‘Wings’ forged in crucible of 49 Fire

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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Jennifer Johnson has found something beautiful in the aftermath of the 49 Fire. Johnson, an Auburn artist who works with metal, is raffling off a sculpture made of tools and other metal found in the aftermath of the August fire that devastated North Auburn. The sculpture is named “Special Delivery.” “Good things come out of bad, and I think the people who were involved in the fire, even thought they were in despair, I think they were amazed by the gifts they received,” Johnson said, explaining the name of the sculpture. “Special Delivery” is a set of wings made of everything from wrenches to drill bits and pliers, and is mounted on what used to be a lamp base. “We typically think of wings as something uplifting,” Johnson said. The tools ended up in Johnson’s possession thanks to James Jackson, who does small engine repair in town. “He periodically saves me small pieces of metal,” Johnson said. Johnson said she found inspiration in the tools, which were brought to Jackson by a 49 Fire victim who had hoped to have the tools repaired before learning that replacing the tools would cost less. “I looked at these for a while,” she said. “I was really moved by the fire and the destruction, but also by how people were willing to open their arms and help people however they could.” Catherine Rowe is happy to host “Special Delivery” at her OZ! Gallery in Old Town Auburn. “When she told me it was made with tools from the 49 Fire, it just gave me the chills,” Rowe said. “I don’t know anyone in town that doesn’t know at least one person who was devastated by the fire. “It’s really beautiful. It has a lot of depth to it.” Johnson is raffling off the sculpture, and all proceeds will go to the Auburn Disaster Relief Fund. “Anything anybody can do to make our lives positive is a great thing,” Johnson said. “We can all make an effort to do something positive.” Tickets are $25 — only 100 tickets are available — and the winner will be announced at noon Sunday at OZ! during A Taste of Chocolate. OZ! is located at 189 Sacramento St. in Old Town Auburn. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Reach Loryll Nicolaisen at __________ Art raffle What: A chance to win “Special Delivery” Cost: $25 per ticket; only 100 tickets sold Benefiting: Auburn Disaster Relief Fund When: Winner announced at noon Sunday at OZ! Gallery, 198 Sacramento St., Auburn Information: (530)888-9059