Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Feb 07th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Wood You Look At That?

ae_entwinedTwo first-year Open Studios artists open up about their art within the framework of the environment

Ask three people what they see when they gaze into one of those magic eye pictures and you are practically guaranteed to get three entirely different answers. Where one person sees a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, another may see a couple kissing passionately, and the third may see a space shuttle landing on the moon. Art is subjective, in other words, and backs up the claim that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Similarly, where your average Joe may see only a scrap of washed up wood, Cynthia Kingsbury and James Barsimantov see exquisite works of furniture. A rocking chair maybe? Perhaps a table on which many future meals will be shared? The sky isn’t even the limit with these two craftspeople, and this, their first year participating in Open Studios, marks just the beginning.

 

In good old Santa Cruz fashion, an impressive number of Open Studios artists have created works made from natural objects that have been gleaned from nature’s bounty. For Kingsbury, using branches and driftwood is an artistic choice as well as an ethical one. “I have made a commitment to use only recycled or sustainably-harvested wood,” she explains. “It’s one way I give my appreciation back to a big, beautiful natural world that shares its masterpieces with us daily.” Her furniture, which possesses a patchwork, Alice-in-Wonderland type of aesthetic, is meant to be lived with, to be enjoyed for many years to come. “My tables are made for using, and my chairs are made for sitting,” Kingsbury says, her language as pleasant and down to earth as her myriad designs.

Barsimantov, though endlessly inspired by the natural beauty he finds daily outside his Seabright area doorstep, also draws on his experience spent in Panama during a stint in the Peace Corps. “I was inspired by the rustic furniture that locals made with hand tools from roundwood harvested on their land,” he says, his designs resembling a beach shack version of Pottery Barn. Barsimantov goes on to explain that he has based his furniture making technique on traditional Panamanian home construction. The tool he uses most is a machete, thus truly maintaining a tradition, handcrafted from days of old.

For Kingsbury, participating in Open Studios is a delight; a bonus in addition to the sheer enjoyment she receives simply by piecing together her furniture. “I love touching wood,” she says. “I love looking at trees. As a species, human beings have an extensive history of interacting with trees. Trees have long been a source of comfort for us. I believe this is why most people react on an almost instinctual level to my pieces. It's as if a part of them were coming home. It's a wonderful thing to see.”

For Barsimantov, the feeling is mutual. He explains that he was inspired by his neighbors and their children who build monuments, sculptures, forts, and other various creations out of the driftwood that washes ashore each winter in the Seabright area. “My intention has been to build furniture that reveals the beauty in natural cycles,” he says. “I create structure from driftwood while maintaining the essence of its journey from forest to river to ocean to beach.”

Although both Kingsbury and Barsimantov have been piecing together their creations for both 16 and seven years respectively, 2011 marks the first year each artist has participated in Open Studios.

Unlike the magic eye pictures, one may gaze at these pieces indefinitely, the tangibility of the solidly crafted furniture inexorable, a personal symbol intertwined with Santa Cruz to be cherished for years to come.

 


Cynthia Kingsbury and James Barsimantov will be among the scores of artists participating in the Open Studios encore weekend, Oct. 15 and 16 in both North and South counties. For more information, visit Cynthia Kingsbury Found Wood Furniture or Open Studios at ccscc.org.

 

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Andy Couturier, October 14, 2011
Here's my favorite quote: "human beings have an extensive history of interacting with trees. Trees have long been a source of comfort for us. I believe this is why most people react on an almost instinctual level to my pieces."

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

On the Run

Is there hope for California’s salmon?

 

Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 5

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wine and Chocolate

West Cliff Wines gets its game on, plus a brand new chocolate cafe on Center Street

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster

 

Dancing Creek Winery

New Zinfandel Port is a ruby beauty

 

Venus Spirits

Changing law could mean new opportunity for local spirits