"That’s a heck of a piece of glass," a man said behind me as we admired the Madonna-and-child made from smooth, beautiful blue Murano glass. I then went across the room and stared for a long time at an impossibly intricate terra cotta Nativity scene from Italy. Even the tiny sheep faces were rich with tender emotion.

It was a very nice Sunday at the annual Christmas Creche exhibition in Palo Alto. I recommend it. There are some 350 creches from various countries and in many materials, including this pictured one (thanks, joepemberton) made from paper wrapped around quills. Several take the form of Russian nesting dolls; others are made from ebony, fabric, metal, crystal … the list goes on. Organizer-curators have also done a lovely job surrounding the creches with flowers, succulent plants and twinkling pine branches. When we were there, a harpist played and people spoke in reverent whispers. A peaceful holiday event, on daily through Dec. 5.



Named for the technique of French and Italian nuns to wrap paper around quills.

At the Crèche exhibit in Palo Alto.

A striking image waiting for me in my inbox upon my return. San Jose artist Kyoko Fischer won first place in the current juried print exhibition at the Pacific Art League with this abstract etching, “Fuuyu — Colors in Flux VI.”

The piece is part of her series on the curiosities of life on Earth; more specifically, depicting “that which we cannot see floating in the air constantly,” as she wrote. “Fuuyu” means “floating” in Japanese.

What do you see?

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