Fri, Oct. 18

El Valley Fine Art & Craft Show

Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving are known as the busiest shopping days of the year, with a major focus on gift giving for the upcoming holidays. One stop you won't want to miss is the Holiday Fine Arts & Crafts Show sponsored by the El Valle Art Association. It will be held at the Fine Arts Building of the Verde Valley Fairgrounds in Cottonwood on Friday (from 9-4) and Saturday (9-3), Nov. 24-25.

Over two dozen area artists have committed to the event, which will feature hundreds of works of art and unique items crafted by some of the area's finest artists. With objects as diverse as oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, pastels, jewelry, ceramics, woodcarving, handmade ponchos, scarves and hats, woven baskets, gourds, handmade papers and wall hangings, there's sure to be something for every taste and pocketbook.

It's also a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with the many participating artists, such as:

Brenda Strom, an oil painter and jewelry designer. She started painting with a group in Virginia about 15 years ago, where her love of color led her to the richness of oils. She even wrote a Haiku poem that expresses how she feels about her work:

'Glowingcolors from my brush

Freezing moments in time

Reflections of God's Glory'

Suzanne Ecke has been sewing for 52 years. She'll be showing ponchos, hats, scarves and original wall hangings.

Dawn Moffett and Sheila Murray are into gourds, copper jewelry, handmade journals and painted tiles. According to Dawn, "Exploring all of the ways our world's cultures use designs and materials inspires me. Living in the Verde Valley most of my life has allowed me to see nature's ultimate manifestations."

Sue Davis has painted and taught painting all her life. She says, "Now that I'm retired I paint my wonderful surroundings in all mediums just about every day," inspired by her surroundings in Sedona.

Ellen Kelly does wood carving, painting and dyed scarves, but she says, "Wood carving is the most satisfying art medium I have found. It is relaxing sometimes, very strenuous sometimes, but to be able not only to see but to feel the change in the piece of art as it is created is the most satisfying of all to me."

Jim Bennett is another wood carver who took up the craft after retiring. He immersed himself in learning the craft and has become incredibly proficient. He calls it, "a self- absorbing task that I love to do.

Meet these and other artists on Friday and Saturday. And while there, be sure to purchase a raffle ticket or two or three. El Valle members have donated several works of art, including paintings, jewelry, gourds and pottery, with a conservative value of over $500. For only $2 a ticket or three for $5, you'll have a chance to win an original treasure. Tickets will be drawn on Saturday, Nov. 25, at noon, but you don't have to be present to win.

El Valle was founded in 1972 by a group of local artists to promote the fine arts. By the early 1990s, the organization included crafts artists too, and had a greater focus on community involvement. In 1999 it received official non-profit status as a 501C.3 corporation and now has more than 50 members, who meet at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Fine Arts Building of the Fairgrounds.

Members value the support and friendship of their fellow artists, and the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn new techniques and processes. New members are always welcome. For more information on El Valle Art Association, e-mail the organization's president, Wayne St. John, at or call (928) 639-3220.

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