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Strands Salon exhibits wooden masterpieces

The Fresno Arts Council sponsors ArtHop, an event which educates the community about the local arts. In this column, junior Dana King chronicles her twice-a-month visits to ArtHop.

After searching, once again, for an ArtHop in North Fresno, I found a unique location. This month’s venue was held not at a traditional gallery but, rather, in the North Pointe shopping center, at a hair salon called Strands, located at the corner of Palm and Herndon.

Shop managers Genie and Donald Goodman are the people to talk to at this venue, as they are willing to share any information with visitors.

Together, they set up the ArtHop and host several artists’ work throughout the shop. The difference between here and other displays is that for artists, this is the best place for their art to be sold.

The Goodmans showcase art every day in their shop, which gives clients more of an opportunity to view the pieces, as opposed to viewing them only once at a gallery. This is valuable information for artists who wish to have their products sold.

Overall, the Goodmans say they love having art around the salon each day. Genie says that this is a good situation for the artists as well as for them, because all proceeds are donated to Children’s Hospital Central California, the Poverello House and other Fresno charities. Together, they agree that this is a beneficial act in which to participate and through which to aid the Fresno community.

ArtHop events are generally difficult to host for businesses, but there are people out there, like Meg Oakford, who enjoy planning these events. In the past, Oakford worked as a nurse, and she began to plan art events in order to fill the excess time in her life. Oakford says that she has always enjoyed art, and it is now her passion.

Strands has a variety of types of art, ranging from paintings to miniature sculptures, but my personal favorite was the woodwork. Tye Putman, a woodturner — someone who uses wood as a primary material in art — uses burls to create beautiful pieces of art. Burls are made when a tree trunk continues to grow over a ruined piece of bark that has been destroyed by natural causes.

What is unique about burls is the direction of the lines inside of a tree. Typically, a tree’s lines are straight and parallel, but with burls they swirl and do not follow any particular pattern.

Since burls are extremely unique, it can be difficult to find these pieces of wood. The main way Putnam procures burls is by traveling out to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and gathering lightning-struck and fallen trees. He changes the broken and disfigured wood into beauty for people to enjoy. Putman says that he cares for the environment and will not chop down trees with burls just to make his art; rather, he thinks of his practice as a form of recycling.

The Goodmans insist that the artists show up to the salon, but Putman was the only one who stayed the whole time on March 17. My personal favorite pieces of Putman’s were his six-piece wood bowls. He had obtained a large piece of burl and hollowed it out to make a single large bowl. He then used the leftover wood to make five additional bowls. Because they are all made out of the same piece of wood, they seem to possess the same effect as russian dolls, or matryoshkas.

When all the pieces are put together, they look like a single wooden flower. It is gorgeous, and definitely a piece to have in the home.

My favorite part of this ArtHop was that I got to have an enjoyable and informational conversation with the artist. He was willing to show all of his pieces of art, explain where they all came from and, overall, why he creates art out of wood. At many of the other places I have visited, the people were not sociable or, if they were, they talked only to their friends.

Strands Salon is a great place to go for an ArtHop. Even if observing art is not an enjoyable activity for some, visiting the salon can still turn out to be a delightful evening.

For more information on ArtHop, read the March 8 column, Mullins Studio showcases photo techniques.

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