Keep Calm & Read On

British researchers asked people wSundance Booksho were feeling stressed to engage in one of the following activities: reading, listening to music, taking a walk or having a cup of tea or coffee. Of the entire group, the readers demonstrated the most reduced stress levels with heart rates lowered by 68%.

It’s always gratifying to discover that one of your favorite pursuits is actually good for you. Now if only researchers could prove the health benefits of watching classic films…Since today happens to be Independent Bookstore Day, it is perfect day to pursue new literary horizons.

“There are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity.”  indiebookstoretoday.com.

Real serendipity seems like a distinct possibility at Reno’s own Sundance Books and Music. Imagine spending time in an elegant white two-story home that is all library. Not only do they have a helpful staff, impressive selection of popular and local titles, they also have a frequent buyers program.

Like local indie stores during this one day celebration, Sundance Books & Music will have exclusive literary swag unavailable during other times of the year. After you’re re-stocked with good reads, you can stop by Bibo Coffee or Too Soul Tea. After all if reading is good for you, a cup of coffee or tea with a good book has to be even better for you.

Sundance Books and Music-121 California Avenue, Reno, NV 89509

Hours-M-F-9 to 9, Sat & Sun: 9 to 5

775-786-1188

Sun Dance Dragon

Will the dragon be there? I don’t know, but if you don’t go you’ll never find out!

Where the he(ART) Is.

resiheart-storefront

Resi*he(ART) Come in and make yourself at home

 

For many visual artists today, being “seen” can be a challenge.  While online sites like Etsy offer a limitless reach, it can be difficult to stand out in such a vast forest of artists. The nomadic path of craft shows can also be burdensome particularly if one has to pack an abundance of unsold wares for the drive home.

Sara Sifre understands the spirit and the challenges of the creative journey. During college, she took every art class TMCC offered. “I’ve done just about every kind of art, but I always go back to jewelry.”

Sara Sifre’s store, Resi*he(ART), is the culmination of a ten year dream.  She yearned to  build a community of artists and once considered a coffee house featuring local art, but felt that “it had been done”.

sara

Sara Sifre-Yes those are chairs on the wall.

Sifre explained that she’s looking to make a connection between the artists and what they’re trying to say and the person wanting to have art in her home. The store’s name is a combination of Resident Artist +Art That Resides in Your Heart.

“As long as they’re creating something that makes their heart happy, I want it to be in the public eye,” Sifre said.

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A trio of Sifre’s necklaces

Over 30 artists have their work ranging from photos of Nevada’s wild horses to soy candles in Resi*he(ART)’s well-lit space.  Jewelry and clothing are displayed on re-purposed doors, even plastic chairs allowing wares to be seen not crowded. Many of the artists Sifre found on Etsy and Facebook as well as through her daughter, Dahlia’s Girl Scout troop. She notes that Sparks artists have been really receptive.

Creativity is a family affair in the Sifre household.  Sifre’s husband, Sean, has his drum sets in the garage and art room.  Six-year-old, Dahlia draws while her little sister, Lillianna is into music like her dad. Sifre wants to show her daughters “You can follow your dreams and make other people smile.”

In step with building community, on second Saturdays of each month from 4:30 to 7:00  Resi*he(ART) hosts a Sip and Shop an opportunity for people to enjoy a glass of wine and meet the artists and browse. The previous Sip and Shop included a scavenger hunt with clues about the featured artists with a drawing for a door prize.  With a variety of artists bringing in work regularly, each visit to Resi*he(ART) will be an opportunity to discover something new.

Details:

Resi*he(ART)

171 Los Altos Parkway, Sparks, NV 89436 (Next to Michaels)

Regular Hours-Monday-Saturday: 10:00am to 6:00pm-Closed Sundays

Sip & Shop-Second Saturday of the month-4:30-6:00.

More Art…Less Stress

heart image“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”  Twyla Tharp

Drexel’s College of Nursing & Health Professions ran a study in which 39 adults ages 18-59 spent 45 minutes making art with paper, markers, collage materials and modeling clay. Cortisol levels (that’s the stress hormone) were measured before and after the art exercise. 75% of the participants showed lower cortisol levels after their art making endeavors.

Doesn’t it make you wonder about the remaining 25%?  Were they too Type A to get into it?

In a former life, I worked in foreclosure department spending long hours on the phone with miserable souls with very limited options…pay or get out. One of my colleagues (I’ll call him Harper) would slip away to an empty cubicle to spend his lunch hour working his Sci-FI novel every day. I don’t know if Harper ever published his novel. I believe his lunch hours spent in an alternative universe was beneficial since he was a calm presence in a department of the often-frustrated dealing with the usually-desperate.

While certain artistic pursuits might not fit well in a cubicle environment (especially anything involving clay, paint or welding), sketch pads, colored markers and notebooks are portable and office-friendly. In my work tote, I keep a spiral bound notebook handy for flashes of inspiration (like this one) as well as a small knitting project. So even if you can’t completely transform your cubicle into an art studio, find a way to keep your creative pursuits within reach.

Can a Basket Save the World?

img_0426Whether you’re a glass half-full or half-empty type of person, most people would agree that there are many problems in the world.  Any attempts to solve the problems are sometimes overlooked in the ongoing debate as to cause or fault.  Sometimes our own daily challenges with life make it seem impossible to take on one more problem particularly one of global magnitude.

At a women’s retreat I agreed to contribute a prize for the raffle table and searched for a basket and items that would pair well with Ever After.  I had fun hunting for fairy tale-themed items suitable for a grown-up princess, a sparkly crown ornament, a coloring book filled with fairies and dragons, herbal tea and Godiva chocolate.  The wand proved to be elusive; all likely options were either too short or cheap looking. Then I found a glow stick topped with a butterfly and it was perfect.

When I saw my basket among the raffle prizes I was stunned.  Four tables of baskets, gift certificates and original artwork lined completely lined one wall.  During breaks women “shopped” the raffle table, perusing their choices then distributing their raffle tickets for a chance to win their favorite prize. The raffle was held the final morning among much cheering. Thanks to some ingenuity and craft, a group of 60 women raised $1,700 for Awaken, a Reno non-profit  which has done so much to restore lives damaged by sex trafficking, a global problem with a local presence that is disturbingly close to home.

Faced with overwhelming odds, many people would hesitate at the idea of taking up a sword and charging off to face the world’s battles. Many of the world’s problems are complex and rarely solved with a quick solution. A basket may not be the right choice solving for all of the world’s problems, but it’s a good starting point for some of them.

All About the Bass

julie-machadoA string bass, a library and quilting are three things that seem to have little in common, unless you’re talking about Julie Machado, Managing Librarian for the Spanish Springs Library and bassist for the Reno Philharmonic.  Her passion for music and literature extends well beyond the concert hall and library walls.  An October performance with guitarist, Tim Gorelangton in their duo, Shiloh, was an evening under the stars benefiting the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund.  She also performs with her husband, Larry Machado’s jump jive swing band Brassakwards.

If you ask Machado “What’s new?” expect an interesting answer.  During the “Home Means Nevada”  Shiloh, toured the state with Mark Twain impressionist, McEvoy Layne.  She is currently editing a book on the 50 year history of the Reno Philharmonic and performed in the orchestra for the Western Nevada Musical Theater Company’s production of “Little Mermaid” in November.  She loves playing musicals “the feeling of sitting in an ensemble with a big choir and orchestra pieces like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.”

Performing with Shiloh gives her opportunity to engage with the audience as well as to experiment with different music genres. “When I play with my duo, I want that symbiotic relationship with the audience,” she explained. She estimates that they perform one new song at each performance. At one gig they even did a gypsy-style version of Robert Plant’s “Darkness, Darkness”.

shiloh

With Tim Gorelangton during a Shiloh performance

Machado manages her multi-faceted life with excellent organization skills and by focusing on one thing at a time. At the library she is devoted to the patrons and staff and continues to expand her knowledge through classes and articles and blogs. A voracious reader herself, Machado is particularly drawn to non-fiction and as well as memoirs like Michael P. Branch’s Raising Wild.  “People’s real lives are fascinating,” she notes.

She is equally focused on her music and is adamant about the importance of practice. “If you want to be creative, you have to practice at it.” She practices in 45 minute blocks after work honing in on what she wants to accomplish.  Machado explains that whether working on a classical piece or show tunes, “You need to put your whole heart and soul into whatever you’re doing—the end product is worth all the hardship.”

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Three “Basseketeers” from the Reno Phil-left to right Engrid Barnett-Whisenant, Lani Oelerich & Julie Machado

 

Machado has a vibrant sense of humor as well as a keen sense of professionalism. She has a bright yellow bass dubbed Miss Sunshine. The quilt she designed for a journalist friend incorporated words along with the colors, black, white and red. What else besides a newspaper is black, white and “read” all over?

During her career, Machado’s planning skills she honed for performances have also supported her implementation of projects at the library. Managing the people, books and building of a library, organizing a performance or designing a quilt—all require attention to detail of each individual piece as well as the ability to see the big picture.

 

Playing With Fire

img_0430As kids we were often told “Don’t touch the glass” and “Never play with fire.”  But Julia Tachihara does both (wearing the appropriate safety goggles of course).  Her well-lit studio in Sparks, Nevada is reminiscent of a magician’s workshop with colorful glass sheets and rods neatly lined up awaiting to be transformed into Lampwork beads and whimsical creatures.

 

There’s something magic about watching her form a bead in the fire. Julia admitted img_0431working with glass has been a kind of escape for her, though she opts for knitting or crocheting while watching TV. While the open flame is mesmerizing it also requires complete attention.

As passionate as Julia is about her craft, she graciously shares it with others through demonstrations and workshops.  These photos were taken during a demonstration at her studio at Reno Open Studios.  Workshop details and times are available on her website: http://www.myfroggiebeads.com/.

Julia has been an active part of the local arts community participating in the Y’Art Sale in July and recently Reno Open Studios. This fall Julia and her work will also be at the Reno Gem & Mineral Society Fall Artisans Craft Fair. img_0433November 11-13th. Reno Town Mall 4001 S. Virginia Street, Reno.

 

Artists in Their Native Habitats

city-skyline-reno-with-flag-and-textThe first full weekend in October is Reno Open Studios.  From September 30th through October 2nd visual artists throughout Reno and Sparks open their studios to the public. The line-up includes an impressive array of local artists working in media ranging from gourds to textiles. It’s an amazing opportunity to see how the magic happens.

As with any creative endeavor, you never know who you’re going to meet or what is going to happen. I was fortunate to meet Katherine Case of Meridian Press at the Reno Open Studios.  I’m pleased to report she’s a participant this year too.

Even if you can’t make the road trip this year, do check out their website and mark your calendar for next year (October 6th-8th 2017).