‘Favorite Places’ to Feature Photography, Gourd Art

Jeri Burzin’s photograph of La Morada in Abiquiu, New Mexico.
Jeri Burzin’s photograph of La Morada in Abiquiu, New Mexico.
Michael’s Custom Jewelry in downtown Visalia may be one of your favorite places for beautiful jewelry and unique jewelry designs, cleaning and repair. Now it may also become a favorite place for viewing art and meeting local artists as well, since Michael’s has joined the growing number of businesses that are enhancing the community and their business by adding local artwork to their location. Michael’s began hosting Main Gallery artists in November, and starting January 3, Toni Best and I will be exhibiting our art at this venue.

Toni has become well known for her beautiful and unique gourds, and specializes in pine needle coiling that may be adorned with any number of unique items including feathers, elk horns, beads and more. Toni teaches classes at her studio in Visalia, and is involved with the upcoming “Baskets and Gourds, Containers of Our Culture” conference that is held every two years in Visalia. The conference offers many classes in various techniques of basketry with teachers coming to Visalia from all over the country. The next conference is April 25-27, when participants will get the chance to listen to the keynote speaker, Flo Hoppe from Syracuse, New York, who will share her weaving art during the conference.

I have been taking photographs since the early 90s and fell in love with both the Southwest and Yosemite during my travels. Abiquiu, New Mexico, is home to incredible vistas where Georgia O’Keefe painted, and Ghost Ranch, a spectacular ranch with wonderful hikes and workshops offered year round, where she lived. A visit through O’Keefe’s studio provided a wonderful peek into her controversial life. This area has become one of my “favorite places,” along with Yosemite, which is also home to incredible beauty. Images of these special places, which also include Vernal Falls, the Valley Floor, iconic Half Dome and some of the beautiful summer flowers, will also be on display.

Main Gallery began as an art gallery on Main Street in Visalia and has since been transformed into an innovative, collaborative group of artists, committed to enhancing the community with their art-making. Via both group and solo exhibitions at many different venues, we feature a wide variety of art media including acrylic, oil, watercolor, photography, collage, ceramics, stained glass, mixed media and gourds. During First Friday on January 3, between 5-7pm, visitors will have the opportunity to meet the artists, enjoy refreshments and artwork. The exhibit runs through March 1.

Michael’s Custom Jewelry is located at 316 W Main St. in Visalia. For more information, visit www.maingalleryvisalia.com.

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