James Ratliff Gallery’s second annual Jewelry Extravaganza opens Friday, Feb. 2, from 5 to 8 p.m., at James Ratliff Gallery, Hillside Sedona, 671 State Route 179, Suites A1 and A2. This exhibition, featuring the work of Sandra Den Hartog, Sally Peck and Adriana Walker, will continue through Sunday, Feb. 18.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Jewelry Extravaganza offers one-of-a-kind memorable gifts for loved ones or yourself. The three styles represented differ significantly so they will provide choices as well as beauty and creativity.
Sandra Den Hartog’s creations have their genesis in her childhood fascination with and love of pretty rocks. As a child she always made it a habit to carry a bag or small pail with her as she played and took walks so she would have a way to carry these “special” rocks home with her. So today’s classy Zanzibar Jewelry Collection had its impetus way back to her childhood. In high school, she took classes in geology and gemology. Then marriage and raising children intervened so jewelry making had to wait its turn.
“It was as a result of traveling that my interest in gems and minerals was once again sparked,” Den Hartog said. “It is hard to believe how stones/rocks change from country to country. In bringing back Ethiopian crosses from Africa, I made our daughters and granddaughters necklaces with the crosses. I was hooked. First thing you know I was on a mission. I just loved it and everyone else seemed to also. That encouraged me even more.”
Over the years, her jewelry has been juried into various shows where she’s won several first, second and third place awards plus an award of merit. As she said, “The rest is all history.”
Sally Peck retired to Sedona in 1991 following a 30-year career teaching art in public schools.
“I took beading classes to refresh my memory of an art learned as a Campfire Girl,” Peck said. “I have beaded over 300 pieces of wearable art, not to mention many, many fabulous, fully beaded pieces of jewelry.”
Peck’s designs are her own — no two are alike — and all are hand-worked. Her jewelry designs are made from natural materials including metals, glass, shells, stones, vintage items and semi-precious gems. Over the last several decades, she has won many national, state and local awards for her beading skills.
“Making jewelry is more than a hobby — it is an exciting obsession,” she said.
Adriana Walker, of Italian/Croatian/Adriatic heritage, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and her artistic talent was meticulously cultivated by her parents’ devotion to the arts and international travel from their child’s earliest days. Even now, she recalls an incident from her childhood: Bartering with a Greek vendor in Athens’ plaka for a vase she coveted.
Which came first: The businesswoman or the artist? They synergistically developed as Walker continued to explore cultures of the world, its arts — especially papier mache, batik, soldering, fiber and watercolor. Study led to teaching and subsequent introduction into the world of fused glass. She reflects that her innate knowledge of the wet in wet of watercolor most likely contributed to her fascination with the colors and textures she achieves in making glass.
“Wet in wet is a technique used in watercolor painting in which you drop wet color on to very wet paper, letting osmosis move and blend the colors — always exciting since you cannot precisely control or predict the outcome,” she said. “To enjoy this process you have to have an innate feeling for color mixing and are able to ‘go with the flow.’”
She awakens the glass through “raking” to give it a certain look.
“Raking is a technique used in fused glass to manipulate and mix the glass in order for the colors to not only combine but become three-dimensional through the one-quarter inch thickness of the glass making it more organic and natural looking,” Walker said.
Who knows what’s most exciting about working in glass? Is it the 1500-degree fired kiln, placement, firing, stirring, pulling the taffy-like work in progress, refiring three or four times until it becomes opalescent, breaking glass into pieces? What type of satisfaction results from rising in the deep of the night to explore containers of stones, findings, pieces which speak to a design in progress? Is there a detachment that enables Walker to let these creations evolve,
Walker’s jewelry is evocative of the universe — its breadth and depth; its cultures and struggles; its beauty and the magic of natural creation; its suggestive patchwork effect. Organic and ethnic motifs thrust the wearer into a connected cosmos and contrast with works of sculptured roses or pearls. Retro 1950s jewelry recasting suggest more recent styles from the past and are reinterpreted through her sense of design.
Each piece of hers has its own signature of design and is made to be worn.
“As I walk into my studio, there are a lot of unfinished pieces,” Walker said. “I can never do the same thing twice and I don’t want to. The only thing I don’t do is simple and delicate. Each necklace is unique within itself but each piece is universal.”
Call 282-1404, email FineArt@jamesratliffgallery.com or visit jamesratliffgallery.com for further information about Jewelry Extravaganza or the James Ratliff Gallery.