For those of you who have had the chance to visit with my father, I’m going to guess you quickly observed several distinct characteristics about him. First, was meticulously dressed in dapper clothing with his colorful dichroic glass cuff links adorning his pressed sleeves. Second, he twisted any sentence into a pun, and answered any question you asked with a silly joke. Third, his blue eyes lit up with excitement as soon as he could show you the work of an artist we are carrying in the gallery.
We are selective about the artists we carry. If our eyes don’t twinkle when we see the work, we know it’s not a good fit for our gallery. If an artist is difficult or grouchy, we believe that comes through their work and we continue our search to find artists with whom we connect. My father has done hundreds of art shows and has met hundreds of artists. At one such art show, he discovered the work of Sarah Britton. His blue eyes twinkled when he saw her work, and his heart connected with lovely personality of Sarah. On top of all this perfection, she even caught his puns. She—and her work—perfectly fit our standard of “playfully elegant”. We have had the privilege of carrying Sarah’s delightful work in our gallery for the past three years.
Sarah Alice was born and raised in the small Victorian town of Maine, New York. Britton was formally trained in Jewelry Design from Buffalo State College in New York and has won several awards including 1st in Jewelry at the Beverly Hills Art Show in 2013, 2nd Overall at Art on the Main in Walnut Creek, CA in 2014, and 3rd Overall at Art on the Main in Walnut Creek, CA in 2015.
Now residing in Oroville, California, she creates her jewelry in a sunny studio, filled with artwork made by her friends that overlooks her cottage garden. She shares her cozy California bungalow with her husband, Michael, and their golden retriever, Scarlett. Sarah often brings her granddaughters to art shows with her, leaving her biggest supporter, Michael, home to run their brick-and-mortar dry cleaner business in Oroville, CA.
Sarah Alice’s granddaughters are her sheer delight, her inspirations, and her top sales team. They grant her the opportunity look at life from different angles. Too often the whimsy of childhood is lost or neglected as a person matures and embraces adulthood. Sarah Alice has chosen to celebrate the playful and fanciful parts of youth in her designs. In her work you will experience a new twist on childhood games such as jacks, bubble blowing and hangman, combined with the strong influence of the industrial North East.
Tactile by nature, Sarah Alice designs her jewelry to invite touch, inspire playfulness, and evoke a memory that results in a smile. She incorporates texture and maximizes the movement in her designs both literally and visually.
Perhaps one of my very favorite artist finds happened last fall while I was in upstate New York, visiting family. My lovely sister-in-law shares the same Northwest addiction to a perfectly crafted latte, and we were in dire need of on a non-keurig/non-starbucks fix. We volunteered to venture to the village on the pretense of bringing home cold-cuts. If you know a New York Italian family, you know that going to the store for cold-cuts is serious business. We were sure this excuse could buy us at least an hour and a half to explore shops and indulge in a frothy latte before we--and the delivery of fresh deli-sliced turkey, ham, roast beef and olive loaf--would be missed.
My sister-in-law used to live in the sweet town and knew the route to the best hidden coffee shop. We walked through chocolate scented alleys, and over cracked narrow sidewalks before arriving at the secret spot--a tiny yellow building tightly tucked in behind brightly colored storefronts. There, I greedily inhaled the first almond milk honey latte I had been able to find since landing in the apple state. Fully caffeinated, the two of us were ready to hit the shops.
We breezed through galleries and boutiques. We bought matching pairs of fingerless mittens & matching long necklaces because I love buying matching things with people I love. It makes me think of that person each time I wear it.
We entered a gallery with a purple facade. That's when we found it. An entire collection of Christoph Poly. Expecting the prices to be way beyond what we could possibly purchase on our matching shopping spree under the pretense of a cold-cut-run, we looked at the tags just for fun and were floored. Seriously? There must be an error. This jewelry is way too cool to be this affordable! I asked the saleswoman (who happened to be the owner) about the artist. She didn't seem to have the same enthusiastic approach my father and I share about talking with customers about artists. (*That was using my nice words.)
As every woman does when she wants to shop without guilt, I had left my phone at home. I wanted to be sure not to forget the artist's name, so I begged my sister-in-law to snap a photo. She wasn't quite discrete enough, but managed to zoom in on his name before the owner began to yell at us. I wasn't too worried, since my sister-in-law is a native New Yorker who can hold her own in any Questionable Vocabulary New York Street Throw-Down; but we realized our hour and a half was up, and we were still cold-cut-less.
Her phone began to ring. The Italians were starving. We raced to the deli to complete our original mission, but felt the greatest accomplishment of the trip was braving the crazed woman in the gallery and finding the most incredible jewelry at wonderful prices to share with you.
I have since had the opportunity to meet the French-Canadian Quebec artist personally at art shows, and I am thrilled to be carrying a full collection of his work in our gallery--right here in Moscow, Idaho--where we are thrilled to talk about our artists and we might even let you snap a photo in our store.