Holly Cratty Memorial


This is devoted to the memory of the Westside Renaissance Market’s co-owner, and my wife, Holly Cratty, who passed away last Saturday evening, October 13.

I hope you had the opportunity to meet her and to know her at least a little. I know that those who did were blessed. In case you are one who did not, I wanted to share a small bit about this profoundly fine person.

Holly was a person of fierce integrity, wide knowledge, deep feeling and resolute moral courage and convictions. She believed, and acted on the belief, that we are obligated to do the right thing, not just talk about it (and never to take credit for it.) Her life was thus devoted to trying to help uplift others, to creating beauty and to doing what she could to help preserve the natural world – while also staying out of the spotlight.

She was a fully engaged person, in addition to helping run the Westside Renaissance Market and being vocationally and at heart an artist (although, if being a full time student was a vocation, she might have done that instead) she was also a philosopher, poet, scholar (in many fields), photographer, deeply contemplative person of spirit and faith, nature lover, animal champion, activist, humanitarian and relentless self-examiner.

She had a great thirst for both knowledge and understanding and was well versed in more subjects than anyone else I have known. She was keenly interested and informed about both things global and local. Holly added the “Renaissance” to the Westside Market and was a Renaissance woman.

Holly was also a gentle soul who vastly preferred home to a crowd and one-to-one conversation to a party. However, when in public behaving rightly toward others (i.e., following the Golden Rule) was always her first concern.

She was a devoted practitioner of kindness and humility.   As one example, countless times (biting my tongue the whole while) I have watched her patiently praise, encourage and draw out someone who was lecturing her on a subject in which she was already deeply proficient.   It was always more important to her to draw out and to help others shine than to show off what she knew.

She would never impose herself on others, but was always willing to be imposed on. When someone did care enough to ask and engage her, she enjoyed being drawn out and would gladly share her knowledge and understanding.

She was also a woman who carried an almost unbearable burden. She lived in this world but was also always aware of another, a parallel world in which kindness, respect and love were the norm. The gap between the two never ceased to weigh on her and she felt some measure of personal responsibility and sorrow for each human tragedy. She believed that we can and should be doing far more to care for ourselves and others and to be more respectful in our relationship with nature.

She was a romantic, idealist, transcendentalist, existentialist, nature loving, omni religious, old fashioned, music loving (especially Ravel, Debussy and Saint Saens), Kantian, conservative, liberal, no nonsense, loyal, love loving, truth seeking gal (and much more). She was also an extremely sweet person.

Should you be moved to do something in her memory, I would encourage you to undertake an act of kindness toward someone you would normally overlook or, perhaps better yet, toward someone you are not naturally inclined to be compassionate toward.

To the extent that the Westside Renaissance Market succeeds in having a positive effect in the community it is primarily due to her guidance and great spirit. Fortunately, she has also left behind a body of artistic works (poetry and paintings), which will hopefully find its way to a wider audience and will, in any case, continue to shed light and reflect a small part of her spirit.

To close I would like to brag about her a bit by letting her speak for herself and sharing a few small excerpts from her art and writing.   I hope she will forgive me. I am inexpressibly far beyond grateful that she was here and was willing to share her life with me.

Some paintings:


Locally you can see a number of Holly’s painting by visiting the Blue Sky Gallery in Willits. I will have copies of a book showing some older works from a 2003 exhibit at Blue Sky.

Following are a few excerpts from the statement that accompanied Holly’s Master of Fine Arts exhibition (1999). (I am planning to make some copies of this document available as it does, IMO, a remarkable job of conveying the purpose and value of abstract art.)

“All of my work, including the ‘Trees and Rhizomes’ series is about relationship. What I seek to express is my inner self, my feelings (emotional and physical) and my thoughts regarding my relationship to my subject. It is my understanding that each of us (and perhaps all life forms) exist in relationship to each other and it is the quality of these relationships that is of the greatest interest to me. All of my artworks are expressions of my experience or memory of my experience (be it lived or dreamed) of my relationship to a given subject or subjects. My work is celebratory: bound with love for my subjects in a sense of wonder. I love my subjects and in the painting process, I experience a state of the Universal Love and creative energy flow to ourselves and through ourselves to all and everything.”

And now, a small, almost random selection for her several collections of poetry:  The first poem is the first from her first collection, Yard and Times, 1974-1986

The Almond Blossom

And you
my little almond blossom
tumbling in quick cartwheels
how shy you seem!
cautious and dodging
all the beams of light
as if they would pierce you —
I feel a wringing helplessness
and I am not quick enough
to make guarantees
to secure a gentle landing for you
to point out a heaven
on this ancient carnival earth
But nothing could be too gentle for you
Too too gentle
And nothing could be too soft
And so I am afraid to stretch forth my hand
I hold my breath in respect
Bu then I take you
So seriously
I laugh

And finally from her collection An Open Window, June-July 1992, one that happened to strike me today.

A Persistent Duality

Strange, that hope and despair
can come to be
like so much beautiful wreckage

But there’s further to go
and the ego persists –

So raze what remains
of these one-prized ruins
Throw another match on the heap
of wine-soaked branches

the ego insists and resists —

It’s like being left
amidst the fading flowers of
a garden facing North
except the cold and dark
aren’t as troubling, anymore
and from here, your home is visible
from here, even the bricks
are vibrant, alive


I wish I knew a way to be part of a community gift basket to Scott & Holly.

Scott, I am so sorry for you loosing the love of your life. I am sorry to have only known Holly from a distance.

Wish I could have known her.


Scott, your message is a wonderful tribute to Holly, whom I met only briefly when I visited your store. Thank you for the inspirational words.

I too wish I had gotten to know Holly. Her paintings reflected a deep appreciation of nature and her influence can be seen throughout the Westside Market.

Thank you, Holly, for bringing your vision to Ukiah.

We will miss you.

Scott, know that those that care about you are here for you and you can ask us for what you need at any time. I can’t imagine what you’re going through and we are so sorry for your loss. Holly made Ukiah and the world a more beautiful place through her activism and her creativity. It was a joy and an honor to be around her, even if I was just shouting hello to her while you were on the phone with her at the market. She brought so much light into a world that can feel so dark at times. My sister, who had only visited Ukiah once, was shocked and saddened by the news, as she had taken one of Holly’s books of painting with her back to LA because she thought they were so beautiful. Holly was one of Ukiah’s shining stars.

Dear Scott,
We are all so saddened to hear of Holly’s passing. She was such a gentle, talented and beautiful woman. Our hearts are breaking for you.
Love and hugs,
Anne Bill and Josh Retallick

Holly, we barely knew you, but look back at each moment with wonder how your glow filled them. HollyandScott, ScottandHolly, you will be greatly missed. Scott, brother, we are with you in our hearts and however else we may aid you in climbing this mountain.

We spoke warmly of you and Holly at today’s Fort Bragg Farmers Market. Sending our thoughts and prayers to you.

Holy Holly
Visionary liaison for Mother Earth
Temporarily a Terran, still lingering here in all things resplendent
Tonights little smile of a moon is your smile

Burnished clouds have raised you aloft
and now you are taking in the universe
gliding on a carpet woven of your own gentle goodness

How mindful of you to have listened to what Gaia whispered
and to have translated what she said

Holy Holly, your expressions of divinity
are sacraments of devotion
and bless all us who gaze on them
through your eyes

What a sweet tribute. I only saw Holly a few times. She was always accompanied by you. I remember thinking how obvious it was that you loved her deeply.

We need more holly’s in the world. Just think of how idyllic our world would be. She is a brillant diamond. We should all strive to be like Holly. Scott, I am deeplly sorry for your lost. Colleen

Thank you so much, Scott, for sharing Holly with us. She was a beautiful human being inside and out. I love the spirit that you shared with us. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with you.

Last night, over here in Fort Bragg, a dear friend and myself went from room to room in our new house to take an ‘art tour’. It was wonderful to slow down in front of each piece we have ‘collected’ or created and to honor each one, and the story of who, or how or where and when each creation came into our lives and hearts (and home) . It was while standing in front of two pieces of Holly’s that I learned of her death. The painting themselves seemed to reach out, and open. Quiet and gorgeous…I could feel Holly. It was a blessed moment. xo Patty Joslyn and Larry Babic

Holly was an amazing person. Talent shared. Scott lucky you to have been entwined in Holly’s beautiful world of love and healing.

Dear Scott, I just read of Holly’s death at Valley Art Gallery yesterday. I only knew her through her paintings, having never met her. Your essay about her brought me to tears. I wish I had known her, but how blessed were those who did. Thank you for sharing such heart-felt thoughts. May your journey through grief be softened through the continued prayers and thoughts of many.