'Homage to Cy' by Alison 'Big Al' Whalen

Santa Rosa artist Alison Whalen stands 5-foot-2 and weighs about 100 pounds, so naturally, her nickname is “Big Al.”

Her artistic specialty is every bit as whimsical and interesting as her offbeat moniker.

Whalen makes collages and sculptures out of the foil from wine and champagne bottles, which she describes as “those little jewels around the necks of the bottles that usually end up in the landfill after the bottle is recycled.”

If you’re intrigued enough to go take a look at Whalen’s creations, she’ll be at Topel Winery’s tasting room, just a few steps off Healdsburg Plaza at 125 Matheson St., starting at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 15-16.

Her appearance is part of the big annual Winter Wineland weekend event, produced by Russian River Wine Road, with 135 wineries welcoming visitors for special tastings, art, food and displays.

Tickets cost $55 for the weekend; $45 for Sunday only, $5 for designated drivers. Buy tickets at participating wineries Jan. 15 and 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. For information or a list of wineries visit www.wineroad.com.

If you can’t make it this weekend, Whalen’s wine foil collages will be on display until the end of the month at the Sonoma County Wine Library in the Healdsburg Regional Library, at Piper and Center Streets in Healdsburg.

Wine Library hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday. Closed Sundays.

For a quick look at “Big Al” artwork, visit www.bigalsartgallery.com/winefoils.html