There are all kinds of donations to the silent auction today and for the first time I am nearly all caught up writing the bid sheets for display. There are fun things to share and surprising ones that we never saw in the past, like two tickets for Napa Valley Wine Trains gourmet dinner seating. Who knows, if you play your cards right I might be able to get Rusty to show you around the Napatopia beaver habitat on the way!

wine trainJon and I did this years ago and were so impressed. The ride through the vineywards up and back is glorious and the meal was delicious. It’s a great way to identify places you might like to go tasting later. But my favorite winery to pass is always the hillside retreat at Far Niente, which isn’t open to the public for tasting. I have always asked for a donation before but never been granted tickets in the past. We were lucky this time. I can’t help thinking that this time has something to do with my reading up on some local history and reminding them how Martinez was once the home of the Christian Brother’s (1879-1930) which moved to Napa and whose huge castle-like grounds eventually became the Culinary Institute. Martinez and Napa are practically cousins! Anyway, the pitch worked. Go watch the welcome promo which for some reason I can’t embed here and try and tell me that you aren’t dying to see for yourself.

Another treasure comes from Sparkhead Kids in Ontario Canada. One look and you will immediately understand why I had to ask owner Annellie Samuel to donate. This velveteen pillow cover presents “Felix the friendly beaver” and is gloriously soft to the touch but tough enough to stand up to many, many nap times. In fact you might just want to snuggle with him yourself.

 

  • We are a small artist run husband and wife team that designs and produces all our product in Canada
  • We are inspired by the Great North American Wilderness, its beauty and all the magnificent animals that live in it. Our goal is to bring the outdoors to inside of your home and create a positive message of our environment.
  • Our animal characters are there to amuse and have you fall in love with and to stay your friend for many years to come.

Her charming website has both cushions and prints and whimsically writes about him:

 

“You will soon fall in love with our Felix the Friendly Beaver, Velveteen, Cushion Cover. Designed in Canada, this original art is perfect for your woodland nursery or bedroom decor.

“Hi! I’m Felix the Friendly Beaver! Have you ever seen a real beaver? I have a special, flat tail, which I use to steer when I’m swimming. When there is danger, I warn other beavers by slapping my tail on the water to make a loud noise. I also have strong, sharp teeth for cutting down trees to make my home from mud and branches in the middle of a lake. My house even has underwater tunnels! Come and be a busy beaver with me!”

pillow case


My mailbox has been ringing with donations all week for our silent auction at the beaver festival, but I’m going to start with the watercolor prints by Robert Mancini of Melbourne Australia.

He is a truly talented artist that works to capture the natural world with his prodigious gift. I still can’t believe how generous he was with us. Obviously his beaver painting got my attention first, but I was thrilled to see the many others he included, of which these are just a sample., all signed and on quality paper. Go look at his website to see how talented he truly is. Thank you Rob, for your generous support of beavers!

 

 

 

 


We were headed to artist Molly Eckert’s home to pick up her donation to the silent auction. It was an easy drive off 12 past Guerneville to her eclectic home at the end of a wooded lane. She met us saying they had just finished some yard work and invited us in. The entry way was adorned with a line of perfectly round stones, every wall was covered in her art, and the ceiling shafted with brilliant skylights that made the home burst with light.

18403379_10209610124396203_6435595343010815816_n - CopyShe gave us 10 copies of the 1988 poster she made for Point Reyes, and delighted us with stories of how this once happened before photo shop so she had to insert all the individually painted wildlife by hand. We sat in her living room chatting with her and her very nice husband while she signed every last one. Our hosts were eager to hear the beaver story, and heartened by the public response. She admitted ruefully that she had not yet turned her artistic skills to beavers, but her husband showed us some sketches she had done of animated prairie dogs playing instruments that were so enchanting I could barely keep from stealing them and saying “you MUST do this for beavers, beavers, beavers!” Instead we showed her the ecosystem poster and the children’s banner and they were very impressed. Her husband was an elementary school teacher, and a big admirer of the children’s artwork and Fro’s sewing skills.

I would be very surprised if beavers were not in her future, at least! She was looking at the newsletter intently when we left. Fingers crossed.

18424182_10209610124436204_6754078517636936356_n - CopyOak1land ZooOther additions to the silent auction this week came from the Oakland Zoo (two adults and two children, plus free parking!) and the California Academy of Science (4 tickets!), which have both been wonderful supporters of the beavers in the past and are fantastic ways to keep yourself and academyyour family curious and learning during the long summer months.

Six Flags unfortunately declined to donate but forget them anyway. There will be plenty to entertain!

sidse by side

Mom and Junior: Rusty Cohn

Finally I heard from Rusty Cohn of Napa that he saw three beavers last night for the first time in a long while. In addition to their being a definite size difference in these beavers there is something else you should take note of. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

napa mom

Mother beaver with visible teats: Rusty Cohn

 

 


Finally a wonderful donation to the silent auction came from the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation this week. I originally glimpsed this wonderful 50th anniversary shirt on photographers Tom Rusert’s FB feed, and then asked friend Susan Kirks for an introduction to the group producing it, who was able to introduce me to the director, who in addition to promising one was kind enough to introduce me to the artist, Molly Eckler, a local artist in Sebastapol that has done amazing work for Point Reyes, The Laguna Foundation and others. Molly was kind enough offer a slough of posters as well. In fact we’re picking them up this weekend on our way to Safari West and I can’t wait. It’s kind of incredible how the intricate path we have walked these past 10 years links everything so seamlessly together. Thank you to Everyone!


 

In the meantime, we have some fine art of our own to share on this pleasant sunday. These pewter beaver pendants were donated by Steve Blom of Boise Idaho from his wonderful shop Treasure Cast on etsy. Both are delightfully detailed and have a lovely weighted feel to them. One is a necklace and the other is a broach, but they’re both lovely. Thanks Steve! If you can’t wait visit his shop and find a lovely creation of your own.

plateLocal artist and hard working beaver friend Erika Goldstein sent this yesterday that she created in her ceramic studios. Something tells me this is going to be snapped up quickly. I especially like the tail.

Meanwhile local artist Amelia Hunter has been slaving away on our 10th beaver festival design. This is what she has so far, but she’s still adding more color, I’m not crazy about the font and she’s thinking about swapping out the bottom text for our traditional ribbon. I love the bridge and the sense of place it communicates. It’s truly a wonderful first edition. Doesn’t this make you want to come to the festival?

covercrop


 

l_9781585369942_fcYesterday I received two lovely copies of the new children’s book “The Skydiving Beavers” by Susan Wood. It’s going to be released on “International Beaver Day” April 7. I agreed to do a short interview with Susan for the release but I can proudly include them for our silent auction now.

Regular readers of this website know I braced myself for the story because Idaho’s great beaver fling is not my favorite Capturebeaver tale. But this book does an excellent job of introducing the thoughtful fish and game official, Elmo Heter, who came up with that crazy scheme. He remembered all that left over parachute silk from WWII and invented the box that would open on impact. Then ran several trials with a plucky beaver named ‘Geranimo” to make sure it worked.

CaptureTime for some lovely donations to the silent auction. This week’s treasures come from Litographs in Cambridge Massachusetts. They are a remarkable business I happen to love because they turn favorite literature into wearable art. Literally. The entire text of a beloved book becomes a shirt, card, poster, tote or scarf. Catcher in the Rye, Scarlet Letter, Jane Eyre, Hamlet, The Princess Bride, classic or contemporary.

We founded Litographs because we had a vision of bringing our favorite literature off the page, onto your walls, and into your wardrobe. We believe in sharing the power of books with more people.

This is the entire text of Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” which they generously gave beautifully matted and ready for framing.

moby dickLong ago I had a conversation with owner Danny Fein about possibly working with the now-public-domain text “In Beaver World” by Enos Mills. While he wasn’t sure this was a project they would tackle any time soon, he personally made this for our event. Look closely because that is the entire book. Thank you Danny and friends at Litographs! For this beautiful addition to our silent auction.

IMG_2776Yesterday three bright and beautiful copies of MIT professor Penny Chisholm’s book on the water cycle arrived for the silent auction. She included a note thanking us for saving beavers! They are so brilliantly colored and so well told that they’re sure to be a hit with the parents and children there. Your very smart grandchildren might deserve a copy now, so go here to get your own. Thank you SO much for your help Dr. Chisholm.

closeNext came a present all the way from Rhode Island, where artist Carrie Wagner of Sepialepus donated a truly breathtaking and whimsical map of our golden state. I had originally seen her map of New York which included beavers, and asked her to think about donating. When she enthusiastically agreed she told me that she used to live in San Francisco and knew just where to add the beavers to her California map. Then she sent this, which is large, beautifully detailed and glorious. I’m including a closeup of the beavers so you can appreciate them fully.

CAMAP
This week the first donation was two sets of very beautiful note and holiday cards from Crane CreekGraphics in Wilson Wyoming. This was painted by artist and owner of the company, Wendy Morgan, who grew up and lives surrounded by nature. It’s a lovely glimpse of the beaver’s other, watery world.

They donated a set of notecards and a set of holiday cards with the Capturebeaver carrying a festive garland. Thanks Wendy for sharing your art with us!

Next on the list is the very engaging artwork of Indiana artist Ethan Burnsides Yazel. You will spot right away why I asked him for this print, but he delighted me more by including several others as well, including a raccoon stitching and a mouse gardening!

Go visit his shop on Etsy BursidesManor, for a collection that is intelligent, whimsical, sometimes grim. Always with rich color and detail. Thanks Ethan for your contribution to the beaver festival!

Finally, a tiny offering that came a long way. These charming drop earrings showing Mr. and Mrs. Beaver of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia were made by Jane E. Wells in Kent, England from her favorite childhood novel. Literally FROM the novel, as they come on a backing of the text as well. This blending of story, art, and jewelry conjures textured images from the past woven with a bright, inclusive future. Go see all her designs at her Etsy Shop Prairie Moon Crafts. And thank you Jane!


The third thing I want to share is the AMAZING donation we received from artist Sara Aycock. She’s a very clever woman in Boise Idaho with a book coming out next fall. I fell in love with her “Victorian Animals” series and she was crazy generous sendng 5 beautifully framed giclee prints that will completely knock your socks off. Each print comes with a framed character description as well. I’m partial of course to Mr. Beaverton. You need to go right now to her etsy store and support this kind of generosity and talent, because something tells me there will be a line waiting to bid on these delightful items at the auction.

aycock


Let’s leave that silly article behind us and talk about Sunday gifts, shall we? Just in time for their pub crawl story there was a generous donation from a delightful shop called “Cast of Characters” out of Portland Oregon. The artist (Mary Ann Dabritz) does brass creations of animals as door knockers, drawer pulls, etc. And she very kindly sent us this beaver bottle opener which I know will be in a bidding war of its own. You should go peruse her shop and see the wonders! Thank you Mary Ann.

Back in December I told you about the very special tile I received as a present showing a beaver on a lodge and a couple canoeing. It was made by the very impressive Natalie Blake Studios who do textured stunning Wall Art. Their are hired to do museums and public spaces and their backsplashes and pottery are breathtaking. I wrote them how much I loved the piece and the woman who made it (Cynthia, the second from the left in this photo) actually wrote back. The studio is in Vermont. And she said how her 5 year old son loved beavers, how in preparing herself for making my tile, she went on a beaver trek with Patti Smith (author of The Beavers of Popple’s Pond) and actually met the old blind beaver Willow and fed her apples.

CaptureIs everyone in Vermont wonderful? This seemed like a sign that I should inquire about a possible donation. It was a long shot, since their tiles are much in demand and expensive to ship. But her son loved beavers, so it was worth a shot. After a little discussion they sent me a lovely 8×8 botanical tile. Honestly the photo doesn’t do it justice. The surface is textured and rippled, and demands to be touched. You will have to come see it yourself. This is very similar to the grouping shown on the left which sells for over 1000 dollars. Here is the tile. It’s only flaw is that it pairs beautifully with the one I was given, which means I might need to bid on it myself.donated tile


This week’s mail delivered a bevvy of beaver bounty for the silent auction. Starting with an adorable sterling silver beaver necklace from “Stickman Jewelry” in Montreal, Canada. The charm itself is even cuter because it is so tiny. I anticipate rabid bidding on this cherishable trinket so start saving your pennies now.

The other glories came from artist Deborah Hocking in Portland. I didn’t even realize she was the brilliant artist behind the children’s book “Build beaver build.” I just really, really liked this print she was selling on etsy.

I wrote her about the beaver bicycle Bob Rust made for our festival and she was immediately hooked. She ended up donating 8 prints and a copy of her book! She might even design something for the festival! Sometimes the best part of asking isn’t the things you get, but remembering that there are like minds all over the globe.


CaptureSteve Sierigk at Acorn Designs in New York was the one who told me about beavers eating the woodland mushrooms on his farm.

Acorn Designs has been creating eco-friendly paper products as notecards, journals, and stationery since 1981. We remain dedicated to finding the greenest papers available and combine that with the highest quality art and stories to present you with a great product with environmental integrity. All of our products are sourced and manufactured in the US; mostly within very close proximity to our Finger Lakes, NY studio.
He donated journals and notecards with this inspiring design. Take a number if you are planning to bid on this, (preferably a number higher than mine!) This seems like the perfect place to take notes at a beaver conference!

A second generous donation came from artist Suzanne LeGault of GalleryVermont. This is a finished screen, mounted on foam core and ready for framing. The colors are so vibrant in person you will have to see to believe.

“Beaver” is an original 9-color screen print from a limited edition of 33. It is not a digital reproduction. Each print is hand pulled, numbered and signed. If you run your hand across the surface, you will feel the layers of ink.

Screen printing is a stencil technique in which thick ink is forced through porous fabric that has been stretched over a frame. The image is created by applying layer upon layer of ink onto a piece of paper with a squeegee. Each color requires a separate stencil. I use oil based ink and 100% rag paper. The print measures 5″ x 7″ and comes matted. With the mat, it measures 8″ x 10″ so it fits into a standard photo frame making framing very affordable.