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Inspired by memories of the timeless beauty of Christmas celebrations in Northern Ontario, Canada, Jessel Miller has transformed Jessel Gallery into a winter wonderland reminiscent of her childhood home.

Each year, room after room is filled with distinctive items in the 100-year-old building that houses her art gallery. Exuding the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas, the gallery offers inspiration as well as comfort to weary shoppers. Cushioned chairs and sofas provide places for them to relax while sipping hot apple cider and nibbling on treats.

This year is no exception to what locals and tourists have grown accustomed to finding while shopping for holiday gifts at Jessel Gallery. Besides paintings on the walls, and handmade items in the various rooms, the large showroom is filled with the creations of 12 artists ranging from clay to hand woven scarves, baskets to glass plates, ornaments and more.

“This time of the year has always been joyful for me,” said gallery owner, Jessel Miller. “Where I grew up in Canada there were gatherings and parties where everyone celebrated the meaning of both Hannukah and Christmas.

“What I’m feeling is that we have to bring back the old ways, the kindness, the devotion to each other. I see when the holidays come around, people are doing that, but it needs to be all year round,” Miller said. “The holidays infuse people with that sense of community, and I think that is what’s missing now.”

Jessel Gallery’s handmade holiday show opens with a reception Friday, Dec. 6 from 5-8 p.m.

On Sunday, Dec. 8, fine arts and crafts demonstrations will take place throughout the gallery from noon-2 p.m. Participating artists include:

  • Janis Adams, imagined glass
  • Sharon Crary, hand-woven scarves
  • Jeannette Monterio, found and painted pieces
  • Marcia Garcia, handcrafted and beaded coil baskets

On Sunday, Dec. 15, from noon-2 p.m. painting demonstrations are scheduled throughout the gallery. Participating artists include:

  • Jessel Miller is the artist, author and art instructor who owns Jessel Gallery.
  • Guy Buffet, a versatile artist whose work is collected internationally, has become well-known for his humorous paintings of chefs.
  • Camille Przewodek is an artist and author whose creativity focuses on her excitement over light.
  • Daniel Mundy, a landscape artist whose work has taken on a spiritual quality that seems to transcend the sense of capturing a particular location.
  • Erin Dertner, an artist whose paintings portray locations the viewer would like to enter and stay in forever.
  • Beverly Wilson is known for her portrayal of rural life in Napa Valley. Recently, she has also been capturing the area’s landmark buildings.

Seeing art in the making not only happens during the two scheduled demonstrations. Miller, who paints every day, can often be found in the gallery creating her own art. Recently, she has been painting greeting cards she designed. In the foreground of each one, the subject is wearing fashions that replicate vintage Vogue magazine covers but the background is “pure Napa Valley.”

“December’s show gives people the opportunity of finding gifts that are made with love and time and years of dedication,” Miller said.

In contrast to the stress of outmaneuvering other drivers for a parking space or being elbowed in mall crowds, those who have made shopping at Jessel Gallery for holiday gifts a yearly habit, can attest to it being a serene experience that results in finding presents that those on their Christmas gift list treasure for years.

“All of my artists price their work so fairly and put hours into each piece they show,” Miller said. “This month we are doing something we’ve never done before.”

“I asked all my painters to give our clients a gift this year,” she continued. “Everyone agreed to 20 percent off on original wall art through December 24.”

In addition, customers whose purchase reaches $100, will receive Miller’s children trilogy Mustard books as a ‘thank you’ gift.

Each year, during this season, Miller has given away 1,000 of her children’s trilogy Mustard books as her gift to children in need. This year, she is tripling this gift.

“I have been overwhelmed by all the disturbing energy I feel in the news and around the country,” she said. “I have chosen three causes and am donating 3,000 books to Napa Foster Care, Napa Toys for Tots and Santa Rosa Toys for Tots.”

These illustrated books have life lessons and “grew from the rich soil” of both her early life in Canada and her husband’s early life in Ohio. (her husband, Gary Miller, is the giant pumpkin grower).

“If I can touch one heart or help one child find their way in life my goal has been met,” she said.

Jessel Gallery is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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