Bette Covington & James Docker

The Dolphin Gallery Presents

Quilts by Bette Covington & Woodwork by James Docker

Opening Saturday, February 1, 2020 from 5-7pm. Exhibit remains up through March 1

The Dolphin Gallery


About James Docker

“My work has been described as ‘quilting in wood’.  I began designing and fabricating knife blocks and boards in the winter of 2016 for neighbors, friends at The Sea Ranch and family.

The influences on my work are many and varied. As a student of the Arts, the work I do has a conceptual component inspired by the work of both living and deceased, amateur and professional  Artists and Arts and Crafts makers and architecture. As a music lover and a jazz music enthusiast in particular, the structure and freedom expressed by jazz enters into the dialogue I have with the wood. One can see Japanese influences, BORO fabric creators, also, useful Japanese items for food service and tea ceremony. The work of Piet Mondrian can appear visually and fleetingly in my creations. Above all, hope for my work, is that it brings both visual delight and a certain usefulness!

I have lived and studied language, culture, arts and architecture in Kyoto, Japan, late 1960’s until early 70’s. I have returned to Japan many times over the years to visit my wife’s family and re-investigate Japan’s culture and creative spirit.

I have worked as a licensed general contractor in California since 1974 and designed and constructed 25 custom homes on The Sea Ranch since 1992. Additionally,  I have built custom homes have been designed and constructed in the Napa Valley and throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area over an almost 50 year career. In 2017 I decided to stop building homes. I continue to do home design and have focused creative efforts on knife block and serving board creation and fabrication. I work, also, on fabric design, based upon my wood creations.

Earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree, San Francisco State University, 1988. Studied Art as an undergraduate at Pepperdine University.

Taught briefly, SFSU, Art Department, Sculpture – wood technology and fabrication.

I have been working with wood my entire life. Have designed and fabricated houses, cabinets and furniture for over 60 years.”

– James Docker




About Bette Covington

Bette was born in Claremont, California, and grew up living on a Private Boys School, the Thompson Webb School, where her father Gordon Wilson taught for many years and was Dean of Students. As the family dined in the school dining room, Bette never learned to cook, but spent her years studying piano. Following High School, she attended Stanford University and then UCLA where she received her teaching credential.

In 1962 Bette married Martin Covington, a professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley. They lived in Moraga and raised their two sons, Matthew and Mark.
Bette maintained a private piano studio where she taught for 30 years and performed several times a year in the area. She was a student of Roy Bogas, known locally for his many return performances at Gualala Arts. Twice she has given-benefit recitals at The Sea Ranch and also for Gualala Arts.

Bette and Marty purchased land and built a small home at The Sea Ranch in 1975. In the intervening years, they added and remodeled and moved full time to The Sea Ranch in 2003.

She closed her piano studio at that time and discovered an entirely new form of artistic expression: quilting. She writes: “Where my 30 years of classical piano performance and teaching had kept me on a strict regimen of careful preparation and attention to notes, rhythm and musical details, I discovered that working with fabric brought an exciting new kind of freedom of expression. My work revolves around an appreciation of the fabric and a spontaneous approach to design. I allow the fabric to direct my work one piece or shape leading me to the next, evolving as I work. I love the results and often use part of one design to influence the next. The results are abstract and evocative.”

Her quilts are dedicated to the memory of her husband of 57 years, Marty, who died in 2018.