They work with similar materials, but the five metal sculptors whose work is on display in the "Mind Your Metal" exhibit at Auburn Old Town Gallery all have their own flair.
Cherie Danzer may begin with scrap steel, but by the time she's finished, her sculptures are bright and colorful. Her "Tollhouse Fish," for example, was finished with yellow, blue, orange and pink oil pastels.
"Tollhouse Fish" includes a nutcracker, and single egg beater and a fork -- items Danzer pulled from what she calls her "rusty ephemera," a collection of metal objects she's picked up at yard sales and flea markets over the years.
Danzer, a Meadow Vista resident, also creates jewelry -- or sculptures, depending on the eye of the beholder -- out of various metals and treasures and baubles such as sea glass, blue opals and agate.
Another artist, Kathleen Whitetree Woolsey of Grass Valley creates clocks, lamps and wall hangings out of gears, bicycle chains and antique silverware.
One favorite of Whitetree Woolsey's is a June bug, with the body of a colorful, vintage Christmas tree bulb and wings of two spoons.
Carol Bellamy of Meadow Vista creates elaborate portraits and images of critters out of a single twisted piece of wire.
On the opposite wall are Sacramento artist Jessi Brooks' shiny metal rectangles and squares, cut with a plasma torch. The bright silvery pieces include glowing hearts and reminders such as, "All you need is love and a dog."
This is advice that metal sculptor Stacey Lamothe, also of Grass Valley, is sure to take to heart, as each of her pieces of jewelry, as well as the door hangers and knockers, includes a dog -- and sometimes a cat. A recent addition to her collection is a series of boot pendants -- cowboy and hiking.
Many of these artists honed their craft in metal working classes at Sierra College, Danzer said. In fact, Danzer started as a water color artist and switched to clay and then metal when it became clear that she needed a sturdier medium to transport to art shows.
Now she'll spend anywhere from four hours to two years working on a sculpture.
She speaks lovingly of a two-foot cat that was years in the making. He had motorcycle forks for legs, water valves for feet, fence posts for ears and wiggly whiskers.
"He was a really cool cat," Danzer remembered fondly.
Did she find a buyer for her giant kitty?
"Oh, yeah," she said enthusiastically. "I did. I really did."
Mind Your Metal will be on display at Auburn Old Town Gallery through June 1.
For more information, call 530.887.9150 or visit http://www.auburnoldtowngallery.com/