Artist Finds Mud Over Music Connects Her To Woodstock

Top Quote A folk singer and flower child of the 60's, Valerie Bloom who opened for Jefferson Airplane before they made it to Woodstock, turned a missed opportunity to follow them to the legendary concert into one now that has Woodstock coming to her. End Quote
  • Orange County, CA (1888PressRelease) June 06, 2013 - Growing up in the freewheeling 1960's Valerie Bloom, an aspiring folk singer, was very much a part of the antiwar movement, attending rallies and crooning songs and playing the guitar like Joan Baez and others who became the voice of the new rebellious generation. In 1969, she was performing in a basement coffee shop at the Unitarian Church of Riverside and was approached by a music industry executive who offered her the opportunity to open for folk rock legends Jefferson Airplane at the Swing Auditorium in the spring of the same year. She jumped at the chance.

    The potential big break also included opening for Three Dog Night at the same venue and later for Waylon Jennings and Jerry Jeff Walker at The Troubadour.

    She was well-received, which led that same music exec to offer her the chance to go on tour. Bloom was 17 and still in high school so had to turn it down, but told him "maybe next year."

    That "next year" never came.

    Who is to say if she ever would have performed there, but when Woodstock hit the music world the summer of the same year, it was a decision she certainly had to reflect on.

    "It was the happening of our day. Would have loved to have been there," Bloom said.

    But opening for Jefferson Airplane, one of the headliners at Woodstock, was as close as she ever got to the legendary music festival.

    But dreams never fade entirely; one may just have to wait for better timing and another form of creativity to take the reins.

    Now 44 years later, for Bloom, as far as Woodstock, it's more about the mud than the music that represents the dream of how close she might have come to playing at the rain soaked Woodstock.

    At 61, Bloom has immersed her artistic side into a mud like clay she uses to mold and shape giant colorful vessels. "I've always loved playing in the mud," she said. "As a kid it was also finger painting, but I guess I just like to get messy."

    When reality set in years back she realized being a full time folk singer wasn't going to pay the bills. She went to college and then pursued a career in the field of law, which led to a 35 year stint, and counting, as a legal assistant. Bloom has been with other firms, but has worked with Rutan & Tucker in Orange County for 20 years.

    But her imaginative side has kept her life in balance, dabbling in drawing, painting, stained glass and jewelry making, always interested in learning new art forms. "My studio sits beside a stream where the music of the flowing water brings a sense of peace to my life that enables me to transcend the mundane and access the spiritual that is inside each of us," she said.

    After moving to Silverado Canyon several years ago another once in a lifetime opportunity came up. This time she grabbed it.

    Internationally acclaimed ceramic sculptor Cybele Rowe was a neighbor. She made giant ceramic pieces. Rowe admired Bloom's garden and sought her out for some green thumb counsel. Bloom offered up a deal: "I will teach you how to garden if you teach me how to make clay pots." Deal!

    "She never did get the hang of gardening, but I got the hang of the pots." That was about 12 years ago, and Bloom has been prolific ever since.

    "The process of creating a unique and timeless piece of art from the clay is not only physically, but also spiritually transformational. To be at the heart of a creational process is the most spiritually rewarding experience for me as an artist," Bloom said.

    Blooms shapely sculptures are typically oversized vessels or vases measuring five feet or taller. But each of them is substantial, significant pieces of art that make a statement in their surrounding environment. Each is hand-crafted, glazed and fired, making them resistant to weather and can be displayed indoors or outdoors.

    Her pieces have been in exhibitions including at The Green Cube in Laguna Beach, Left Coast Gallery in Studio City, The Hangar Gallery in Santa Monica, The Murrieta Design House in Sherman Oaks and currently on display at Stephen Frank Garden & Home in Laguna Beach.

    But this summer, a new twist of events.

    Bloom will be the featured artist, showing and selling her pieces, during the 5th Annual Woodstock Weekend, which is held July 6 and 7 at the Orange County Market Place in Costa Mesa at the OC Fair & Event Center. The two day Festival includes concerts with Woodstock tribute bands: Aquarius on Saturday, July 6, a band that is more of a musical time machine that tells the story of the 60's particularly recreating unforgettable performances from Woodstock such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence, Country Joe and the Fish, and yes Jefferson Airplane.

    The Who Revue a specific tribute to The Who, also a band at Woodstock, will be on Sunday, July 7.

    Concerts both days are at noon and 2 p.m.

    Amidst the backdrop of the concert stage, Bloom will be among the tie dye artisans, crafters, face painting, giant mural coloring, relic VW vans and buses and other hippie-ish activities.

    Simply put, Woodstock is coming to Bloom.

    More information on the Woodstock Weekend is available at www.ocmarketplace.com or by calling 949-723-6660. The Festival is held in conjunction with the Market Place, which runs from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is included in swap meet admission which is $2, or free for children 12 and under.

    To learn more about Valerie Bloom visit www.valeriebloom.com

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