Posts From March 2008

Alison Sarr pays tribute to cooks with her imagery on the back of found skillets. (Photo by Ashley Teplin)

March 26, 2008

Shovels and skillets: Sculptor Alison Sarr at Copia

Aspiring apprentices, take note: “You have to have a tetanus shot to work in the Alison Sarr studio,” the award-winning sculptor told her audience during the latest Oxbow School Visiting Artist Lectures, at Copia on Monday, March 17.

Sarr works with barbed wire, rusty tin, and old metal skillets to create her often life-sized figures. One of her most prized tools is a chainsaw. Injuries are always a possibility.

“I’d like it to be a collaboration, but it ends up being a contest between me and my materials,” said Sarr, who also incorporates dirt and plant roots into many of her works.  So why, asked one young Oxbow School art student, was Sarr drawn to sculpture?  “I’m a very tactile person,” Sarr answered. “I understand my world through my hands.”

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Posted by Pamela at 10:01 AM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook | Art Education, Non-wine activities in Napa Valley, Oxbow School


Tony Poer, National Sales Manager of Meyer Family Cellars, with the 2003 Meyer Family Cellars Syrah.

March 21, 2008

Favorite Wino On Tablehopper This Week

One of our favorite winos, Tony Poer, the National Sales Manager of Meyer Family Cellars, is featured on Tablehopper this week. Where he shares some of his wine favorites with us. Click here to read Tony's article on Tablehopper.

Posted by Pamela at 11:42 AM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook | Meyer Family Cellars, Yorkville Highlands


Ari Marcopoulos amuses the audience with his anecdotes and commentary on life, art, and fashion.  In this image he points out his sons’ amazing fashion and sneaker sense while playing baseball with a stuffed animal.  (Photo by Ashley Teplin)

March 17, 2008

Endless winter: Sonoma photographer Ari Marcopoulos follows snowboard "nomads"

Tonight's Art Lecture Continues Oxbow Series

Tonight, the Oxbow School's Visiting Artist lecturer is Los Angeles sculptor Alison Sarr, whose work often evokes themes of race and culture. She will speak and show slides from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Copia auditorium, 500 First Street, Napa.

Fresh from his latest gallery-opening in Milan, photographer Ari Marcopoulos touched down in Napa last week for the latest installment of the Oxbow School's Visiting Artist Lecture Series.

The third speaker in this year’s spring lecture series, Marcopoulos confessed to the audience assembled at Copia that he’d rather just put on some techno music and dance, “and invite everyone to join me.” He then launched into a 90-minute presentation that mingled music – Bjork and Dylan – with the arresting images that have become his trademark. Snowboarders, skateboarders, and kids’ skinned knees: Whether in color or black and white, Marcopoulos’s photographs and videos have a powerful, almost physical immediacy.

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Posted by Pamela at 2:48 PM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook | Art Education, Non-wine activities in Napa Valley, Oxbow School


Yountville Seeds are grown and harvested by Amy Giaquinta, Peter and Gwenny Jacobsen, Jeremy and Jason Giaquinta in their neighboring gardens in Yountville, California.  They are sold at Kitchen Library at the Oxbow Market and online.  (Photo by Ashley Teplin).

March 13, 2008

Neighbors Cultivate Community and Backyard Business Growing Yountville Seeds

Yountville, Calif., March 13, 2008—Having watched Yountville’s Amy Giaquinta transform a rangy half-acre horse pasture into a wildly productive storybook vegetable garden, it’s hard to imagine that just a few years ago she was a young urban professional living in Los Angeles.

Giaquinta is a lifelong city girl and was raised in San Francisco.  But in 1996 she and her husband, Jerry, then an Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications for Sony Pictures Corp. bought their first wine country property as a second home. At first Amy says she was lured into gardening to improve on a field that presented them with such a dismal sight during winter visits she feared her husband would see the property as a bad investment.  Disciplined and thorough, Amy started researching gardens in earnest.  By Spring, plans at the ready, she flew to Northern California and began carving out her first garden.

All these years later, with sons Jeremy and Jason, the Giaquinta family resides fulltime in an idyllic, two-story home on the edge of town.  Urban life is a distant memory. Amy’s garden has become central to her life, to be shared with her sons, friends and neighbors.

With 900 seedlings in her greenhouse, two dozen subscription clients relying on her annually for tomato seedlings, gourmet grocer Dean and DeLuca stocking her produce (under the I Fratelli Giaquinta label) and her Yountville Seed Company up and running, Amy’s garden has graduated from hobby to commercial enterprise.

Yountville Seeds is a joint venture between the Giaquinta family and neighbors, Peter and Gwenny Jacobsen who weekend here.  Together the two families farm neighboring gardens.   Amy credits the Jacobsens with being her gardening gurus, noting they are exclusive purveyors to the French Laundry.

Their seeds, available now from Kitchen Library in Napa’s new Oxbow Market or, are certified organic and from the 2007 crop.

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Posted by Pamela at 9:05 AM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook | Non-wine activities in Napa Valley, Organic


Misako Mitsui stands before one of the images digitally reproduced from her collection of zuancho or design idea books, published over a 50-year period for a sophisticated clientele of kimono dealers and wealthy consumers in Kyoto. (Right) a woodblock print of peony from Shokei Kakicho. (Photos by Pamela Hunter)

March 5, 2008

Misako Mitsui’s Zuancho in Kyoto

In Stanford University’s Peterson Gallery Misako Mitsui led me on a stroll through Japanese history intended to provide some understanding of a phenomenon in textiles that may have occurred in no time or place other than mid-Meiji period (1868-1912) Kyoto.  We were surrounded by an exhibition you may see for yourself between now and April 16.   Zuancho In Kyoto:  Textile Design Books for the Kimono Trade  lifts the curtain for the sparest glimpse of the proud three-century legacy of Misako’s merchant class family.

Misako grew up with these design idea books, tools of her family’s trade, which she quite naturally took for granted.  It wasn’t until years later when she looked at them with fresh eyes that she found herself captivated by the work of kimono textile designers who created an original woodblock print for every single page.  And, was struck that each book of designs opened with a woodblock print of calligraphy by one of the country’s most famous artists, then was custom bound and stitched. 

Today, what we find most remarkable is that the designs so exquisitely presented in these books were not necessarily chosen for replication in kimono textiles, rather they were tools for dialogue between textile artist and client.  Something like, “Is this what you’re looking for?” 

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Posted by Pamela at 12:29 PM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook | Art Education