Alisa Clapp’s work is influenced by her grandmother, aunts and older sisters. As a child she spent a lot of time with her grandmother, where they made baskets from pine needles, doll heads from apples and she taught Alisa to sew, crochet and paint. Her Mammah was a gifted artist and taught Alisa skills that she still employs today in her work.
Alisa began showing her work in High School and entered a watercolor of poppies in the California State Fair and took 2nd place. She has done art shows and markets all over California. She has done watercolor and acrylic painting and many different kinds of leatherwork. Alisa began working in leather in 1988 and owned a storefront in Citrus Heights and a short time here in Guerneville as well. She made a 6 foot paper mache rooster for the Nevada County Fair in 2006 and won “Best in Show”. She donated the piece to a farm store in Grass Valley, CA.
The leather sculptures are amazing to look at! The detail and textures need to be seen in person to appreciate. She likes to find inspiration at thrift stores, garage sales or in other repurposed or found items. She tells me that a piece will “speak” to her, rather than looking for an item with a theme already in mind. For example, her piece called “Mother Dragon” has a coffee carafe as the base. She has a hen for sale at the Russian River Art Gallery in Guerneville named “Mrs H. Penny Lane”. The hen is made from a teapot. These are 3 dimensional sculptures and usually take about a year each to make. Alisa describes the process as similar to paper mache, but with leather, glue and fabric. The leather is worked in various stages from soft to hard and often carved or painted. The leathers could be Elk, Deer, Pig, Cow, Horse or Goat and are of different thicknesses. The leather is gathered from several sources, buying scrap when she can, but she also purchases full hides. Alisa produces the colors either by dying the leather or hand painting. In addition to sculptures, Alisa also makes many beautiful other items from leather including wine bags, purses, wallets, clothing and footwear, jewelry and wall decor.
Alisa’s work is available at the Russian River Gallery in downtown Guerneville. 16357 Main Street. Phone: (707) 869-9099. She can also be found at the Roadhouse monthly markets in Rio Nido.