Wednesday, July 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Local artist making creative house numbers a Davis staple

FitzGibbonW

Davis ceramic artist Linda Fitz Gibbon is at work in her home studio designing creative house numbers for a client. A musical note or a paint brush may be a "1" and a bird's sweeping wing may decorate a "5." Fitz Gibbon customizes her numbers to a client's hobbies and interests. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | October 30, 2013 |

There has long been a theme in Davis artist and teacher Linda S. Fitz Gibbon’s ceramic artwork: the juxtaposition of beautiful and grotesque things.

But the former is a descriptor most fitting for the functional artwork that has become an ornament on the exterior of more than 10 Davis abodes. The recent project she’s dabbling in is creating ceramic address numbers for houses.

Even her residence is adorned with a clay-made creation out of which her address numbers spring. The whole thing is aglow with LED lights that outline its border, a feature unique to her own ceramic house numbers.

Each number is represented by an object: A musical note and a paint brush are used for ones, a curled herb makes a three, and a bird’s sweeping wing decorates the five.

This is stylistically similar to what she has been commissioned to do for other Davis homes. In each creation, she conveys the family’s interests through these representational numerals.

“I’m sure the Davis Fire Department hates me for it,” Fitz Gibbon said with a laugh. “I think it adds a lot of color to the neighborhood. It’s certainly a way of giving distinction to your house.”

The art of arranging type was an interest she took up early on, partially due to the fact that she was a graphic designer before becoming an artist.

Fitz Gibbon also attributes her fascination with type to her father; he was a commercial artist who often kept books on typography lying around the house.

“Every year I’d look forward to the birthday cards that he would make for me,” she said. “He’d take drawings of people and twist them into shapes to make the numbers.”

And when the local artist’s interest in typography first led her to mold clay into house numbers, neighbors began to notice.

Fitz Gibbon was approached for commission work not long after displaying her first work outside her former home on Picasso Avenue.

“I’d get people knocking on my door and saying, ‘Can you make one of these for me?’ ” Fitz Gibbon said. “I wound up doing a whole bunch in that neighborhood.”

Cathy Reinhard was one of the locals who was intrigued by the colorful ceramic plaques, and she wanted one of her own.

As with Fitz Gibbon’s other customers, the first order of business was allotting time to talk about what would best represent Reinhard’s interests.

“It’s a nice way to work, to have that back-and-forth,” Fitz Gibbon said. As far as the sketches she produces from the brainstorm sessions, she’s “done many, and (has yet) to be sent back to the drawing board.”

After Fitz Gibbon consulted with Reinhard, whose background in science and natural history informed the theme of the project, the extensive and seemingly exhausting task of creating it began.

Rolling out the clay slab, building it up, letting it set, detailing, drying, firing, glazing and more firing can take more than 20 hours of careful labor.

The final product — in the case of Reinhard’s piece — was a purple-bordered blue box from which a hawk’s feather, an Earth, a fern and a blooming daisy jut forth.

“The detail was just incredible,” Reinhard said. “Instead of hanging it outside, for the first few months we just had it on display inside our house so that I could just enjoy all the detail that would be hard to see from the street.

“For example, you wouldn’t be able to tell that she put individual little hairs on the feather, or that she actually included each tiny vein on the flower’s petals. It’s simply beautiful, and I feel fortunate to have a piece of her art.”

More information about her house numbers is available on her website, lindasfitzgibbon.com.

But Fitz Gibbon said her goal at the moment is not to make a business out of it. On occasion, she’s even taught others how to do it themselves in the adult sculpture courses she teaches at the Davis Art Center.

She hopes more locals will enroll in Art Center courses, and possibly learn how to brighten up the neighborhood in their own way.

“My heart is both in my artwork and teaching in the community,” Fitz Gibbon said. “I strongly believe that everyone has the ability to create, and that there’s so many valuable things connected to the process of creating.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
Second Mellon grant supports Mondavi events

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Are arachnids awesome or awful? Visit Bohart Museum to find out

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Police arrest suspect in robbery spree

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Madhavi Sunder joins Davis school board race

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A2

 
Crews make gains on massive Washington wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

New safety rules proposed to curb oil train fires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Kaiser awards grants to Yolo nonprofits

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
NAMI program offers mental illness information, support

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Backpacks for Kids launches annual donation drive

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Architecture in Davis, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Speaker will spin some fishing tales at Davis meeting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Kids can paint their own Breyer horses at Davis store

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Grandparents support group meets weekly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Exchange program seeks host families

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Wine-tastings will benefit YCCC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Pedro party will benefit Yolo Hospice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Car lovers will speak Sunday at gallery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Racial diversity crucial to drug trials, treatments

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A4

 
Enterprise is focus of Davis Roots talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Quaff a beer and watch the bats

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

They’re pickier than she is

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
U.S. is complicit in attack

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Extinguish extremism for peace

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

 
With profound gratitude

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Someday, there will be peace

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Former Davis man at crossroads: biking or artwork?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie golfer headed to men’s U.S. Amateur Championship

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Giants outlast Phillies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
River Cats nip dogs

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

A’s fall in extra innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Blue Jays hitting upends Red Sox

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pyrenees please Nibali, Rogers in Tour Stage 16

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Albergotti to discuss Armstrong’s doping scandal

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8

.

Features

Field to Fork: Skyelark Ranch, not a lark at all

By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Name droppers: ASUCD hands out awards

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

.

Arts

Tomato Festival makes call for young artists

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Additional casting notice for ‘Hello Dolly’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Hear Los Tres de Winters on Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Picott to play at The Palms Playhouse

By Kate Laddish | From Page: A7

Fairy-tale romance in Barnyard Theatre’s ‘Pinky’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Soar to Neverland with DMTC’s ‘Peter Pan’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Village Homes to host Rita Hosking Trio

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6