My mom and I went to a craft fair the other day. “Don’t worry, it won’t be toilet paper cover crafts,” I told her beforehand referencing the crocheted bathroom decor from the 1970s.
I was imagining a roomful of ultra-hip homemade items like those I peruse on the Etsy website. The first thing we saw when we walked in the door was crocheted doilies. Let’s just say that’s not hip, and I have a lifetime supply of doilies passed down from my grandmothers.
We weren’t discouraged, since we had another sale in our back pocket — the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art CraftArt Market. No google-eye crafts here, just high-end gift items made by local artists ready to put under the tree. Take a look through New Year’s Eve.
Be prepared to spend a bit of extra time at the museum, because your eyes won’t let you settle for a quick shopping trip. Bees, butterflies and colorful textiles jump out in the first floor galleries.
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The “Liquid Amber” exhibit in the First Gallery looks like the work of honeybees, but the encaustic works are the creation of Mission Hills artist Josie Rodriguez. I have seen encaustic paintings created with hot wax and pigments before, specifically Los Osos artist Flo Bartell’s, but encaustic vessels and sculpture are new to me. Rodriguez uses the art and science of honeybees for inspiration to create pieces that need to be seen up close and in person.
The pastel butterflies in the gallery around the corner continue the nature theme. Janine Kirkpatrick, a Templeton artist who died in October, illustrated endangered butterflies using a microscope. The “Rare and Endangered” exhibit features the 13 California butterflies on the Federal Endangered Species list. It is a lovely collection.
Forty-four wall hangings by members of Tapestry Weavers West fill out the rest of the Gray Wing. The “Wow!” factor is off the charts. The variety of colors, fibers, textures and designs is satisfying alone, and then you find additional wonder in the time, patience and commitment involved.
These three exhibits are on display through Dec. 29 and paintings by Nico Vandenheuvel will be in the upstairs McMeen Gallery through Feb. 2. I remember especially liking the Cayucos artist’s entry in the Painters Group 2013 Brushstrokes exhibit. It’s no wonder it won Best of Show, which led to this show featuring 25 of his realistic, cubist, and abstract paintings from 1947 to the present.
IF YOU GO
What: Four exhibits and a CraftArt Market Gallery
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Tuesday; Shows run through Dec. 29; Nico Vandenheuvel show through Feb. 6
Where: San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, 1010 Broad St., San Luis Obispo