Woody Creek’s Isa Catto brings art + design to Willits

Isa Catto will open her Woody Creek studio for holiday shopping on Saturday.
Courtesy Photo

Renowned fine artist and longtime Woody Creek resident Isa Catto believes great art and design should be accessible to everyone. She’s been a successful fine artist for 30 years, primarily working in watercolor and mixed media, and describes her style as “Organic Symbolism,” which she says will mean different things to different people, or maybe “nothing at all.”

But, the fact that fine art is cost prohibitive to most people didn’t sit well with her. She realized she wanted to do something about it.

“Not everyone can afford to buy a painting or a print. (I wanted to) make my art available to people on a more egalitarian scale,” Catto said.

And so, it was in this spirit that she and her director of operations, Jennifer Roberts, teamed up to make that branch of her studio and business possible. Three years ago, they decided to marry her art with practical design and started manufacturing textiles, paper goods and limited edition fine art prints, which they show and sell in her gallery in Woody Creek, as well as to a few retailers in the mid-valley and online.

Bird Flight, Smyth-Sewn Bound Books
Courtesy Isa Catto Studio

Their tagline is “Keep Art in Hand,” and the goal is to create unique, beautiful, practical objects like notebooks, wrapping paper, tote bags, pillows and scarves that can be used in everyday life.

She is heavily influenced by the Bauhaus movement, which sought to level the distinction between the fine and applied arts and to reunite creativity and manufacturing, uniting art and industrial design.

Fall 2022, Organic Cotton Textiles
Courtesy Isa Catto Studio

“I think there’s this sort of caste system in the blue-chip art world that I like to battle against. I want to punch through that rigidity, because making different things and going into different areas of exploration only enriches me as an artist,” she said.

Essentially, she wanted to stretch.

As a small business owner in this valley, she has run up against challenges but is grateful to be able to team up with other local businesses in Willits this weekend to bring both her fine art, prints and lifestyle pieces to the community.

Bird Flight, Smyth-Sewn bound notebooks
Courtesy Isa Catto Studio

The three-day event will include a Friday evening mixer at Decorative Materials, where her fine art will be on display, as well as a pop-up shop on Saturday in the same space and a meet-the-artist event at Bookbinders on Sunday.

Courtesy Isa Catto Studio

She encourages the community to come out and consider supporting not just her, but also local businesses in general during the upcoming holiday season.

“We are there to encourage people to shop small and local. Aspen has become so brand driven, and the opportunities to feature local are very few there. So that’s why I love Willits; it’s got a really wonderful community vibe,” she said.

If you go…

What: Willits Weekend, Isa Catto Studio
When: 5-7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 4-6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Decorative Materials Friday and Saturday and Bookbinders Sunday
More info:

Activities & Events