The Wrightwood Arts & Wine Festival is coming up soon, and as if the musicians, poets, and food vendors weren’t enough, three dozen talented artists are getting ready to display and sell their original works. From glass-blown pieces to handmade jewelry to acrylic paintings to textile art to handcrafted goats milk soaps, there is truly something for every art lover to enjoy. Many of the artists will be selling their unique pieces, giving visitors the opportunity to own one-of-a-kind offerings.
Amber Calderilla, a.k.a CraftyMantis, is a fiber and textile artisan born and raised in the Inland Empire. Her current artistic style is an evolution of the traditional works of making functional and decorative pieces, like blankets and clothing, that the women of her family have made for generations. Her work has been seen in galleries and artisan events throughout Southern California. She creates freeform crochet fiber art, such as functional crocheted pouches, necklaces, and bottle slings rendered to look like fruits and vegetable, among other pieces.
Jenny Gagnon was a first-grade teacher for many years. During the last few years of her career, she discovered a passion for gourd art. Reflecting on her process, she explains, “I start by selecting a gourd that has the shape that corresponds to the original design I want to implement … I use a mini jigsaw with a foot pedal to neatly cut the gourd open. I want the interior to be a special space. After cleaning the interior with sanding balls, I have learned through trial and error to use modeling paste to create a smooth interior. I finish by painting the exterior, and putting a couple of clear coats so that the gourd can be handled and preserved.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Mary Duman realized that she required two things to feel balanced and excited about living. When everything else fell away, she held onto what really mattered and that was hiking in the mountains with her dog and doing ceramics. The sense of curiosity, awe, and wonder that she experienced while hiking continued through her artwork, original hand built and wheel thrown ceramics inspired by prehistoric sacred sites and daily rituals. More recently, she has started using the kurinuki pottery technique to carve black and white marbled clay into stone-like vessels and bases for sculptures.
These talented creators are only a few of the many artists visitors will have the chance to meet at the Wrightwood Arts & Wine Festival this spring. The festival draws thousands of visitors each year to its showcase of regional art, food, wine, and music, as well as scenic beauty in a quiet mountain setting. Come experience the creativity and talent of Wrightwood’s unique arts community.