Mountain makers: Artisans craft goods inspired by life in Sierra

Mountain makers: Artisans craft goods inspired by life in Sierra

Ceramics artist Adrienne Belair generates wonderful art pieces as perfectly as mugs, pots, vases and bowls from her studio in South Lake Tahoe.
Offered/Adrienne Belair

There’s a purpose why vistas all around Lake Tahoe have names like Inspiration Place, which towers 600 toes above the cobalt waters of Emerald Bay. Even before these types of toponyms existed, the Washoe Tribe, who summered in Da’aw, included imagery of the area’s flora and fauna into their basket weaving. From stained glass do the job to all-organic elegance solutions, the mountainous landscape carries on to inspire today’s artisans across the region — and it’s uncomplicated to see why. 

Spoon and Sprig Studio 

In 2017, after wrapping up a degree in printmaking — or so she thought — Adrienne Belair headed again property to the West Coast. 

“A several months later, I received a letter from my college telling me that I hadn’t basically graduated, and I continue to wanted to fulfill credits, so I took a ceramic course at Lake Tahoe Group University to fulfill those people credits,” remembers Belair, adding that she did so begrudgingly. 

But as if by fate, Belair “slowly fell really in enjoy with it,” and at any time since, the South Lake Tahoe ceramicist has been crafting beautiful is effective of good and useful artwork. When she sits down with a piece of clay in her 60-square-foot shed-turned-studio, she does not know what the piece will really be or glimpse like — she just responds to the product. 

“Once There Was” is a a few-piece sculpture depicting coral bleaching built by Adrienne Belair of Spoon and Sprig Studio.
Offered/Adrienne Belair

“It’s really encouraged by mother nature,” describes Belair. “Nature is the authentic artist, and I enjoy how the attractiveness of nature is a great deal of adaptation to the environment, so I really try to replicate that in my function.”

On Belair’s on the net store, Spoon and Sprig Studio, you will come across elaborate works like “Once There Was,” a a few-piece sculpture depicting the coral bleaching getting area in our warming oceans, together with earthy mugs, pots and vases. 

“With pottery, I seriously love that I get to listen to about so numerous people today going through my parts on a day by day basis,” says Belair. “I believe it is pleasurable that I get to have coffee with all of these men and women in the early morning, in a way. Other than producing them, that’s the next most effective part.” 

Incorporate to your ceramics assortment by checking out or Wildwood Makers Sector, Bare Roots Artisan Coffee Roasting Firm, and High Mountain Greenery in South Lake Tahoe. 

Ceramicist Adrienne Belair enjoys the harmony she’s located with making works of fine artwork and practical items for everyday use, all from the exact same clay.
Supplied/Adrienne Belair

Burl Theory 

Alison Levin likes finding out new things. What commenced as a enjoy of crafting has morphed into a imaginative vocation top her from one particular medium to the next. By her firm, Burl Principle, Levin produces a “merry medley of handmade items,” ranging from laser-slice coasters and framed pressed bouquets to character-inspired jewellery and, most not too long ago, stained glass is effective of art.

Nightlights, hanging plant propagation tubes, and suncatchers are a couple of of the strategies the Tahoe Vista artist showcases her new passion for stained glass. “It’s been actually entertaining finding out this matter that at one particular point felt definitely incessable,” suggests Levin. “I imagine that is been my journey — continually finding out and trying the issue that is truly interesting to me.”

But you will continue to locate Levin laser slicing ornaments, urgent modest dried flowers to place into glass frames she sodders for wall art and necklaces, or positioning tiny ferns into polymer clay for earrings. Brides even send out her their bouquets to dry and body following the large working day. 

Locate parts from Burl Principle at or domestically at Gallery 5830’ and Like and Lupines in Truckee or Wild Pines in Graeagle. 

Sara L. Smith Fine Art 

For 22 yrs, Sara Smith has lived in Kings Seashore, just five blocks absent from forested land where by you can easily hike into the woods and get absent from it all. 

“I dwell in the wilderness interface. We have wild animals as our neighbors,” suggests the painter. “I enjoy it, and I know what it presents to my soul and to my feeling of relationship to wilderness.” 

It surely has knowledgeable Smith’s artwork, which has lengthy because highlighted realistic still whimsical portrayals of Tahoe’s landscapes and the creatures that inhabit it. Her most up-to-date series, Wilding, juxtaposes city materials — reclaimed upholstery cloth, salvaged wooden, plaster, and spray paint — with portraits of bears, birds, and other wildlife. 

“That all performs into my perception that we are all interconnected with this globe that we are living in and on, and if we join with it and embrace that, there is a different feeling of appreciation and adore for this land that gives us so much,” suggests Smith. 

Smith also creates murals for businesses, universities, companies and non-public clients all around the area. Explore her get the job done at or at Riverside Studios in Truckee. 

Quench Botanica

In advance of relocating to Truckee, Vina Shih and her spouse and children drove up to Tahoe to ski nearly each and every weekend. The wintertime air was drying out her family’s lips, but Shih could not obtain a lip balm that fulfilled her criteria, in particular when it arrived to using normal substances. So she created her possess. 

“I began investigating how to formulate lip balms, and it went from there. I just held getting more and extra curious,” recalls Shih, who labored in finance at the time. “I studied with some beauty chemists and figured out beauty chemistry, and it’s been really a journey!” 

Eight a long time later, Quench Botanica has moved further than lip balms to consist of a comprehensive line of all-natural beauty merchandise created for daily life in the mountains. The cleansers, serums, oils, overall body lotions, soaps, scrubs, and shampoo bars are all hand-crafted by Shih utilizing naturally derived ingredients no cost of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, and unneeded fillers. 

“It’s so dehydrating in this local climate. You really don’t want to strip your pores and skin of all of its organic oils when you cleanse it, and we want the other products to assistance manage that hydration,” explains Shih.  

The B-Ability Brightening Serum — manufactured in portion with natural vitamins and minerals from fermented sea kelp extract — is a well-known item in her skincare line. An additional supporter favored is her variety of superfatted soaps (less lye, more moisturizing oils), with versions like Alpenglow produced from shea and cocoa butter with whiffs of apple cider, bergamot and honey. 

Understand more about Quench Botanica’s line of natural beauty items at or discover it domestically at Fantastic Anya, Enjoy and Lupines, and Sol Culture in Truckee Wild Pines in Graeagle and Well Remaining in Kings Seashore. 

Lala Jewellery 

A single look at the meticulously crafted jewellery created by Lauren Bobowski and it is clear that it is not just some bauble — it’s wearable art. The phone to be an artist is just one that Bobowski has felt considering that the day she could keep a crayon. 

The Tahoe Metropolis silversmith makes use of silver and semi-treasured stones to craft one-of-a-kind items encouraged by lifestyle in the Sierra Nevada. 

“I create minor wearable landscapes and items of artwork that are a moment in time that incorporate silver and stones to notify a tale,” describes Bobowski. 

It’s a craft that took yrs of apprenticeship to hone. But Bobowski finds a perfectly of inspiration in Tahoe’s pure setting and in the stones them selves. Wildflowers, bears, owls, pine trees, antlers and the familiar shape of the lake itself are just some of the motifs identified all through her work.  

“Turquoise is my initially love. It will come in so a lot of beautiful shades — eco-friendly, brown and white — not just gorgeous blue,” she states. “I usually have a notebook on me. I’m continually sketching pics of landscapes or jewellery.”  

Lust just after a lot more of Lala Jewelry at or see it very first hand at Enjoy and Lupines in Truckee. 

Editor’s be aware: This tale was printed in the 2022-23 winter season edition of Tahoe Journal.