Plumas Arts cultivating culture & community
Artist Reception November 2
On November 2nd from 5 to 7pm the Capitol Arts Gallery hosts an Opening Reception for featured artists Richard Bright, wood turner and painter Helen Valborg. As part of each changing exhibition the gallery also regularly displays a diversity of work by the many and talented Plumas Arts member artists in a range of prices accessible to all persons.

For the past ten years, Richard Bright has turned functional bowls, natural edged bowls, artistic bowls, and closed forms out of his workshop in the Western Sierra Nevada.

His goal is to discover shapes hidden in the wood and use techniques learned and honed to highlight nature's hidden treasures; using only wood and burls considered waste because they have been damaged by weather, cleared to replant orchards, or removed for public safety. The Manzanita burls used for his Manzanita bowls have been removed from building sites or lots for fire prevention, this recycling serves both the environment and my artistic nature.

Pine Burl
With proper care, these bowls will last for generations: All they need is dusting and an occasional waxing with any good wood polish.
Wall Piece

Helen Valborg's first artistic influence came from her father who was and artist and "who initiated me into the realm of turpentine, multitudinous pigments and glorious brushes. As a child I recorded my life in pictures, using so much paper that my mother began buying rolls of shelf paper to keep me satisfied." Later, when she was attending college, she fell in love with anthropology and spent the next several decades devoting herself to its study and to field work in ethnology and archaeology as well as to teaching. "It is now, that I am retired from teaching I can devote myself with the same passion to painting and trying to bring onto canvas many of the interests I developed while working in the field as an academic."
Sierra Valley


While living and teaching in Plumas County Helen became deeply interested in the sense of place still very much alive among the Mountain Maidu people. From this she learned to look at places not merely as beautiful vistas or important resources but in terms of mythical interpretations and locations of momentous import to the old Maidu way of life. "Places where basket-weaving materials were to be found were not merely willow stands or clusters of red bud but locations where Earth Maker twisted Coyote's tail or wove the drama wherein women were blessed with the skills of weaving. Looking at places and seeing meaning in people's lives became a way of seeing for me. When I look at a landscape I try to see these qualities that live within it."

Helen paints plein air and attempts to capture the force of the elements in her palette and through her brush strokes. "When it is windy and clouds are dancing across the sky I paint quickly and rush to translate the moment onto canvas. I find painting a most powerful way to create a sense of place, a feeling about a place that lingers upon the canvas." Helen feels deeply fortunate to live in a locale where the seasons are full of drama and the high desert rolls up through tilled fields to the magnificent eastern slopes of the Warner Mountains. "In every direction natural places of great moment present themselves as inspiration to me. How wonderful to see it and feel it and try to paint it!"

Debbie Norton — "Heart of Almanor"

"Basketry is who I am. It is the marrow in my bones. It connects me to the Earth and its elements. It's a spiritual event."

Norton has been a resident of Lake Almanor since 1970. Her love for basketry began in 1975, the long winters at Almanor providing her with opportunity to create baskets from the pine needles and willow.


She has been part of the Great Basin Basket Makers Guild since 1993 and served as President in 1995. During this period she added gourds, willow, reed, antler baskets, paper making, to her long list of fiber art. In 1995 she taught at the Inter Mountain Weavers Conference in Tucson Arizona. In 1994 one of her gourds was published in "The Complete Gourd Craft" Book by Jim Widess and Ginger Summit in the pyrography chapter, and was chosen for the Larks Books advertisement of that book.

She was chosen as a "Passport in Time" volunteer in the Following The Smoke IX" project. With the six Rivers NF and the Kanuk Indigenous Basket weavers, learning and assisting in the traditional collecting, processing, of basket materials.

With Horn

Wall Hanging
Amber Stone