An artist weating glasses, a red shirt, a jean jacket, and a turquoise necklace stands in front of their exhibit at Artisans in Bodega

Artisans' Co-Op Showcases Handmade Treasures in Bodega

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A former livery stable in the sleepy coastal village of Bodega houses a treasure-trove of handmade delights. From watercolors to glass jewelry, footwear to pottery, scarves to baskets, and more, the Artisans' Co-Op showcases the diverse work of more than 50 local artists and artisans.

"It's a unique combination of things. There's a lot to see in a little place," said Martha Cant, who has been a member of the co-op since its founding over 20 years ago. "It's all unique. Everything is individually designed."

Wander the store and you'll find Cant's handspun yarn in many fibers, both undyed and dyed, from her own sheep. She also takes special orders for yarn or woven items.

An older artist with close cropped grey hair smiles at their loom in the Artican Shop in BOdega
A textile artisan

The total number of artists participating in the co-op varies, but typically there are 50 or more. Most are consignment members, meaning they pay the shop a percentage of any of their work that sells. About a dozen or so are full members who, instead of paying a percentage, volunteer their time to run the store.

Which means any time you drop by the Artisans' Co-Op, you'll be greeted by one of the artists whose work is on display. If things are a bit slow, chances are that artist or artisan may be working on a project while waiting for customers.

One artist bends to hug another artist seated painting at the Artisan shop in Bodega
Artisans connect at the Co-op

The members do artist demonstrations at times, possibly operating a pottery or spinning wheel in the store, weaving a basket, or demonstrating shoemaking tools or watercolor techniques.

"Whatever our particular art is, we try to share that," said Angél Fiorito-Leddy, owner of WindWalker handmade footwear. "We're a dedicated group of local artists who have this vision to continue to offer handmade art."

a potter bends over his work of creating a vase at the Artisans Co-Op in Bodega, Sonoma County

The items for sale in the shop change fairly frequently, as member artists bring in new work, and the co-op is always looking for new members, to keep things fresh. However, everything in the shop must be handmade, and of the finest quality.

"We don't accept everything. It has to be a good match," Fiorito-Leddy explained.

The co-op is just one of many fun places to explore in Bodega (pop. 220), a scattering of houses and businesses nestled in the gentle hills just four miles inland from the coast. You can't miss the tall white spire of the St. Teresa of Avila Church, made famous by a 1953 Ansel Adams photograph and later glimpsed briefly in the 1963 thriller, "The Birds," by suspense film master Alfred Hitchcock. Just up Bodega Lane you'll find the old Potter School House (now a private residence) that was also featured in "The Birds."

The Casino Bar & Grill provides a local gathering place for a drink, a bite to eat, or a round of pool (and despite the name, there is no gambling). Colleen's Coffee Shop offers organic coffee and espresso drinks, breakfast sandwiches, daily lunch specials, hand-scooped milkshakes, and blended drinks. Or, pick up picnic supplies and more at the Bodega Country Store.

Other shops in Bodega include The Historic Town of Bodega Art Gallery and Northern Light Surf Shop - Bodega.

Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Lynn Henley.