by Myrna Zanetell
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Local artists offer
holiday gift options
If you are seeking something a bit out of the ordinary for your Christmas gift list here are two suggestions:
Cross Gallery — Working out of her home studio which she has christened “Cross Gallery,” Rachael Davis creates one-of-a-kind beaded crosses that have become popular gifts for Christians young and old.
A native El Pasoan, Davis spent her early years in the job placement industry, working as what is commonly referred to as a “headhunter.” She ran her own successful business for a number of years, but a decade ago the manufacturing industry moved much of its production to Mexico and then China. Davis began seeking other business options.
Davis notes, “I’ve been a creative person all my life. I dabbled in painting on the side, and I have always loved to bead. From my earliest years, I’ve also been a collector of crosses.” Putting these interests together, the first cross she made became a gift to her sister. Later friends saw her work and purchased pieces so what started off as a hobby has now become a full-fledged business.
Although crosses are her only subject matter, each one is unique in itself. “I bead on nails, on silverware – spoons and knives, on wood, on rebar – anything I can turn into a cross, I do. In fact I see crosses everywhere.” The Loretto Academy graduate jests, “Even though my time there was a few years ago, you can’t get the Catholic out of me, and I think that influence is reflected in the soul of my work.”
As to opportunities to see her work, Davis relates, “I can only do a few shows each year because what I do is so labor intensive.” Having participated in several shows earlier this fall, her last two appearances will be at the Junior League’s A Christmas Fair the first weekend in November, and the La Casa Fair in the Las Cruces Convention Center the first weekend of December. Those interested can also see her work at her Cross Gallery at 5737 Montoya. Phone: 585-9977.
Desert Jewels —Calling her beautiful pendants and bracelets “Desert Jewels,” local artisan Rose Hines makes her captivating creations using dichroic glass. The word “dichroic” means two colors, referring to the reflected color and the transmitted color. She explains that the jewel-like effect of her pieces is obtained by starting with a black base glass, stacking layers of glass on that and then covering it with a cap of clear glass, thus creating a mass which selectively reflects certain colors of light while allowing others colors to transmit through it.
“I purchase the dichroic in 4” x 4” sheets and then cut these into smaller pieces. From there it’s like making a glass sandwich. I only use glass that is manufactured in the United States. Using up to four layers, I work with clear dichroic along with the solid colors and much of the clear is patterned so you can get some very interesting combinations. In fact, some come out with almost a 3-D effect. But no matter how many sheets I use, it turns out to be the same thickness. The physics of the glass is that it will melt down to a quarter of an inch when you use the full-fire heat, which goes up to 1450 degrees.”
Her pendants are either round or oval. She occasionally uses a ring saw to cut a few different shapes. She also offers a variety of bracelets. Price tags on her work range from as low as $15 to less than $100 in most instances, which makes her work very attractive as a specialty gift. She includes either a silver or black woven chain with her pendants, and the glass drops in her bracelets are all set in high quality silver plate.
“I try to use the highest quality I can and still keep my prices very affordable,” she said.
Hines is originally from Michigan and still spends summers there on the St. Clair River. A job with Delphi Automotive in Juárez brought Rose and her husband to El Paso in 2004. When her own job at Fort Bliss ended in 2011, Hines began her interest in making glass jewelry.
“I spent a lot of time visiting my friend, Joan Smith, who lives in Tucson. I attended some classes and went to glass shops with her, so she takes credit for getting me interested in this unusual business. In addition to time with Joan, I learned a lot online, and she still helps out by answering questions on how to do this and that.”
Hines will be showing her work at Ardovino’s Holiday Market at Desert Crossing Dec. 3 and at Art in the Park on Nov. 11-12.
A ‘Garden’ of art treasures
You have until Jan. 7 to enjoy the latest exhibition at the EPMA, “Gardens of Earthly and Unearthly Delights, an outstanding presentation of works from the museum’s permanent collection that is not to be missed. The exhibit includes exceptional paintings by some of our own El Pasoans. Just a few examples include “Gatchina Park,” an oil by Aleksander “Sasha” Titovets, which reflects his memories of a park in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia; a Tom Lea oil celebrating America; Susi Davidoff’s arresting black and white charcoal; and a work entitled “The Front Door” by Charlie Kistenmacher, which presents a nostalgic scene of an abandoned home.
New in the Upper Valley
A new farmer’s market and craft show has just opened at the Substation center at the corner of Doniphan Drive and Sunset. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays, featuring a large selection of booths, the majority of which feature crafts, jams, honey and other offerings by local artists.
Myrna Zanetell is a freelance writer
specializing in the visual arts.
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