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The 2005 Altar Show

The Nevada County Fair Grounds, Grass Valley, California


by Meg Hughes

This altar is meant to encourage those who see it to look beyond their own prejudices and view people differently...with compassion and insight.

Finish Them or Let Them Go

"Finish Them
or Let Them Go"
by Kat Barrie

Since I was a young girl I have loved to work on creative projects. Most end up as gifts for my family and friends. For years I saved those projects that, for whatever reason, I wasn't able to finish. Some of them have remained unfinished for a very long tome. This altar marks my intention to either finish them or let them go.

Savanna de las Estrellas Mesones

"Savanna de las Estrellas Mesones"
      September 18, 2001 - December 1, 2001
by Elisabeth Mesones

A Celebration Of Butterflies
A crowd of grieving caterpillars was carrying a dead cocoon to its final resting-place. The poor caterpillars were weeping and broken hearted; but all the while the lovely butterfly fluttered over their heads.
The Compassionate Friends


by Charles F. Woods

To Scott

"To Scott, and Lauren, and Epi and Others"
by Claudia Cunningham

They are hidden from the public eye.
They umpire or coach for years without pay.
They help the parenting process.
'Let Coach take care of it.'
They give of themselves because
      they care about the sport,
but more importantly about the kids.
Thank you for guiding them!

My Confusion

"An Altar to My Confusion"
by Teddy Kell

To my confusion
as to what this altar is about and
who I am in this 77th year of my life.
building the altar may give me some answers,
Or at least tell me what the question is --

Peak Oil -- Catastrophe or Opportunity?

"Peak Oil -- Catastrophe or Opportunity?"
by Rianne Lovett, Paula Orloff and Donna Schnider

With in a fewyears, the world will reach peak oil: The world's oil consumption will be greater that the earth's oil reserves. This means drastic changes in transportation, food housing, factories and more. But oil scarcity can offer communities an opportunity to design sustainable lifestyles with healthful renewable energy.

Dress Up

"Dress Up"
by Stephen Edwards

Cherishing the occasion, donning grandma's lace curtains, being magically transformed into a super-hero, a bride or anything creative imagination would manifest.


by Old Moonshine

Tucked away here and there
are places special
Perhaps just a place to pause
and catch one's breath
Some are deep and secret
safe from other eyes
Resting places of the soul
they nurture us
From them we come forth

Pieces Of Life

"Pieces Of Life"
by Cathy Chmel

Our lives and the relationships in them are like intricately connected puzzles. The pieces that we give others, and the pieces we receive in return, are true gifts ~~ indelibly connecting us to each other. This altar is dedicated in love and remembrance to my father, Richard Irving Chmel.

Leonard Bloom

"Leonard Bloom"
September 10, 1918 - September 20, 2004
by Roberta Bloom

My father was a humble man inside and out. He was kind, understanding, artistic, deeply spiritual and very devoted to his work and family. He loved humor, N.Y.C., dogs and children. He saw the best in everyone. I miss his twinkling eyes, gentle smile and conversations over tea.

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

"Blessed Are the Peacemakers"
by Don Baldwin

This sculpture remembers persons of conscience who, through non-violent action, have died for peace, not war. Constructed entirely of discarded, reclaimed, and restored wood, each component box is dedicated to one such courageous soul ~~ symbolizing that, through death, new life can flow, new beauty and harmony emerge. Peace.

Temple on Golden Mountain ~ A Meditation on Impermanence

"Temple on Golden Mountain
~ A Meditation on Impermanence"
by Terry Jean Meekins

Only a few Chinese Temples or Joss Houses survive from the Gold Rush days. Only one still witnesses an unbroken tradition of worship, honoring ancestors and securing their spiritual assistance with devotions, feasting, parades, fireworks, burning paper offerings and incense, and divinations.
As the temples vanish, the ghost towns, Indian camps and lone cabins that graces my early life with mystery also crumble out of memory. Soon the last of my life's most beloved places in apple orchard deer beds, rose-hip meadows and pine music back woods will be scraped up and feed to the pitiless monster of Development.
This spirit-house altar made of artifacts is for my grandmother and my mother who, boot deep in the moldering layers of mining camp ravines, taught me to read and love the history of California.

In Sympathy and Remembrance ~ We are All the Casualties of War

"In Sympathy and Remembrance ~ We are All the Casualties of War"
by Grandmothers for Peace

Using a collage of pictures, objects and declarations, Grandmothers for Peace helps us remember that we are all, either directly or indirectly, casualties of war. Grandmothers for Peace works to create a world of peace for this and future generations.

Reiki, An Ancient Spiritual Japanese Healing Method

"Reiki, An Ancient Spiritual
Japanese Healing Method"
by Ella O'Bryan

The Reiki Guild is a group of highly trained practitioners committed to bringing Reiki into our community. We have outreach programs at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospice of the Foothills. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind, and Spirit and creates many beneficial effects including relaxation, feelings of peace and well-being. Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. Reiki promotes wellness through deep relaxation and assists the body in self-healing wherever it is needed.

Asking Deeper Questions

"Asking Deeper Questions"
by Sierra Nevada Deep Ecology Institute

Since the Industrial Revolution,
      human acts have had
      a dramatic and increasing
            impact on nature.
Many species have become extinct
            or are currently threatened.
We gather to honor our family of life,
      and to ask deeper questions
      about the relationship
            between humans and nature.


by Theodora (Teddi) Alves

War is Murder War is Murder

"War is Murder"
by Theresa Juarez Lyon

Each grain of rice within the vessels on this altar represents a child, woman, or man whose life was ended as a result of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. May we all, and especially our leaders, be guided from beyond to end this legally sanctioned murder which we call War.

An Altar for Angela

"An Altar for Angela"
by Be Davison Herrera

Sometimes you know
      time will be short
That loss is inevitable
as well
Some great meteors
streak across the sky
Calligraphing rich laughter
word gifts
Etching pains power
with the grace of
Great talents well used
Angela Elizabeth Boyce
is such a meteor
Flashing in our hearts

Bridging Dimensions

"Bridging Dimensions"
by Myra Lynne Traugot

A poetic assemblage of meaningful objects.
      A temporarily significant three-dimensional
model of a multi-dimensional bridge.

An Altar For Juanita

"An Altar For Juanita"
by Ann Teubert

Memorial for Jan Buryn McCarthy

"Memorial for Jan Buryn McCarthy"
by Ed Buryn

Beloved gal Jan, we will see you no more in this life.
No more of you in the flesh, no more in this hard life.
But your spirit-being burns bright still,
you hover as a loving angel in our midst.
No more cares, rest in peace, sweet eternal soul.

Bear River Business and Technology Partnership Academy

Bear River Business and
Technology Partnership Academy

Our altar is a homage to technology because our program focuses on teaching business and technology skills to our small learning community. Looking at our altar, it is easy to see how rapidly technology is evolving. As you look at our altar, think about all the changes that have occurred just within the lifetime of our students.

one beating heart

"one beating heart"
by Heidi Starr

In this sliver of a moment
      ...can you glimpse
      past the illusion of separation?
      Do you remember? We are one.

Learning To Love After Loss

"Learning To Love After Loss"
by Cara Wasilewski

My altar is dedicated to my mother, who was my best friend for the first ten years of my life, my angel for the last twenty-four years, and to my daughters, who taught me how to open my heart to love and life.

Drew's Place

"Drew's Place"
by Ann Heinrich

Drew Reynolds, friend, father and husband, is remembered for his gift of community. Drew's Place is a family grief center for community members who are grieving. Please put a leaf in remembrance of your loved one on our tree. Sign in and we will contact you, or call us at (530) 265-0719.

On Earth as it is in Heaven

"On Earth as it is in Heaven"
by Chef Guillaume

My work is about the transformation of the mundane in our lives. I have used everyday objects and parts of objects to create a spiritual expression from the everyday mundane things of our lives.


by Sam Hughes

It is good to have a best friend
and lots of other friends too.


by William Pynchon

Memories of Aloha, Hawaiiana Kalani,
Lei day paper Leis,
Yicklung Manapua Lemonpeel.
Likule hua Maile, Kalakawa,
Royal Hawaiian Halikalani,
Rainbow Drive in Kapahulu
Waimalnalo Makapuu Pali,
Jackass ginger Primo Beer Mokuleia La pietra
Manoa Valley, Palolo, Kalihi Ala ala pak
No more 5 cent Gabby, Genoa Keawe Kahala,
Duke Kahanamoku.
My heart will always be there. Mahalo.


"Being Source"
Rev. Linda Lamb

A Living experiential altar honoring the Divine Eternal Luminous ONE Universal Life Source as expressed through the artless art of Jin Shin Jyutsu. The renewal of the Eternal Breath of Life through this Art of Living. Remembrance of Being the Oneness of All That is manifest and in unmanifested forms.


by Douglas Slayton

      Lamentation is not an American cultural value. Unlike other cultures that uphold sadness, tragedy and death as part of the fabric of life. America flees from death and ignores it, utterly unwilling to accept it as a integral component of the human experience.
America today refuses to lament. It refuses to weep, and deliberately chooses not to acknowledge the effects of its decisions upon the world as well as its own citizens. It legitimizes its actions without accepting the responsibility that no action in the world is conducted without some regret.

The Banquet

"The Banquet"
by Chad Wood

My altar is modeled after the Dutch still lives of the Baroque period. These artists wanted to depict the ordinary world in which they lived, because it was beautiful. They could simultaneously represent life and death. This piece represents a banquet that celebrates both life and death.


by Elena Lokvig

Prayer is personal to each person, tribe or culture, expressed in different ways:
Dance, song, chanting or music.
For some, prayer is in good thoughts for others and self. The brain is electrically charged with energy and the power of LOVE sends it out. Prayer heals heart & soul and faith is the hand to God's Light and Love.

The Permanent and Changeless Past

"The Permanent and Changeless Past"
by Brenda Collins

My first altar is for my dad, Frank Collins, and his family. The theme is from John Steinbeck, who visited an unchanged vista from his childhood and was comforted by the memories of his family preserved in the landscape and his heart, permanent and changeless.

What is Inside & What is Outside

"What is Inside & What is Outside"
by Bitney Springs High School Art 2 Class

When people look at a grave,
They see the stone & they see the grass,
They're so curious, but never ask.
But if you're up to the experience,
Just look in our mirrors and it gets intense:
The mirrors we provide show a doorway in
the time of death.
But if you look hard enough at any gravesite
You'll find a similar doorway,
Except that one will lead to eternal torture or
eternal serenity --
A real doorway to death,
Or a real doorway to identity.
-- Alex Glapsie

Beginning to breathe (again)

"Beginning to breathe (again)"
by Sarah C.V. Henrickson

Compassion for ourselves gives rise to the power to transform resentment into forgiveness, hatred into friendliness, and fear into respect for all beings.
A quote from Jack Kornfield

When I Die I Want Peace of Mind

"When I Die I Want Peace of Mind"
by Lhesli Benedict

I see you so small
I hear you so confused
I feel you laboring
Peace on/with/for You
      My Love

Time, Ecstasy and Nelly

"Time, Ecstasy and Nelly"
by Diana Pollack

Nelly was a woman caught in her time. A dancer who seldom danced, a musician who never played, she found her ecstasy in creating beauty as she could, preparing exquisite food for her family and growing amazing gardens. She grew us, her children as well.

Grass Valley United Methodist Church

Grass Valley United Methodist Church
Colorful cranes, with prayers to God
      tucked in their hearts, fly above.
Write down a prayer from your heart
      that will be lifted up to God.

The Good Earth

"The Good Earth"
by Claudia Cunningham

My husband Cleve wore many hats, but his 22 years in Nevada County deepened his love of the good earth. Out of doors was his sanctuary. Life reverberated in nature's cycles. He instigated both the organic divisions at the fair and the farmers' market. Growing, in many forms was important to him.

The Feather

"The Feather"
by Mischa Murawski-Brown

Use you imagination.

A Garden for St. Francis of Assisi

"A Garden for St. Francis of Assisi"
by Lin Schiffner

My altar quilt is dedicated to the memory of St. Francis. Gregg and I have been inspired by the thoughts and example of this beloved saint since our youth. In the Catholic tradition, St. Francis is the patron saint of the environment, animals, birds, needle workers, and Peace.

Rainbow Bridge

"Rainbow Bridge"
by Carol Hyndman

The Rainbow Bridge is where animals cross over when they leave the earthly plane.
The sick, hurt, old are all perfect and whole.
Pets wait here for their people to cross so they can once again be united in love.
This year's altar is dedicated to the memory of animals lost in the Tsunami and hurricane Katrina.

The Other Homeless

"The Other Homeless"
by Carol Hyndman

Dedicated to lost, homeless, and shelter animals
Whose only fault was being born into a world
Of too few homes.
Save an animal from a shelter or humane society
And spay and neuter your pets.

Dave Weadock

Dave Weadock

In Honor Of Daughters

"In Honor Of Daughters"
by Claudia Cunningham

My daughters Kelly Kolar Valin and Amy Kolar Wiser share a spiritual bond with me. But the tribute is to them for supporting me, in so many ways, especially with my fears and doubts, including my husband's death and growing older.
Baby-steps, Mom!
      Giant steps, girls!

Faith is a mystery that we are beginning to...

"Faith is a mystery that we are beginning to..."
by C. V. Brennan

Dancing in the Emptiness

"Dancing in the Emptiness"
by Yasha Carus


Gei = art   sha = person
by Tamara Randi

Geisha is a woman trained
in the traditional arts of Japan,
such as dance, music and singing -
just to name a few.
Geisha's profession is based on
preserving the traditional arts of Japan
in a non-sexual manner.
They were never prostitutes,
although prostitutes posed as Geisha.

Hope for Tomorrow, Strength for Today

"Hope for Tomorrow, Strength for Today"
by Stephanie J. Unsell

My altar is about the dreams I hold in my heart. These are dreams that may or may not come to be. But they are what allow me to live today with the hopes of tomorrow. My love goes out to my mother and father for their strength to be with me.

The Shadow Of Her Smile

"The Shadow Of Her Smile"
by Katy Fraczeck

Just As You Are

"Just As You Are"
by Mandy Farnsworth

With the changes of the world and in myself, I have experienced emotions such as fear, anxiety and uncertainty.
I have created a piece to celebrate the confidence to overcome our minds.
This altar is about manifestation.
It is about not ignoring any face of an emotion but to choose to stand tall and meet the world of challenges eye to eye.
May we all find the inner strength to be a contribution in the world.
My love and appreciation go to my mother, Elizabeth, Christina, Amy, Lisa and Nick

Tableau Of Tears

"Tableau Of Tears"
by Sue Coziah

My altar is Tableau of Tears as performed by The Monkey and the Clowns, depicting the moment of the arrival of sad news. A tableau, according to Webster's dictionary, is a representation of some scene by a grouping of persons who remain silent and motionless in appropriate postures.

Priest of the Gnostic Church of St. Mary Magdalene

"Mary Magdalene"
by Christine Irving

Priest of the Gnostic Church of St. Mary Magdalene
Maligned, defamed, erased
She whom the master loved best
She whose mouth he kissed
She who through gnosis
Became the peer for which he yearned -
Wise woman, soul mates, teacher, and friend
Missing half of an equation
We long to understand

S.O.S. Stomp Out Stigma

"S.O.S. Stomp Out Stigma"
by Cathy Renee Lewis

Mentally ill people not only have to live with a persistent mental challenge, they also face and have to live with the stigma attached to their mental illness by our society. They are treated with disrespect and discrimination in every day situations such as housing, employment, medical.
Stomp Out Stigma is a program that works to educate people about mentally ill people; we are not monsters, we are not crazies, weirdoes, idiots; we are a part of everyday life in society.
Our altar is aimed to stand out/up against stigma right here in Nevada County.
Spirit Peers for Independence & Recovery, Inc.
Spirit Mental Health Peer Empowerment Center.