Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Sep 03rd
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

 

You Are What You Post

Online personality algorithms put astrological profiles to shame, but UCSC psychologists are raising questions about sharing personal data

 

Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Girl Gone Wild

’70s SF recalled in raw, poignant ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sushi Garden

Local sushi empire expands to Scotts Valley

 

Do you overshare online?

I don’t think so. I just post things about my life, like successful things. Sometimes I just like sharing different news that I find interesting, or favorite artists, clothes, music. I like to post photos. Natalia Delgado, Santa Cruz, Server

 

McIntyre Vineyards

I recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.

 

Sustainable Supper

The Homeless Garden Project’s Sustain Supper series supports its award-winning programs