To put it mildly, Elverhoj’s current exhibition, “Transitions: Wood as Art,” is a must-see.

Members of the Santa Ynez Valley Woodworking Guild create art from nature. Each piece is an experience, one that captures the essence of the artist. The works are truly original, their designs come from within and all are unique.

Do you think I’m impressed? You bet!

The opening reception was Aug. 3 and all displaying artists were on hand. The SYVWG was formed in 1994 with a five initial members, all from the Valley. Now the Guild has expanded to include woodworkers from Atascadero, Nipomo and San Luis Obispo. Members exhibiting in the current show are Richard Farwell, Ken Frye, George Paes, Dave Seymour, Roger Combs, Robin Corell, Mike Magrill and Bud Tullis.

I’ve known Bud, one of the five founding members, for a long time and only within the last 10-plus years did we realize we graduated from the same high school, Long Beach Polytechnic. Although he is much older — one year — our paths didn’t cross until sometime in the 1970s.

Elverhoj explains the exhibit as a “focus on structure, rare and exotic materials, elegant lines, fine details and beautiful finishes. From tables to urns and light fixtures to stools, the work is noted for its functional, enduring design while at the same time retaining a uniqueness and artistry.”

And that says it all. Each woodworker has his own look, and it is easy to put the artists with the work.

Bud’s technique and style leans toward what I would call rustic modern. With strong, clean lines, each piece conveys a reverence for the wood while maintaining its natural beauty and characteristics. When you go — and you must — check out his tables and whimsical vanity.

I was particularly taken by Richard Farwell’s cherrywood and hand-painted silk wall sconces. These stunning lamps evoke the arts and crafts movement and Frank Lloyd Wright.

There’s a magnificent high-backed rustic chair and very tall floor lamp crafted by Robin Corell.

Dave Seymour wows with a modern take on the traditional grandfather clock and a striking glass-topped coffee table.

Ken Frye is an inlay artist who has produced some stunning pieces. Mike Magrill turns works that range from orbs to vessels and wooden pieces with the appearance of woven baskets.

Atascadero member Roger Combs’ bench invites you to sit, and George Paes’ memorial urns give you peace.

Don’t miss this opportunity. The exhibit runs through Oct. 27. It’s a rare look at the elegant art of woodworking.

As usual, Elverhoj’s docents provided refreshments for the reception and that got me to thinking about one of my favorite finger foods — Idamarie’s unbeatable cheese crackers.

With summer parties and barbecues, here’s an easy recipe that is sure to please.

Idamarie’s Cheese Crackers

1⁄2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese

1⁄2 lb. premium brand

margarine (use stick

margarine, not soft)

2 c. flour

1⁄4 tsp. paprika

2 c. Rice Krispies

Set cheese and margarine out until both soften slightly then, using a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, cream until smooth. Mix in mix flour and paprika. Remove blade and fold Rice Krispies into mixture by hand. Form into small balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with a fork dipped in flour. Bake at 325 degrees for 18 minutes.

Variations: Add dill weed or cayenne pepper to taste when mixing. Sprinkle with additional dill or cayenne just before baking. Also, I’ve added Roquefort cheese. but be careful, Roquefort is quite salty so don’t use too much. Incorporate some coarse-ground black pepper into the dough and sprinkle more on top of crackers before baking. Delicious!

Longtime Santa Ynez Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at

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