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Nevada County’s local artists come together for juried art show and sale

Laura Brown
Special to The Union
Renee Sprattling works on her pottery in her Nevada City studio Tuesday. Sprattling will be among the artists featured at this weekend's 10th annual Banner Mountain Artisans Holiday Show and Sale.
John Hart/jhart@theunion.com | The Union


WHAT: Banner Mountain Artisans 10th annual Holiday show and sale

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3

WHERE: Nevada City Elks Lodge, Highway 49, Nevada City

TICKETS: Free admission

INFO: http://www.bmanc.com

Retired English teacher Karen Lilly has been an artist all her life. These days, she creates intricate colored pencil paintings of California wildflowers and animals on dried gourds.

“I love the surface of the gourd. It has all those beautiful curves,” Lilly said of the “curvilinear” nature of her natural canvas.

Lilly is among 31 local artists and craftspeople selling their wares during the 10th annual Banner Mountain Artisans Show and Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Nevada City Elks Lodge, Nevada City.

“It’s a wonderful show. We have so many great artists,” Lilly said.

This is her third year participating in the show — a cooperative of sorts among artists who pool their money together to rent the venue and divvy up duties required to organize the event.

Ten years ago, fiber artist Joan Unter asked 16 artisans from Grass Valley, Penn Valley and Nevada City to offer their artwork for a holiday show at six homes in Banner Mountain. Each year, the number of artists grew, and by 2007, the show had outgrown the neighborhood.

By 2008, the show, hosted the first weekend of November, had moved to the Nevada City’s Elks Lodge, a setting that attracts up to 2,000 people each year.

“It keeps growing because of the incredible reputation and demand from the Nevada County community … Nevada County has an inordinately high level of extremely capable artists and artisans. This show is the best of the best,” said local woodworker Bill Juhl.

“Since we all live locally, Banner Mountain Artisans keeps jobs and revenue right here in Nevada County,” said founder Joan Unter.

The all-local juried holiday show made up of award-winning artists features artwork and crafts such as painted furniture and home decor, photography, blown glass, woodworking, watercolor, stained glass, jewelry, teddy bears, mosaics, paper, oils, tiles, fiber art, handmade soaps, pottery, decorated gourds and more.

Re-use artist Martha Jones will be there selling items made from objects that most people throw away — discarded satellite dishes become birdbaths adorned in a mosaic with salvaged tiles, terracotta water pipes become garden columns and junk mail becomes collages.

Jones also participates in the Miners Foundry Artisans Festival, Double Oak Winery Fall Harvest and the North Columbia Cultural Center’s Holiday Fair. It’s her sixth year with Banner Mountain Artisans.

“I believe one way this show stands out from others is that there are no duplicate artisans. If a jewelry artist works with silver in a particular style, then another artist within the same medium and style would not be juried in. No repeats,” she said.

Local stained glass artist Thad Little will be at the show with functional slumped and fused glass housewares such as spoon trivets, soap dishes, jewelry boxes, candle holders and decorative plates.

“I joined Banner Mountain Artisans because I felt that they had really created a fantastic group of diverse and prolific local artists, and I wanted to be part of that group,” he said.

“The jurying process is strict and accepts not only the absolute best of each category but also assures that there is a balance of art that is on display — representations of a broad range of art forms — something for everyone,” said Juhl, president of Gold Country Woodturners and a woodworker for 50 years.

Juhl makes a combination of fine art wooden vessels to functional items such as salad bowls, cutting boards and utensils, all turned from ordinary looking chunks of wood.

Another woodworker, Randy Millert of Nevada City, will be at the show with his carved wall hangings made from myrtlewood, redwood burl, curley maple and black walnut. This is his sixth year at the show.

“This show is really unique with a wide variety of very talented artists,” Millert said.

Parking and admission to the show is free.

Learn more at: http://bmanc.com.

Contact freelance writer Laura Brown at 913-3067 or laurabrown323@gmail.com.

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