pv arts susana arias Judy stabile
Susana Arias (left) and Judy Stabile have curated the current exhibit, “Out of the Fire,” at Pajaro Valley Arts, 37 Sudden St. Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

“Out of the Fire” is the latest art exhibit to showcase at the Pajaro Valley Arts Sudden Street Gallery. More than 55 artists are in the show with artwork that was created or affected by fire, such as a kiln, welding, blown glass and other methods.

Susana Arias and Judy Stabile curated the show that includes jewelry, ceramics, forged metal, fused and slumped glass, bronze casting, encaustics, raku, laser etching, porcelain and more.

“One of the things that is intriguing about working with fire is that you never know how the final work is going to turn out,” Stabile said. “You have an idea; you have a process—but sometimes the process fails, or other times the material fails and changes the outcome.”

And in that unpredictability, often new ideas emerge, Arias added.

“When the overall artwork changes, you might like it and you learn something new in working with fire,” Arias said. “We had a very strong response in our call for artists. The majority of the artists are local.”

The theme of the show emerged from the idea that when working with fire, it does not always yield the planned results and an element of surprise can then play a role in the end.

“I think that’s why artists continue to work in the medium in that everything is different every day,” Stabile said.

Arias said watching the artwork come through the door as the show was being set up last week surprised her.

“It’s one thing to see photos of the works, but as they were carried into the gallery some of them took on a new life,” she said. “Like the one of the girl and the bird; we thought they were little pieces.”

Stabile and Arias said that curating the show took on the task of grouping works not just by processes but by color and form, and that the show was a large departure from previous shows in that many of the works are three-dimensional.

“In some cases a clay piece, a bronze and a glass work played off each other well,” Arias said. “It was very different from arranging paintings on a wall.”

Stabile said that Arias continues to put an enormous amount of energy into the continuation of PVA.

“She has put a lot of time into this over the years at Sierra Azul, working with Hedwig with the ‘Sculpture Is’ shows,” Stabile said. “She’s an amazing person that has given a lot to PVA. She works from her heart. This is her passion.”

“Out of the Fire” runs from Aug. 8-Sept. 24. The opening reception is Aug. 13 from 2-4pm at 37 Sudden St., Watsonville. For information, call 722.3062.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


  1. Love the article! Thank you so much. The piece atributed to Lucia Bruer is actually by Franco DeMajo. You always capture the essence of our exhibits. Thank you so much

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