Escondido Art Beat, April Edition

Carli Bridges  "Tuxedo Rabbit in UFO Attack" from “Emerging Artists High School Student Show.”

April is for artists with two of the Escondido ilk spreading the good work about art around town courtesy of awards and community building.

Meet mosaic artist Marsha Rafter

Marsha Rafter believes in building an arts community in, and around, the Hidden Valley. Her latest project was an outdoor installation of a memorial bench for a 17 year old girl who died of a rare form of lung cancer. Her Tree of Life was constructed specifically for the Hospice.

Martha Rafter was looking a bit bluish at her Los Gatos High School memorial bench installation for a 17-year-old Cancer patient who succumbed to the disease.

Martha Rafter was looking a bit bluish at her Los Gatos High School memorial bench installation for a 17-year-old Cancer patient who succumbed to the disease.

A Hidden Meadows resident, Rafter has completed several large outdoor installations locally and in Northern California over the last year. “ I especially enjoy working with clients to create custom murals for their homes or gardens,” she said.

“In addition,” Rafter continued, “I teach classes and am a credentialed teacher in the state of California with twenty years experience. I’m interested and currently pursuing building community through working with groups of adults as well as children to create public art mosaics in Escondido and the surrounding communities.”

Rafter said she enjoyed working with interior designers, landscape designers, and individual collectors, designing and collaborating to create unique pieces for their individual settings.

“My combined experience with ceramics and mosaics provide a unique perspective for creating highly textural and colorful pieces, with original sculpted designs incorporating ceramic tile as well as stained glass, mirror glass, tempered glass, vitreous glass tile, found objects and stones,” she said.

Rafter is signing up students for a ceramics class titled Creating Containers for Succulents as well as a wide range of mosaic classes and workshops.

Tree for Life.

Tree for Life.

The succulent container classes hand-build three different styles of small-to-medium containers using a variety of texture tools and construction methods. A second class how to layer glazes for different effects and how to use stains will be covered. Work will be fired and available for pick up a week later. Cost: $90

“Each month you can come learn a new style or improve your skills,” Rafter said. “The studio is open for the very beginner to the more experienced. There is something for everyone.”

For more information, visit or call (530) 277-5494.

Kitchen and baths, art for the masses

Barbara Preston, kitchen and bath designer, artists and Escondido Public Art Commissioner.

Barbara Preston, kitchen and bath designer, artists and Escondido Public Art Commissioner.

Meanwhile, long-time Escondido resident, and Escondido Public Art commissioner Barbara Preston has been painting the town fantastic with work including her related business gig as recently recognized Fine Magazine’s Kitchen and Bath Designer of the Year.

Kitchen and baths represent the bread and financial butter as Preston says she enjoys “playing with,  with customers surrounded by a mess of samples. “If we haven’t pulled out everything, how do we know we’ve found the perfect look,” she laughs.

Yet it’s all about the art, as Preston works with color and scale to hone her best style. North County has been a wonderful place to grow and explore,”  she quips. “The art world in Escondido is so inviting.” Preston feels honored to serve as a Public Art Commissioner for her city. She is also one of the founding board members for the Escondido Arts Partnership/Municipal Gallery.

Barbara Preston, artist at work.

Barbara Preston, artist at work.

Preston has shown has participated in over 50 shows including group and solo exhibitions. Her art has hung in galleries and museums throughout California, Nebraska and the Chicago area and won awards from The Del Mar Fair, Escondido Municipal Gallery, and The San Diego Art Institute among others.

Preston’s Home Remodeling Center is at 830 Los Vallecitos Blvd., San Marcos. For more information visit or call (760) 591-3932. For more about Preston’s art, visit,

Escondido Arts Partnership events

Want to meet Rafferty, Preston and all the art scene around town? Consider these upcoming events and art exhibitions.
April 8 – May 7

“All Mixed Up” featuring mixed media artworks with a unique dialogue

“Emerging Artists High School Student Show”

“In Motion” Photography by the PhotoArts Group

April 9, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Second Saturday Art Walk, on Grand Ave. and around Escondido

April 10, 7 p.m.

Art & Life, Escondido Arts Partnership and Patio Playhouse present play readings, spoken word, and performances about life in the arts, every second Sunday of the Month

Or course, the EAP Municipal Art Gallery is open during the following hours:

11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday ( (Farmers Market)

11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday – Saturday

The Gallery is 262 E. Grand Ave. Escondido, CA 92025. For more, visit or call (760) 480-4101.

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