearls and hand painted enamel buttons from this period. They are all very unique works of art that speak about their time period. Preserving these buttons into unique pieces of jewelry is my way of putting the buttons back on the women.”

These elegant works of art reflect the era of the 1800’s in Europe. Whimsical characters, fleur de lis imagery, knights and battles, created with amazing enameling and intricate carving. Victorian glass, pearls and shells, ornate rhinestones and iridescent glass, all reflecting a time when art and history and handwork were highly revered. ring

The history of buttons goes back at least as far as the Satsumas, highly collectible ceramic buttons from Japan. Named for a historic ceramics center on the southernmost island of Japan, Satsumas were first made in the 17th century by Korean potters. These buttons were often painted in extraordinary detail, depicting miniature scenes from Japanese life and the natural world.

The brass picture buttons, which you’ll find in the Elizabeth Ngo collection, come from the Victorian era and are also highly collectible. Delightful pieces, stamped with charming images inspired by everything from operas to children’s books. Other picture buttons took their cues from nature (flora and fauna), the sciences (stars and moons), or mythology (cupids and fairies). 22-13-02

22-13-35Black glass buttons from the Victorian era came next. Initially, black buttons were made out of jet, a fossilized coal found near Whitby, England. But because of the high cost of jet, black glass was soon used as a replacement.

Some black glass buttons were molded to create reliefs of plants and animals, and detailed pictorials. Some of the buttons have reliefs of fabrics patterns; others have a stunning silver or iridescent luster. You might also find some that have been painted or enameled.

Explore our cases and join in discovering the stories behind these historical pieces. Once your inner sleuth is awoken, you might check out some of these great online resources to further your adventure:

Hammond Turner & Sons online collection: http://www.hammond-turner.com/

Keep Homestead online collection: http://keephomesteadmuseum.org/button.htm

The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A), London, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. They have an online button collection that you can view at: http://bit.ly/1rXwmIB

Field Guide to Antique Buttons and Vintage Glass http://www.grandmothersbuttons.com/Images/Interior/resources/gran_fieldguide_web2011.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puppet Alchemy

Despite it’s simplicity, the puppet is one of the most sophisticated transformational tools we can bring to our children’s lives.

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“Puppetry isn’t simply child’s play. While American audiences may be more familiar with hyperactive Sesame Street characters and a “Disneyfied” version of Pinocchio, the puppet in societies across the world has played the role of provocateur, historian, clairvoyant,and keeper of the faith, says Kenneth Gross in a new book, Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life (University of Chicago Press, 2011). From re-enacting sacred texts in Balinese shadow puppetry to mocking authority in England’s raucous Punch and Judy shows, puppets are masters of metamorphosis and often, mirrors of ourselves.”

“That part of us that finds life in objects is an aspect of the child’s imagination and instinct that is later hidden or sometimes let go of in adulthood. It’s something children are indeed more adept at, finding life and voice in objects. Puppets awaken that part of us. They bring a part of us back to play.”

http://www.rochester.edu/pr/Review/V74N5/pdf/0304_inrev_puppets.pdf

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Puppets have been used to help children open up about subjects that are difficult to face directly, by creating a simple scenario based on the child’s experience but set in a different context. Puppet therapy can be used to help children work though issues as simple as hurt feelings over a broken toy to losses as great as those experienced around natural disasters. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4416267.stm

“Puppets are one step away from being human and so there’s distance but at the same time we can identify with them.” –Dr Jones, a child psychiatrist with the International Medical Corps (IMC)

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While children will play without our involvement, there are many ways that we can engage. Thank you to www.gogivers.org for the list of the many ways that puppets can be used to work and play with children.

Puppets can…

· Model behaviors that teachers and parents want to promote

· Bring more reticent children out of their shells, and help everyone become more expressive

· Become ‘ambassadors’ as well as friends, introducing children to new topics

· Become a confidant for younger children – they may respond directly to the puppet when they are unwilling to converse with others directly.

· Encourage children who are learning English as a second language to ‘have a go’ if they feel hesitant because they are unsure of certain pronunciations or of exactly how to express themselves

· Support children with special needs, including those with attention deficits and visual and hearing impairments

· Role play strategies for resolving conflict

· Boost self esteem and to bring a sense of unity to the classroom or group of children.

· Provide an excellent way for children to work through their fears and vocalize their feelings

· Help children to settle into a new school

· Act as powerful communication tools. Talking about their ideas helps children clarify their thinking and develops their reasoning skills

· Access a world of imagination and fun for children

This Holiday season, consider a toy that is guaranteed to carry the spirit of the season and to bring joy and wonder to young and old. Come into Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay and let us help you find the perfect puppet to add to or start your collection.

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The Art of Autism

Autism is gaining increased public attention thanks, in part, to the work of Debra Hosseini and the exhibitions she has designed to bring focus to some of the extraordinary artwork being done by artists challenged with autism and to serve as a resource to assist those artists in pursuing their artistic endeavors. We are happy to host this work at Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay from May 12-April 7.

One of those artists, who will be exhibiting his pieces in the current show, is Jason Cantu. We asked Jason to say a little about one of his marvelous pen and ink drawings, “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance.” Here’s what he had to say:

All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance 11x14 by Jason Cantu - printThe original version of the picture that you see here was a pen and ink drawing; the artwork is called “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance”, based on the 1969 John Lennon hit song of the same name. My picture is an interpretation of an acrylic painting done by Charlene Chauvaux, who was a good friend of our family. Charlene made a painting of a white dove against a blue sky, to symbolize her feelings of thankfulness that the Vietnam War had ended, and peace had finally come. When Charlene passed away recently, we inherited her painting as a gift from her family. My original interpretation of the painting was made as a birthday gift for my dad; he was having back problems at the time. I made my drawing as my way of giving him a symbol of peaceful healing, protection, and a symbol that would keep him safe.

Although this picture only took me an hour to actually draw it, the picture is actually a culmination of hours of thorough preparation, determination, and good, hard work. The degree of the different areas of darkness in my picture; is achieved by how often and/or how hard I drew the picture, in order to symbolize the feathered texture of the dove.

The areas in which the ink is the heaviest, is where the shadows fell the most heavily on the dove; the areas in which the ink is lighter, is where the sunlight shines the most brightly on the dove.

When I looked at the dove, I was visualizing a bird; frozen in flight as though it had been captured in a photograph at an exact moment in time. I drew motion lines around the bird to simulate that the bird had been moving and/or was going to keep moving even though it was on a drawing.

In all my drawings/paintings that I have made over years of practice, I have made a habit of choosing to make pictures of subjects that interest me. The painting of a dove really interested me, and I wanted to draw what I was seeing. I feel that I have a real talent for making art, and as long as there are people who are interested in what I make, I will continue to make art. I like to make art that other people find interesting; that’s why I’m an artist.

Jason Cantu will be showing his work at Seven Sisters Gallery, from April 12-May 7, as part of our new exhibit, “A Spectrum of Music-Art”, which features the art of artists on the autism spectrum. You can also find his work at SevenSistersGalleryCA.com

Seven Sisters Gallery is located at: 601 Embarcadero # 8, Morro Bay, CA
For more information Call us at: (805) 772-9955