15th annual event now open in La Cumbre Plaza
Among the unique gifts by local artisans at “A Crimson Holiday,” which will take place 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at La Cumbre Plaza, are wooden bowls and cutting boards made from trees that were trimmed, removed or fallen by Chris Hansen of Santa Ynez Valley and Scott Bruhn of Santa Barbara.
“Most of the wood I use is from trees that were once part of the urban forest here in Santa Ynez Valley and have been turned by me on the lathe in my shop. I say most because I collect wood while visiting other parts of the country,” said Mr. Hansen, who calls his business Fallen Tree Art.
“My philosophy of Fallen Tree Art, and hence its name, is to try and only turn pieces from trees that have already been felled and are destined to be taken to the landfill or used as firewood. I do not go out and select trees for cutting just so I can have some wood to make my bowls.
“One of the trees came from a backyard in Buellton whose owner needed the space to change the landscaping of his property. Some came from a walnut farmer in Lompoc who cut down the 40-plus trees that were dying and had become non-producers in their old age.
“While I do call them works of art, many of my bowls are also intended for daily use as salad bowls, fruit bowls or whatever and could be called functional art,” he said.
Mr. Bruhn said the wood for his cutting boards and bowls is salvaged locally, including some pieces from the Montecito debris flow.
“My process is to collect the salvaged or downed wood, cut it down to size and shape, dry the wood and polish, polish and polish some more, then finish the piece,” said Mr. Bruhn, whose relationship with woodworking began in high school. “I took a woodworking class and fell in love. I have also worked with wood in construction since I was 14 years old.
“My finishes on my boards, utensils and bowls are all natural and food safe. I use mineral oil, beeswax and lemon oil. This is a long process which shows in the perfection of my finished work.”
More than 40 artists and artisans are represented at the 15th annual “A Crimson Holiday” through Jan. 7 at the former Tiffany & Co. location in La Cumbre Plaza.
To “Celebrate the Season of Giving” from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7, the participants will offer gift certificates to be raffled off to customers, according to Marilyn Dannehower, the driving force behind the holiday event and the creator of MAD Dreams Jewelry Design, which includes gemstone, crystal and pearl jewelry and mosaics.
Besides Ms. Dannehower, Mr. Hansen and Mr. Bruhn, other featured artists for 2021 include Margaret George and Barbara Burgos, quilting, bags and fabric arts; Royanna Robertson, hand knit children’s items and watercolor prints; Helen Heising, contemporary silver and copper jewelry; Donnalynne Shaw; hand painted glassware and lamps; Lila Sander; knitted scarves, shawls, hats and gloves; Diane Reese; fabric arts, pillows, tablecloths and runners; Donna Greene; new watercolor prints and luxury personal care products; and Karen Varela, whimsical fused glass art.
Jack Bailey’s passion is creating lightweight ceramic pieces that are comfortable to use, satisfying to hold and beautiful to look at.
“All forms are turned by hand from a lump of clay, trimmed, fired, hand-dipped in glaze and fired again to 2,300 degrees in a propane kiln. Many pieces experience reduced oxygen in the second firing, which gives them more rich organic, earthy colors often with speckled appearance,” said Mr. Bailey.
“A signature of my work is partial to no glazing (coloring) on the exterior of the forms. I find beauty in the juxtaposition of the shiny and matte glazes and the raw ceramic surface,” he said.
With names like “Murray the Squirm ” and “Fanny Reinhardt,” the Underworld Stuffies made by Ally Bortolazzo are as odd as they are charming. The handmade “mixed-up” stuffed animals are sewn entirely from upcycled plush toys.
“Each creature is a hand stitched amalgamation of many different animal parts,” said Ms. Bortolazzo, a surf instructor who also loves drawing, sculpture and woodworking.
Melinda Salmen chose the name Mariposa Bags for her company “because mariposa is Spanish for butterfly, and I feel that the metamorphosis of the butterfly parallels with a metamorphosis of creating a beautiful bag.
“Like the butterfly, there is a transformation from one form to a completely different one in several stages. Choosing a pattern design, fabric and hardware. Cutting out pattern pieces and sewing them together. Turning the bag right side out to reveal the beautiful bag!”
Established to provide people with a natural, no-nonsense solution to finding the cleanest bath and body care products, Salty Brothers Soap Co. is the creation of William Smariga.
“My handcrafted, cold-processed soaps are free of palm oil, glycerin, synthetic and irritating ingredients to form a natural sunscreen which will convert even the most die-hard conventional sunscreen loyalist to the natural side,” said Mr. Smariga. “They are made with love locally in Santa Barbara, where the ingredients are as beautiful and refreshing as the people who live here.”