Artist Gina Gigli has a fruitful muse |

Artist Gina Gigli has a fruitful muse

Dan Thrift

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune

If the Markleeville Artists Autumn Open Studio Tour has a queen, it undoubtedly is Gina Gigli.

Gigli first visited the area on a trip to Grover Hot Springs at the age of 2, and her family kept coming back.

“Mostly what I remember at that age was the slimy bottom and my father fishing,” Gigli said from her studio and gallery at the Villa Gigli, which opened 16 years ago.

A 31-year resident of Alpine County, Gigli is an accomplished writer and artist. Having made an extensive study of ampelography, the science concerned with the description of vines, Gigli interprets individual attributes of grapevines, with wine-themed etchings, collages and mythological papier-mache masks.

The area attracted Gigli, like most artists in Markleeville, with its beauty, serenity and proximity to larger towns. “When I’m not ‘reading’ grapevine leaves, I’m talking to the trees,” Gigli said.

She builds the masks that adorn the walls of the villa with layers of recycled papers, and glazes them with iridescent and metallic acrylics.