Bob and Judy Dykstra-Brown
The road to the home of Bob and Judy Dykstra-Brown winds through a series
of small towns in the hills north of the city. Only a few miles outside
Santa Cruz nature closes in, and the bustle of the seaside community is
replaced by the mysterious beauty of steep, forested canyons.
At the end of the journey I found an artist's paradise. The road
climbs steadily for the final few miles before reaching their secluded
mountain residence. The house is set among a breathtaking grove of
cedar and pine, and is surrounded by lush forest growth. A series
of wooden decks, thick with potted plants, decorative fountains, and outdoor
sculptures, surround the main house.
The interior of the house is equally awe inspiring. A formal entryway
lined with provocative sculptures and ethnic artworks leads into a large
living area that also serves as a gallery space for their work. Even after
an hour it was difficult to determine what was work on display, and what
was a permanent fixture of their home.
Bob and Judy create an impressive array of finely crafted sculpture,
jewelry, and one of a kind hand crafted lamps. The most obvious feature
of their work is it's organic quality. Wood, paper, stone, vines,
fiber, antler, and even bone are combined into sensual sculptures and functional
Many of their works take on the form of pods or cocoons. It is
clear that their art is reflective of, and integrated with, the way
they live their lives. Their work displays a deep respect for nature,
and an appreciation of it's innate and divine beauty.
Their home contains a series of studios and workshops, each with
a specialized purpose. The room pictured above contains tools for cutting
and polishing stone. The room below is a storehouse for hand made
paper and an assortment of organic elements. The house also contains
a woodshop, a photo studio, and a sewing workshop.
I met Bob and Judy at the Sausalito Art Festival, and was immediately
attracted to their work. It was Judy who first told me about the
Santa Cruz Open Studios event, and convinced me it would be worthwhile
to go. They were right of course, and there is no doubt that seeing
their home and work was the highlight of my visit to Santa Cruz.