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May 13, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, May 13, 2005

A La Carte & Art a visual feast A La Carte & Art a visual feast (May 13, 2005)

Downtown Mountain View's A La Carte & Art is the place to be if you want to find fine, one-of-a-kind handmade arts and crafts. More than 250 artists from throughout the West will be on hand at the festival, which takes place May 21-22 on Castro Street. Stroll among the well-stocked booths filled with breathtaking photography, shimmering glass vessels, functional ceramics, wood carvings, exotic jewelry, silk clothing, leather goods, original jazz music and much more. Sculpture and Mixed Media

Michael Adams and his wife Carolyn will be bringing beautiful hand-made pottery from their studio in Guerneville, including wheel-thrown stoneware dishes, hand-painted vases and their signature ceramic colanders. Besides wheel-thrown pottery, the couple also creates delicate porcelain vases, oval platters and bowls made from original molds.

Festivalgoers will also find graceful hand-carved wood pieces by Bob Allen of Morgan Hill. Allen works with redwood and buckeye burl, a type of wood with a highly irregular grain. He creates boxes, bowls and dry flower vases, each carefully carved and polished to accentuate the natural characteristics of the wood. Danville artist Sarah Lindsay melts and flattens wine bottles to make unusual wall hangings and hors d'oeuvre trays. Labels are removed and reapplied. Her favorite is made from cobalt blue Italian glass.

For something truly rare, visit San Mateo artist Steven Albaranes, who creates his artwork from exotic butterflies mounted in attractive acrylic boxes. The largest pieces can have more than 150 individual butterflies, making a stunning wall display. Functional Art

Fun and functional, the gorgeous glass-beaded millefleur bottle corkers by Santa Rosa artist Fred Albrecht fit a variety of bottles from wine to vinegar and olive oils. Kathy Fretwell of Auburn fashions hand-crafted picture frames from wood, glass and dried flowers. The frames look like windows, she says, and take on the color of the wall behind, making your room part of the artwork. Fretwell can customize the frames at the show and has fashioned pieces out of wedding bouquets, pressed flowers from a trip, or anything else to help her customers create a meaningful memento.

Dramatic stone clocks by Jim Mindy of Phoenix, Ariz., are guaranteed to become the focal point of almost any room. Made out of granite, marble and slate, these large clocks are between two and eight feet tall and come in a variety of shapes and styles, from abstract to contemporary. Even Gov. Schwarzenegger couldn't resist one of these clocks! Wearable Art

Keep the sun from your eyes with a hand-sewn visor from Sue Brendlen, also known as the "Visor Lady." These comfortable visors come in a variety of styles and are very popular for golfers, gardeners, tennis players and anyone else out enjoying the summer sun.

Kavita Singh of Saratoga has put her talent to work creating breathtaking hand-painted silk clothing and accessories, from dramatic ruanas to flowing scarves. Her original designs are also available as mounted wall hangings and fashionable T-shirts. San Jose jeweler Elizabeth Hull turns trash into treasure, creating charming necklaces, earrings, pins and wall hangings from recycled tin, copper, Plexiglas, buttons and other discarded "junk." It's amazing what Hull can do with such ordinary things. Each piece is an original, and very easy to wear. And for a bit of fun, treat yourself to a custom-fitted toe ring from Robin Cohen's Once Upon a Toe or a unique pendant hand-cut from a genuine coin by Sunnyvale jeweler Terry Clift. Fine Art

The original paintings and photography at the festival will whisk you away to every corner of the globe. Panoramic landscapes from photographer Jim Guthrie of Sunnyvale portray unique places that are seldom photographed, places where people usually only dream of going. Original batik paintings by African artist Paul Nzalamba reflect the color and vibrancy of his native Uganda in his portrayal of simple village life: women walking to the well with pots on their heads, a mother and child dancing, or a group of farmers preparing the field.

For something a little closer to home, visit the booth of Etty Klinger, whose serene watercolors of lush vineyards, rugged cliffs and gently rolling hills capture the peaceful beauty of California's Central Coast. Napa artist Gianna Marino uses a rich, heavy watercolor paint called gouache to portray playful puffins, dancing cranes, bathing hippos and other natural scenes. And Locke Heemstra of San Mateo prints his gorgeous photographs of Europe directly on canvas using a process called giclee, producing large, archival-quality images with such brilliant velvety colors and crisp contrasts that they are often mistaken for original oil paintings.

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