Pilot stories and photos

by Bill Lundquist

Hospitality Tours went on an andquot;Arty Partyandquot; last month, covering everything from the traditional to T-shirts to the wonders of welding, from Harbor to Crescent City.

The afternoon was spent south of the border learning more about stained glass than most participants had previously thought they'd ever want to know (related in other articles).

The morning, however, introduced the 37 people on the tour to an eclectic mix of art.

Welding the World

The last stop before lunch was to a metal building in an industrial area of north Crescent City. The sign on the door, Wayne's Welding, gave little hint of the art inside.

Using only welding torches, Wayne Nolen turns ordinary sheets of steel into forest scenes, eagles, bears, Indians, whales and just about anything else from the history and culture of the area.

The brilliant blues and deep copper tones in the polished metal is derived from differences in heat, not chemicals, said Nolen.

His stepdaughter, Jessi Rodman, cuts the basic shapes from sheet steel with a cutting torch. She also makes fine precision cuts to add texture to some of the sculptures.

Nolen pointed out a bear sculpture with dozens of tiny cuts that give the illusion of fur on the body. He said it took Rodman only an hour to make the cuts.

It wasn't always that way, though. Rodman said her only training was when Nolen told her to andquot;just do it.andquot;

andquot;I was shaking,andquot; she said, but she added it turned out to be the best way for her to learn.

Because most of the bright sparks from the cutting torch fall beneath the sheets she cuts, Rodman wears sunglasses when she works, not a thick welding visor.

Just before lunch, the tour visited Harbor Gallery on Citizens Dock Road on the south end of Crescent City, to see some of Rodman's works on display.

Community Art

On the way to Crescent City, the tour stopped at the Guschu Teahouse and Gallery on the Mouth Smith River Road between U.S. Highway 101 and Oceanview Drive.

The gallery is housed in a 1928 redwood church owned by the Tolowa Nation since 1958. Guschu is actually the Tolowa word for redwood.

The gallery is a tribal economic development project for the Tolowa Indians and the local arts community.

Gallery Director Junie Mattice said the group of Indians who own the gallery is not affiliated with the Smith River Rancheria group who owns the nearby Lucky 7 Casino.

She said the gallery Indians do not receive federal funds, do not approve of casino gambling, and definitely do pay taxes like everyone else.

The gallery pays its own way. Events there have included musical jam sessions, native craft courses, lectures and a five-course May Mystery Dinner.

The gallery can be rented for small seminars, talks, lectures or forums. Secretarial, copying and tutoring services are available by appointment.

What the tour came to see was the Everybody Art Show on display throughout March.

First place in the show went to Shiela Bingham for her three-dimensional acrylic work andquot;Solitude.andquot;

Second place went to a welded assemblage of steel implements called andquot;Headrig,andquot; by Al Armstrong. In all, five awards were given out at the show's official reception Friday night.

The show included everything from paintings to pottery, along with some bizarre assemblages by Steve Mattson.

Mattice explained that Mattson collects things, including some valuable items like jade, and eventually puts them all together into assemblages like andquot;Cowpoke Party,andquot; andquot;War Planet,andquot; and andquot;Horny Cat.andquot;

In April, the gallery will feature a andquot;retro-vintageandquot; clothing show, with preserved vintage clothes representing decades from 1 A.D. onward.

May will feature the Second Annual Obsessive Compulsive Eclectic Art Show, described as andquot;a variety of displays only the truly obsessive, compulsive or eclectic types could come up with.andquot;

June honors the C.I.A., or California Indian Artists, a group of little known, but talented, local Indian artists.

Your face on this shirt

One of the more interesting stops in Harbor was at Gail's Graphics, which uses the magic of computers to put any photo on T-shirts, sweatshirts, mouse pads, aprons, puzzles, you name it.

andquot;This is the true definition of wearable art,andquot; said Hospitality Tours leader Jan Norwood. Best of all, a photo on a sweatshirt costs $15, including the shirt.

Gail and Howard Mace also do banners and bumper stickers, magnetic and vinyl signs, hats, mugs, lamination, brochures and flyers, comb binding, copies and just about anything that involves an image being placed on something.

Howard showed the machine that cuts decals. He said because their process for putting images on shirts uses computer and thermal technology, not silk screening, 1.2 million color variations are available.

Art and Antiques

The tour stopped all too briefly at the Pacific Coast Antique and Collectible Mall in the Brookings-Harbor Shopping Center.

Among the treasures that recently arrived at the mall were needlepoint renditions of the famous paintings andquot;The Blue Boyandquot; by Thomas Gainsborough and andquot;Pinkieandquot; by Sir Thomas Lawrence.

The needlepoint versions, done by Shirley Sinclaire in the mid-1980s, each contain about 74,000 stitches.

Mall owner Lynn Truman said she plans to level the hillside parking lot by the mall and hold community festivals and events there.

On April 16, Hospitality Tours will conduct an all day tour of some of the area's most beautiful public and private gardens.

To reserve a place on the free tour, call Norwood at (541) 469-4909.