Goliath meets his match

Here in Santa Rosa, the power of public art stands tall.  Thanks in no small part to the passionate support of the community and the creatives who live here,Santa Rosa is an evolving a city of art that seems to spring from the powerful passions and vibrant imaginations of our residents.

Want a recent example? Dig this incredible mural that appeared just a few weeks ago in Roseland.

Inclined to paint and always looking for ways to activate their world, Roseland residents and mural artists MJ Lindo Lawyer and her husband Joshua Lawyer set out six months ago to change the face of their neighborhood with a head-turning mural. A unique twist on the David and Goliath motif, the piece represents, for them, a giant interpretation of Good vs. Evil.

Designed by Joshua and painted by Joshua, MJ and their friend Hepos, the mural, funded by MidPen Housing and Artstart, lives on a 60′ x 22′ wall on the outside of the Roseland Hardware building, in the cultural hub of Sebastopol Rd.

The building, owned by the Sonoma County Community Development Commission, is slated for demolition in a year or two as they plan to build-out downtown Roseland. When asked about the building’s impending demise, MJ said, “It is a bummer that it won’t last forever but, for now, we wanted to create something that we could see every day.”

You can see it every day, too, while it lasts. Follow their growing collection and swing by their other mural on Santa Rosa Ave. at the Groth motor site, cuz that one is there to stay.

The Santa Rosa Cider Sipper

You already know about Santa Rosa’s booming beer scene. And wine, well, you don’t have to go very far to find the vines in this town. But here’s a cocktail concoction that’s pure SR. The Santa Rosa Cider Sipper is a cool, fresh-tasting, refreshing delight on a warm Central SoCo day. In fact, let’s work up a little thirst so we can truly enjoy it. Instead of just passing on the recipe, we’re taking you on the Cider Sipper tour.

Recipe by:
Marcia Simmons

Debbie Wilson

• Start by moseying on down to your favorite specialty beverage store and grab a bottle of FoxCraft Hard Cider (we recommend Cranberry, but feel free to dabble with their other flavors.) These new world style hard ciders have been sweeping the award circuits.

• From there, it’s just a jaunt to the Miracle Plum neighborhood market in Railroad Square. Ask the good people there for a bottle of Golden Bear Bitters California Native Plants Aromatic Bitters. Then have a sniff to take in the essence of coastal woodlands.

• If you don’t have a box of sugar cubes buried on the back shelf, grab those at a nearby grocer and hustle home.

First, make sure your porch chairs are dry and there’s a comfy spot in the sun to hang out.

Then grab a couple of champagne flutes and put a sugar cube in the bottom.

Pour in just enough bitters to saturate the cube. Then take another whiff. Amazing, right?

Okay, here’s the final step.

Pop that bottle of FoxCraft and pour the hard cider carefully to create the fizzy head of bubbles, known as the mousse in the hoity champagne circles. 

Add a tiny twist of lemon.

If you want a little more kick, drop in a few drips of brandy or whiskey.

Now head out into the warm day and get started doing very little besides savoring your Santa Rosa Cider Sipper and soaking up the sunshine.

SR Artbook

Part local artist showcase, part sketchbook, part writing journal, great gift and stellar stocking stuffer, SketchSR is a way cool way to celebrate and support the wide range of amazing visual artists here in Santa Rosa.

Featured SRrtists:

Bud Snow • Catherine Sieck • Mica Shea Jennings • Ruth Alison Donovan • Todd Barricklow • Ryan Taylor • Wil Smith

Artists Profiles

We’ll be featuring each artist on this page over the next few weeks, so check back regularly.

Artist: Bud Snow

Bud Snow is a Mural Painter, Public Artist, and Photographer. As a young person, traveling with a small circus, performing with fire, on stilts, and inside puppets gave her…”a freedom of expression that got into my bones.” She likes to work outside.

Artist: Catherine Sieck

“The pieces in this journal are cut from paper with an exacto blade, and are from Summer 2017, a time of cactus blooms, harvest, heat, and birdsong.”

Catherine Sieck

Catherine is an artist, storyteller, farmer and ceramicist born and raised in Sonoma County. She lives out in the Laguna de Santa Rosa, farms for Community Soil Foundation in Larkfield, and has a studio at 33arts in Roseland. Her work in the studio, often intricate narrative paper cut-outs, is fueled by her work in gardens watching the life/death/life cycle unfold. Her work seeks to be an antidote to death-phobia, a celebration of the richness to be found when death is honored and woven back in with life.

Artist: Todd Barricklow

“These images are a continued exploration of the iconic representation of objects around us, appreciation for the tools that our minds can design and our hands can hold as well as my enduring fascination with the automobile.”

Todd Barricklow 

Todd grew up in a house where things were built and repaired with the materials of puppet making, school teaching, and a depression-era necessity for frugality. String and sticks eventually lead to metal and clay which is what he works in today. His work ranges from ceramic sculpture and metalwork to commercial design and fabrication. He lives in the Roseland area of Santa Rosa.

Artist: Mica Shea Jennings

Title: Goats Tarot

Mica Jennings

Mica is a painter, illustrator, designer, and 30-year resident of Santa Rosa. “Goats Tarot” is an invitation to accept the inherent wisdom, symbolism, and relentless strangeness offered to us by nature.

Artist: Ryan Taylor

Quote: Until the world improves, live in your own. 

Ryan Taylor

Plastic front door clings strategically placed over holes in drywall. Graves of pets adorned with crosses made by children.Foundations of sheds built at night warping come daybreak. Playsets built with the best intentions overgrown and forgotten. Mamosa trees grow through gravel. Lawnmowers with flat tires, a permanent circle in the front yard from a dog on a chain.A mother stands in front of a dryer.A mom asleep snoring softly in a recliner.The first gallon of paint is open and rolled over 80s wallpaper.The ashes of a never met uncle are found in the trunk of a jeep sitting on cinder blocks. Snow shovels are the most accessible tool in the tool shed.Paintings are nailed into wood panels that belong to dead friends. Birthday cake candles are never blown out by one person. The deli up the street gives out pizza coupons now. Used to be a movie rental spot with a shakeable claw machine. Bologna and soda is a guarantee in a house with history. A home.

Artist: William Smith

“Characters and archetypes have always been front and center in my work. These characters are inspired by the folly of human behavior. In addition, I have been exploring the “still image” in motion. These are a tribute to my cartoon influences and love for animation and the graphic image in general.”

William Smith

William’s emphasis on printmaking stems from his time as a printer and technician at Aurobora Press in San Francisco throughout the late 90’s and early 2000’s. His current work has been shown across the United States and South America. Currently residing in Santa Rosa, CA, William teaches part-time at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Artist: Ruth Alison Donovan
Title: “Intention and Reflection”
Medium: Pen and Ink series

“This body of work is a continuation of my illustrations that represent a free flowing process and whimsical imagery. I create them as an expression of my world within, and they tell stories of my own human experience, both in the physical and ethereal realm.”

Ruth Alison Donovan
As the owner and co-founder of The Beluga and Bee Studio, formerly known as Studio 24/10, Ruth is an illustrator, painter, curator and logo designer residing in Santa Rosa’s West End Neighborhood Of Santa Rosa. Her space has hosted group shows for many of Santa Rosa’s young and aspiring artists since 2008.

Shop Arty

With the season of gift-giving (and therefore buying) in full swing, we would be remiss if we didn’t give you some shopping ideas. And who better to point your hard-earned dollars toward than our local artists at the annual Shop Party?

On Sunday, December 18th, Santa Rosa’s annual Shop Party once again gathers together some incredible artists and makers in one spot to make your shopping easier.

Shop Party started in 2010 when friends Meredith Jayne Lenci and Olivia Browning saw the need for an outlet for creative types to sell their work to the community. “Buying a gift from one of these vendors literally puts food on some of our neighbors’ tables,” said Lenci. “That feels like a small victory to me.”

Here are just a few dynamic examples of the massive amounts of handcrafted talent to be found:

Jo Collins, owner of Mojo Soaps, likes to live a bit on the edge, and her badass soaps show it. “I almost always make my soap barefoot (safety be damned) in my kitchen with punk rock on louder than my neighbors would like – I give them soap to forgive me,” said Collins. “What I love about cold-process soap making is that it’s a combination of chemistry and art, and it’s just a little bit dangerous (lye can burn!). Precise measurement is important, just like in baking, but experimentation is fun and some of my favorite soaps have been “accidents”.”

For over 10 years Jo, who is also a personal trainer and bartender here in Santa Rosa, has been mastering the art of soap making using organic vegetable and essential oils, as well as natural colorants. Specializing in beer and coffee soaps – which means basically I’m done with my holiday shopping because she’s rocking all of the perfect things all at the same time – Mojo also makes beard oils, beard balms, solid lotion bars, lip scrubs, lip balm and whatever other body products intrigue her at the moment. “I used to buy handmade soap wherever I could find it and then begged until I found someone willing to teach me how to do it myself,” she said. “I began gifting my soaps to friends, family and clients, and gradually began selling it.”

Karen Silberg of Karen Silberg Ceramics, spins out some gorgeous pottery in her home studio. “The first time I touched clay was almost 4 years ago during a time when I really needed my heart to be filled. I poured myself into it, making friends and creating timeless functional pieces.”

Since that time, Karen has taken her passion out into the world using Periscope, a live video streaming website and app which allows her thousands of followers to watch her work on the wheel in real time, as well as interact and ask questions. After being gifted a ‘Karen’ mug several years ago and buying another recently, I can say with hot-drink confidence that she 100 percent makes the perfect mug. You should pick up a few for grandma, for dad, for me…I mean, whoever comes to mind. No pressure.

Gina Glomb of Talking Tree Designs is a self-taught metalsmith and jeweler who has worked with feathers, beads, recycled brass, leather, and more over the past several years, focusing now more on silver, gold and gemstones. Having slowly built her own metal studio piece by piece using any profits she made from selling her unique jewelry, Gina is thrilled and grateful for all of the trials and errors that have come along with making art.

“Many late nights and early mornings trying to balance being a mother/wife/artist has not been easy, but it has been worth it,” said Glomb. “Sure, there are callouses, cuts, burns and blisters. There are stones that crack at the last possible moment and ruin your whole project. But I am fully aware of the magic in this life every time I can create with my hands what I see in my mind. It is even more incredible when my vision is accepted by others!”

Finally, we mustn’t forget the florals. Venn Floral specializes in natural, expressive, garden-inspired creations using environmentally responsible floral design. Committed to sourcing the finest quality sustainable materials with which to manifest their gorgeous works of art, Sonoma County natives Heather Frye and Camille Rowan-White work closely with local farmers and gardeners. While their work is most often found at events and weddings, they do sometimes participate in pop-up sales and workshops as well. For these they branch out (see what I did there?) to create original works inspired by their obsession for plants, and informed by their art practices.

“You might say we have an insatiable curiosity for the natural world,” Frye said, “and are always looking to incorporate that in our work…naturally. Ha!” (The ‘ha’ was hers and, given my love of ‘ha’s’, I felt it was only proper to include it). Driftwood, dried flowers and mossy branches are some of the favorite materials being used this time of year.

At Shop Party, expect to find barnwood boxes – hand-built by the ladies – to use as centerpieces, mantles, welcome displays, or anything else you find yourself in need of a barnwood box for. Also air plants, wreaths and other long-lasting decorative botanical creations.

“Many of our designs are meant to span the seasons, and can be used as decoration throughout the year – no expiration date!”

This year’s Shop Party is supporting Food Not Bombs, a vital organization that makes free hot meals and serves them in downtown Santa Rosa, to anyone in need, every Sunday evening. So, stop by to shop, to snack, to compliment your local artist, and to feel good about every second of it.

Shop Party – December 18th, 11am – 3pm at the Saturday Afternoon Club, 430 10th Street, Santa Rosa, 95401

Food Not Bombs – Sundays 5 – 7 Prince Gateway Park