- Why Humboldt?
Why Do I
Live in Humboldt county?
From The Humboldt Beacon, March 9, 2006: By Elizabeth Berrien
Wahlund rides horseback on a peaceful Humboldt County beach.
I was first drawn to move here by the sheer abundance of natural
beauty. We are surrounded by it. Every day brings home the awareness of
proximity to the very edge of a continent. Restlessly shifting tectonic
plates beneath us, heavy thundershowers above, lend an awareness that
nature can surprise us any time.
There's such a joy to seeing a colony of egret nests from the heart of
downtown, or herons intently fishing by the roadside. Our sky, when not
leaden and drizzling, is a clear lucid blue. Our majestic redwoods,
when not shaven and scrubbed from the landscape, are proud and
glorious. Our air, when not occluded by a whiff from the pulp mill,
carries a tantalizing collection of aromas - salt sea air, roasting
coffee, fresh mown hay.
Bar Berrien, nestled in a small vally surrounded by redwoods. The views
When we moved to Eureka in 1989, we were astonished to discover how
many artists were already here. Humboldt County was just gaining
recognition as a newly unveiled art colony, with a heavy concentration
of high caliber fine arts and contemporary crafts. As with all good art
colonies, the availability of great eateries, music and theatre lend to
the overall ambience.
This is a very unusual artist community. We don't just live and work
here - we are an active part of the community. We give til it hurts
when the non-profits need art for their fundraisers. We take an
interest in politics, and add our voices and energy to matters that
mustang Dutch grazes in the farm's lush pasture.
have fun, and share it with our neighbors. Some artists' fun developed
into the Kinetic Sculpture Races, the Rural Burl Mural Bureau, and
Pastels on the Plaza. Lots of artists go into the schools, to get kids
started on a creative mind-set that may become a second or third
What I love the most about being here, and what send my roots right to
the heart of the earth, is the community itself. Folks who can't find a
job, make one of their own. That's what working artists are all about -
a clean, light industry creating high-quality goods that bring in
revenue from out of town.
Somehow, wherever else I've lived, I've always felt that I just didn't
fit in - too quirky, too introspective, too artsy. Now that I'm
irreversibly enmeshed in Humboldt County's rich and diverse, truly
eclectic community, I not only fit in, I feel almost conservative by
comparison to the truly colorful personalities that abound.
It's wonderful being part of such a complex tapestry of a neighborhood.
People look out for each other. Where else but in Humboldt County would
I find the serendipity of an orthodontist who coaches me about web
design, while I myself coach other artists about business. If the phone
rings, it may be an east coast client placing a commission - or a
neighbor calling for advice on wrangling geese. (I seem to have a
It's not a question of why do I live here - it's how could I ever leave?
Berrien is a highly acclaimed wire sculptor, whose hand-twisted figures
of animals and humans are collected worldwide. Her website is at
www.wirelady.com, phone (707) 445-4931]
Class Wire Sculpture · Elizabeth Berrien (707) 445-4931
· email firstname.lastname@example.org
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