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North Hills Artists Feature Works in Holiday Handcraft Sale

About 30 artists create items for the seasonal shop at the North Hills Art Center.

Looking for a unique present?

The r has kicked off its Holiday Handcraft Sale, featuring handmade items from about 30 North Hills artists.

Items on sale at the center at 3432 Babcock Blvd. include jewelry, decorative wreaths and wooden statues, among others.

Ruthann Farinacci, president of the center's board, is one of the artists whose work is featured in the display. 

“I’m a fiber artist, I do thinning and felting, some of the scarves and hats and purses,” she said. “My specialty is landscape weaving. I love to do trees. I drill frames and then warp whatever I’m weaving on, and then I wrap them with a series of the weave. Sometimes I have hills and backgrounds.”

Farinacci is also involved with pottery and has taught classes for more than 10 years at the center. One of her pottery vases is displayed in the middle of the room, featuring a design of a dark midnight blue zigzag with dripping touches of white.

Another artist whose work is prominently displayed is Diane Pontoriero, whose forte is also pottery. During the opening ceremony, she was in the back of the studio firing raku pottery in a metal trash can. The resulting art is often dramatic and intense, Farinacci said, and has a blackened clay body with different crackles and iridescence throughout the piece.

“I have been an artist all my life, from age three when I got into my brother’s oil-paint kit and decided that the mural on the living room wall needed redone,” Pontoriero said.

“He was supposed to be babysitting me. That’s when my mom realized she needed to get me my own stuff," she said.

Karla Rhodes said the center is a North Hills treasure.

“You can get so creative and you don’t even need a spa therapy, this is therapy in itself," she said. "Diane does an incredible job of getting you to reach out, expanding, outside of the box, trying new things.”

Rhodes specializes in basket weaving, a trade taught to her by her mother. Her daughter, Natalie Rhodes, makes beaded bookmarks.

“Everybody in the family has their own little niche,” Rhodes said. “It’s in the family.”

The North Hills Art Center prides itself in offering unique and personalized holiday gifts that cannot be found in retail stores. For those interested, the sale will goon through Jan. 4; the center is open from noon to 4 p.m. every day but Sunday.

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