Local Art & Reads for the Road

Osborn Woods Gallery, Nevada City, CA-where I met Erin Adamski-craftswoman & educator

Did you know that in 2018 U.S. workers left 768 million vacation days on the table? Do you find that fact as disturbing as I do? Since January 28th is National Plan Your Vacation Day, maybe you should start planning your next adventure.

Whether you’re planning a cross country trip or a headed out of town for a weekend getaway, I strongly urge you to check out the local art scene while you’re there.

“Local knowledge is always the best knowledge.” Chris Shontz, Venture 4WD

Okay, I can hear the sighs from here.  After handing over your hard-earned money for transportation, food and lodging you might feel like you don’t have much cash left over for art. The good news is that local art is usually affordable. And even if a 12 by 16 painting is still beyond your budget, many savvy artists have their work available in smaller formats as notecards, magnets, coasters even Christmas ornaments.  One enterprising watercolor artist in St. Maarten divided his work into bookmarks. Such smaller works have the benefit of being more portable than that bulky souvenir sweatshirt that will probably fade in the wash.

To really go native, check out the indie news publications like Reno News and Review for the latest local concerts.  Peruse Hometown Reads so you have a local author’s work on your phone to enjoy during those quiet times when you’re not out exploring.  Both Mixed Blessings and Ever After are set in Northern California and all the Rhythm & Romance titles are set in Reno in case you were wondering. There’s nothing like being truly on the scene of a favorite book.

My day job workspace is also a personal gallery featuring various artists from California, Northern Nevada and the Caribbean, comprised of bookmarks, note cards, magnets and a coaster. Whenever I glance up from my computer monitors, I see golden meadows and misty mountains. I even have access to a small stretch of beach in the Caribbean and I don’t have to pay for a beach chair.

Inspiration to Move You Towards 2020

Who knows where your creativity may take you in 2020. Flying Pigs by Donna Jeanne Koepp

Sometimes with so many family dinners, office holiday parties, winter recitals surrounding Christmas, you can’t connect with certain friends to celebrate until after December 25th. I’ve always cherished those post-Christmas get togethers because they make Christmas feel more like a true season than just a single day that ends too soon.  And aren’t unexpected presents even more fun? With that in mind, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite quotes from my 2019 guests.

“I carve out time in the morning, as I mentioned, when the house is quiet and my inner critic is not awake. I also make creativity a priority.” Donna Jeanne Koepp, artist and retired project estimator.

“If you’ve been wanting to try something on the side, I encourage you to do so. You’ll be amazed at how many of the skills you already possess are transferable.” Kim Diede, author/financial services

“The act of creating has always been therapeutic to me, and so I dove into my new

Consider what is key to your creative pursuits. necklace by Erin Adamski

ideas furiously as a way to assuage the worry and fear.” Erin Adamski, artist and paraeducator.

“I keep a notebook at my bedside for the times I wake up in the middle of the night and have a brilliant idea.” Rae Rankin, author and analyst.

“I think it’s important to find something that fills you within to the extent that you are a better version of yourself and then are able to show up for others.” Janis Bryn McCubbins, artist, bookkeeper and transcriptionist


Copper Cat Studio

“…whatever nurtures YOUR soul, we have to fill our own vessel before being able to give to others.” Katie Peckham, proprietor, Copper Cat Studio

In compiling this post, I was amazed on how such a diverse group of creatives from different backgrounds and disciplines touched on similar themes. Whatever creative path you are pursuing, I wish you joy and inspiration for 2020!

Sound advice
garden stake by Janis Bryn McCubbins

Getting Lost-Reno Open Studios

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton

Good news for those of you suffering from Artown withdrawal. On September 6th, 7th and 8th artists throughout the Reno Sparks area open their studios to the public (Reno Open Studios). The participating artists work in a variety of mediums including acrylics, ceramics, gourds, glass, photography and watercolors. There’s something special about stepping behind the scenes to watch the magic happen. The artists’ work will be available for purchase at the studios and there’s nothing better than having a piece of art with a great story.

Reno Open Studios is committed to arts education. In the past they’ve awarded scholarships to Coral Academy and Ronald McDonald House Charities. Many of the studios have donated prizes and you can buy raffle tickets for that artist’s prize at their studio. This year proceeds from the raffle will be awarded to a deserving UNR student.

Thanks to an online map and large yellow flags marking the studios’ locations, you can lose yourself to art without actually getting lost. Since the studios are open from 10:00AM to 5:00PM throughout the weekend, you can go at your own pace, allowing plenty of time to stop at Bibo Coffee Company for a quick cup of java or some tasty gelato. Or head over to one of the Squeeze Ins in the area for a hearty breakfast before you set out. Not going to be in Reno that weekend? By following the links you can still check out participating artists Julie Tachihara and Katherine Case.

Reno Open Studios

September 6, 7 & 8

Note-certain of the artists’ studios are not open on Friday, so check the website before you head out.

10:00AM to 5:00PM

Cost: Free-leaving you plenty of extra cash for art and raffle tickets!


An Ocean Among the Trees

“You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.” Mitch Albom

A couple of weeks ago as we were headed home from a company picnic at Idlewild Park, I noticed a group of ladies wielding ladders and large bags of yarn headed toward Lundsford Park. As a knitter myself, any amount of yarn will draw my attention. Naturally, we had to check it out.

It goes to prove that if you have the inclination to check something out, the discovery is always worth the extra few minutes out of your day.

As I’ve said before Artown never fails to surprise.



Had we sped by we would have missed a series of oceanscapes in the park created by the Anonymous Crafters for Artown 2019. One of the artists explained this project was a year in the making with each piece taking several months. This series of yarn art, themed “Under the Sea” is their fourth production for Artown.

Where else would you see a mermaid among the trees?

Summer Artistic Adventures-Artown 2019

I happen to share my birth month with one of my favorite authors, but that’s not the only reason I love July. During the 7th month the Biggest Little City becomes the biggest, little art gallery and performance hall aka Artown.  Every day in July there are a variety of art and music events going on throughout Reno, some are ticketed events, many are free.

Even when I carefully plan my July calendar, something unexpected always happens like discovering a concert at a bookstore, an impromptu Tango in a church or cats sipping wine beneath the Reno arch. While I’m not one to predict the future, I can tell you that this year art will bloom in a local park and judges will read children’s stories. Check out the Artown website and chart your own summer adventure.

Wine-ing Cats by Michele DiFonzo


Care Instructions-Motherhood and Writing




Repeat as needed.  


Shondra Rhimes

 The creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal has shared some inspiring comments regarding writing and motherhood, but this is one of my favorites.  Too often mothers and writers embark on a frantic search for the right combination of habit, attitude and magic that will keep their priorities aloft without all of them crashing down on their heads. Unfortunately due to life’s ever-changing nature, what worked like a charm today may be worthless tomorrow.


That doesn’t mean to stop striving, but you can ditch trying to be perfect. Sometimes it is best to keep moving forward and embrace the silly sticky moments.  Instead of aiming on an impossible ideal, focus on being consistent which works well for both real kids and literary babies.

The above post previously appeared on my Mariposa’s Musings blog on May 7, 2016, but as a mom and a writer I believe sound advice is worth repeating.

If you happen to be in the Reno-Sparks area and are looking for a special something for the mom in your life (or you), check out the Mother’s Day Weekend Sale at Copper Cat Studio. Artists from all over Reno and Sparks will be there including Katherine Case.

Saturday, May 11th-10:00AM to 3:00PM

Copper Cat Studio-300 Kresge Lane, Sparks, NV -near the intersection of McCarran and Glendale.


And…if you’re looking for a good mother-daughter read consider the following:

Ever After: When the fairytale ends is when the real story begins.  In the face of crisis two childhood friends re-ignite their friendship and discover which magic truly lasts.

Mixed Blessings: To save her daughter Allison from an abusive relationship, Nora Montgomery sends her to stay with relatives in California. Allison is unaware that her “cousin” Lynne Cooper is the child her mother gave up for adoption 30 years ago.  Can Nora choose between her new relationship with Lynne or keeping the past safely hidden.

Wedding Tango:  Moira Williams is dismayed when her daughter, Tami, announces her engagement. Why do they have to get married in Buenos Aires?  Though she dreads seeing her ex-husband, Alan, the gorgeous father of the groom has her pulse racing.

Creative Places-Copper Cat Studio

During Reno Open Studios last October I was fortunate to meet Katie Packham, mosaic artist and owner of Copper Cat Studio.

What inspired the start of your business?

I’ve always been creative, enjoying and excelling at many different art forms from a young age. It’s when I got to college that I was hesitant to make a career out of it. I got a degree in interior design because it was creative but also included a lot of problem solving and project management. I’m very right/left brain equal. I did that for many years and was able to nurture a mural business on the side for about 9 years before delving into mosaics. That is what ignited the passion to make me quit my day job 11 years ago.

My biggest breakthrough came when…

My biggest breakthrough to the path I’m on now is when the mosaic supply company where I taught class for years offered to sell me their business. It was mainly an online business but there was local clientele and I quickly found running it out of my home studio wasn’t going to work. My first move to a public location was in a cute boutique location in Midtown. It was immediately apparent that the space wasn’t big enough for how the business was evolving- mostly workshops, and so when my rent significantly increased after a little over a year, we moved into our current location. I guess that was a huge breakthrough too. I was really upset about the rent increase, but it ended up being the catalyst for the exponential growth we’ve experienced in the last year and a half. I couldn’t be happier with where we are right now!

How do you balance your creative pursuits with your day-to-day commitments?

I would say finding that balance in my day-to-day commitments of running a studio, workshop space, retail front and yoga studio is tough. My time for my own creativity has definitely suffered. I have created a space where others come to nurture their souls through the arts. I feel like I’m finally on the right track and am starting to get in the groove after the move a year and a half ago, so that I can find that bit of creative nurturing I need as well. I love the bustle and energy of a busy studio, but find that I really appreciate those days where it is quiet and I can just mosaic all day without interruption.

What’s next?

I’m not sure…I’ve learned to let the universe guide me. I know that sounds cheesy, but I’ve found that if I lay out some intentions and not try to be too specific with details, the right opportunities pop up at exactly the right time. I am enjoying what we are doing currently but it’s always evolving. The diverse workshops we offer are hugely popular but it’s a lot of work. I see myself simplifying in the years to come and concentrating on just mosaics, yoga and Reiki and other healing modalities.

Anything else to share with the readers?

Just that with our crazy lives, it’s important to take care of ourselves. Whether through yoga, meditation, creativity or getting out in nature…whatever nurtures YOUR soul, we have to fill our own vessel before being able to give to others.

Copper Cat Studio

300 Kresge Lane, Sparks, NV 89431


Blog: coppercatstudio.blogspot.com

Tessera Glass