Brushstrokes Studio

Brushstrokes Studio is a pottery, glass fusing, and mosaics studio located near the Fourth Street Shopping District in Berkeley. We offer drop-in studio time 7 days a week as well as classes, summer camps, birthday parties and special workshops.

20th Anniversary Welcome Sign!

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Derek and Tina and their beautiful boxer came to Brushstrokes today to paint our 20th anniversary Welcome sign. A true master, Derek perfectly captured my vision for this sign and we were all amazed at the speed and grace in his brushstrokes. I am asking Derek to teach a “Brushstrokes tips from a sign painter” class at Brushstrokes this fall. I believe he is on board. Who’s in?

At the sidelines of muddy baseball field...

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At the sidelines of muddy baseball field, I overheard a man boast lovingly about his wife’s artistic skill and teaching ability.  My ears perked up because I was looking for someone to teach color theory at Brushstrokes. I inserted myself into the conversation and found out more about Kim Bennett, who did in fact go on to teach a series of classes at Brushstrokes:  color theory (Joseph Albers), painting composition (Bauhaus), and, most recently, “The Art of the Art Assignment.”  Starting this month, she has been teaching Botanical Painting and Drawing on Wednesday mornings.  We all convene in our upstairs studio with arms full of foraged branches and flowers. We cover the tables with butcher paper or delicate sheets of watercolor paper.  We make pots of tea and listen to Andrew Bird.  

And we recite poetry. Kim and I share a passion for poetry and, in particular, Gerard Manley Hopkins who used drawing from nature as a way to inspire his poetry and deepen his understanding of creation and the Creator.

I’ve been trying to memorize as many of these poems as I can.  I can think of few things better than to have these words looping around my brain while I meditate on the beauty of a magnolia branch I’m drawing or painting (or while I’m unloading the dishwasher for that matter).

Pied Beauty

"Glory be to God for dappled things —
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.  

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;
Praise him.”

(G.M.H.)

Our New Sign: The Backstory

It seems every time I ask my friend Shana to recommend someone to help me with a creative endeavor for Brushstrokes, the answer is always the same:  ”Marina Luz."  When I needed someone to teach hand-lettering workshops at Brushstrokes, Shana of course reminded me to get in touch with Marina. So we met eachother and I was enchanted with this Stanford-educated, Emmy-award-winning illustrator.  She taught a series of relaxing, inspiring hand-lettering workshops at Brushstrokes and next we asked her to hand-paint a new sign for us.  She designed and painted this lovely blade sign:  a white rice bowl with a feather pattern, gold paint brushes and a shingle with a new, clean font for Brushstrokes.  

We’re updating our look at Brushstrokes to bring a fresh, modern sensibility to our beautiful studio.  Marina’s sign is one expression of that.  At her suggestion, we also repainted our bright green walls a soft charcoal blue to accentuate the shapes of the white pottery we sell.  We hope that when you come to our studio, you will be inspired 

Artists' dinner plates: Brushstrokes collaboration with Paulson Bott Press

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I’ve known Pam Paulson of Paulson Bott Press since the late 90s when her daughter Isabelle would spend the summers with me at Camp Brushstrokes (in trade for prints by Caio Fonseca).  Isabelle is now at UCLA and comes back in the summers to be a camp counsellor at Brushstrokes.  

Meanwhile, Paulson Bott Press and Brushstrokes have continued to be connected through a series of artist-made dinner plates.  Pam, her creative collaborator Renee, and the staff at Paulson Bott work with world-renowned artist on a series of prints.  Then they throw a dinner party in honor of the artist.  The artist and the printers will come to Brushstrokes and together create a series of plates on which dinner will be served.  Each dinner guest is invited to take their plate home with them.  

The artists we have worked with include Squeak CarnwathHung LuiGary Simmons and Tauba Auerbach.  Above is a stack of Tauba Auerbach plates fresh from the kiln and below is a photo from the dinner in December.

©2016 Brushstrokes Studio, Inc. Photos by Erin Scott and Stephanie Rausser.