Coming out of the woodwork

As is often the case, no matter how much coverage the arts in Ventura County receive there will always be someone who falls below the radar, though sometimes the artist prefers it that way. Since 2004, Brett William Jordan, owner of BWILLIAMDESIGN, has operated his business from an unassuming structure on the west side of Ventura, designing and building custom furniture for a discerning clientele in relative seclusion.

An avid surfer, Jordan has a background in ceramics and would pull his own clay out of a lake for wheel throwing while he attended high school. He also lived in England for several inculcating years and befriended the Clayton Brothers while studying at Art Center in Pasadena. Before opening BWILLIAMDESIGN in Ventura, he co-directed a successful furniture studio in Los Angeles. Yet few know about him.

Jordan wishes to make his limited line of work accessible to a larger audience. Focusing primarily on naturally downed timber and salvaged wood slabs from local arborists, Jordan’s furniture consists of custom beds, pivotal and sliding doors and dining furniture made from solid wood. The tables combine natural wood finishes with sleek, asymmetrical designs.  Look for a repeating symbol of a cross in every one of Jordan’s pieces. For more information, visit  www.bwilliamdesign or send an e-mail to to schedule a visit to his showroom.


Something new for Carnegie Art Museum’s collection

Esteemed local collector and poet Jackson Wheeler purchased “Landscape # 2,” an acrylic painting based on impressions of the county’s landscape by Julia Pinkham five years ago at a local exhibit and recently donated it to the Carnegie. Wheeler donated the painting in honor of Stacy Roscoe, former president of CAM Cornerstones. Roscoe chose Pinkham’s painting out of dozens of works within Wheeler’s collection at his home.

Born in Ventura, Pinkham has been a full-time artist since 1979.  “I have no plan B,” she admits. “At 33 I was brave enough to leave all other things behind and focus on fine art.” The new acquisition symbolizes a marker for Pinkham, a “you’re-on-the-right-track” reminder in the practically solitary world of painting in a studio. Pinkham is currently “loosening” up her style by attaching long sticks of bamboo and dowels to her brushes before painting with them. Pinkham is scheduled to give an artist’s talk at the museum on Jan. 31.

ATC in V.C.

Not air traffic controllers, but Artists Trading Cards, and they’ve made their way into Ventura County. ATC isn’t a new practice. In fact, it’s been around since 1997. Here in Ventura County, the lack of awareness has kept them somewhat mysterious until now. ATC are miniature works of art created on 2 ½-inch-by-3 ½-inch surfaces, usually originals or small editions in all media, that are self-produced. The main purpose behind ATC is the interaction between those who produce and trade them. Think of it as a cultural performance among artists. There are no boundaries for what can be created, and they’re collected as baseball cards. (There are even binders with pockets for them.)

Photographic artist and printmaker Lis Schwitters, in collaboration with sculptor Michele Chapin, has designed an ATC portable station — with all materials provided — for anybody who wants to create an ATC on the spot and for free. The interactive activity is available during First Fridays at Chapin’s Stoneworks Studios. 

ArtThrob is a monthly column by artist Claudia Pardo, who is interested in what quickens an artist’s pulse and keeps him or her producing work despite less-than-ideal circumstances. If you’re a Ventura County artist, send her an e-mail and introduce yourself.