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Baja Glass Studio and Art Gallery Expands

by Marilyn Helgeson

When it opened 4 years ago, Baja Glass Studio and Art Gallery, located in the courtyard of historic Hotel Calafia, immediately became an anchor of the Rosarito arts community. Co-owner and docent, Larry Kelly, has organized Literary Art and Fashion Shows as well as events featuring the works of many of Baja's distinctively talented artists. Do join their mailing list or follow Baja Glass and Gallery on Facebook. These events, which also feature wine and hors d'oeurves including Larry's famous sweet onion dip, are well attended highlights of the Baja area calendar.

The gallery opened featuring the glass art of artists Jose Ghilarducci and Lee Manning. Last month, the gallery expanded to include the works of well known fabric designer, Marilynn Pardee, and a newcomer to the professional art scene whose works are selling before the paint dries, Janine Richardson.

Jose Ghilarducci, had other careers, in dentistry and in real estate (which he still maintains as managing broker at Baja Ocean Front Properties) before he and Larry moved to Baja full time. In Baja, he unpacked his love of glass making and all things bright and beautiful which he had brought with him from his native Puerto Rico. Along the way Jose was very fortunate that a glass master invited him to her studio and took him under her wing. Later, he attended two consecutive years at an intensive fused glass art program at Arrowmont College in Tennessee. Jose's one-of-a-kind fused glass pieces range from iced, bold dichroic jewelry through a collection of whimsical masks which have pronounced cubism, primitivism and ethnic influences to woven glass serving dishes, wall hangings and chandeliers.

Ahhhh, Lee Manning ~ color, texture, patterns, music, food, beaches and Harley riding are all muses for her collectible glass bead art. Her father and grandmother had a love for all things glass which means that the memories of family gatherings of Lee's youth feature beautiful tables of their unmatched but much loved collectibles.
The next step of Lee's glass bead jewelry journey was a trip to the glass bead factory in Chiang Mai Thailand with her 'glass diva' tribe. She is back with colorful stories of interacting with elephants, authentic Thai food, the inside workings of the glass factory and a fresh zest for creating with glass beads. Do you enjoy salsa? Do you have a salsa spoon? If not, come see Lee and pick one out in your favorite bead colors. Accompanying diva glass adventures stories … extra charge.

Marilynn Pardee's creative journey catapulted forward after a night at Gorky's, a hip hangout/Russian deli on 9th and Julian in Los Angeles, circa early 1980s. She didn't have time to go home and change out of her self designed, painted burlap top. It was the hit of the evening. In 1984, during Fashion Week at the California Mart, Marilynn led off the runway show and was named one of the 10 rising stars in California. Last month, she had a one woman show at 7 Degrees in Laguna Beach. Now you can take home a piece of Tire Punk Art or wearable art for both women and men and meet the artist right here in Rosarito.

Janine Richardson's colorful, Cubist, Picasso-esque style is extra amazing because she is self taught. In her 'single mom' days, when she couldn't afford canvases, Janine says that she painted the walls. Best way to tell you how inspiring Janine's work is, is to tell you that a couple, who acquired one of Janine's pieces, did it the high honor of removing a Marc Chagall from the entry area in their home to hang the Janine self portrait.

Winter into spring hours at the gallery (located at Hotel Calafia courtyard, km 35.5) are Thursday to Sunday 12 noon to 5:00 PM or by appointment.


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