We asked the four artists in this gallery show several questions:
Tell us about why/how you got into art.
What does making art mean to you?
What has inspired you for this show?
Walk us through the your creative process.
What emotions/reactions/thoughts do you want your work to bring?
What is your favorite piece for sale at this event?
Where can we find your work: website, social media, local stores.
Here are their responses.
I’ve been painting all my adult life and as a child I loved to draw, much to the consternation of teachers who found it hard to get me to concentrate on lessons. From a coal mining town in Pennsylvania my parents moved us to Manhattan, New York City when I was sixteen. I attended the Art Students’ League in New York for four years and my first professional art exhibit took place at the prestigious Salmagundi Club where I was one of the first women artists elected to membership. After moving to Colorado in 1983 I continued to study with artists whose work I admired while having representation in galleries in Santa Fe, Taos and Colorado. My work began to earn awards at national exhibits, and I was inducted into the Master Circle in the International Association of Pastel Societies.
My work, whether in oils or pastels is my pathway to exploration and expression of the environment as I experience it. It has been my passion for most of my life and continues to be so. This exhibit in oils includes some of my tree series paintings which has preoccupied me for some years as well as abstractions which are more recent works. Although the tree series may be considered referential, I feel they are close to abstractions in that I take great liberties with nature in composition, color and visual interpretation. Expression through vibrant color combinations intrigues me and is present in all my paintings, no matter the genre.
My hope is to engage the viewer, if just for a moment, and communicate the sense of excitement and connectivity I felt in its creation.
While working as a health care professional for many years, I have had many affairs with different arts and crafts. I was always on the lookout for the one that would captivate and challenge me—my one true love that would balance out my very left-brained, non-creative profession.
I’ve found all this and more with glass, and along with my newly empty nest, I’m experiencing a Renaissance.
My current body of work includes small glass mosaic pieces (light switch covers) and fused glass work utilizing recycled glass (tempered glass shelving and automobile glass). I love the green aspect of using “glass with a past”. They take on a life and Renaissance of their own.
Each piece is individually designed in my Colorado studio with special attention to color, flow, and functionality.
Whether I’m working on a mosaic piece, or trusting the kiln gods with a fused glass creation, I am learning to appreciate the magic and alchemy that transform a simple material into a glorious piece of art.
I enjoyed being part of the Recycled Art show that Commonwheel had a year ago. So, when the opportunity arose to get into another show I jumped at it. This is a beautiful gallery, all the artists I met were welcoming and professional.
My favorite work right now is the fused glass. All the objects are made from recycled glass, some of which I pull from dumpsters while on walks around my neighborhood, some of which magically appears on my front porch as my neighbors all know what I do. The green pieces are from the rear window of a car. I use so much of that glass that I now go to a junk yard in Denver with a sledge hammer when I need to replenish my stock. Other types of glass I use are shower doors and glass shelving. All of this glass would end up in a landfill if I hadn't "rescued" it. We, as a society, simply throw too much stuff away.
I hope viewers of my work will be surprised and delighted to see what can be made from glass that is typically thought of as trash.
My website: IndigoMesaGlassworks.com
My facebook: Indigo Mesa Glassworks
I am a member of Shadow Mountain Gallery (also an artist-owned gallery) in Evergreen, Colorado.
I have always been interested in art, in elementary school I was the kid who was drawing instead of doing my work. I flirted with becoming a commercial artist or graphic designer, but being a musician won. My initial medium was drawing, either pencil or pen and ink, but once I got the opportunity to use a potters’ wheel I was instantly in love with clay. I have been a hobby potter for nearly thirty years, it’s an obsession.
Creativity is my drug of choice, whether it’s making music or making art. Art is my solace, my therapy, my expression of living in the moment.
I have been exploring clay saggar firing for the past couple of years. I’m intrigued by the element of chance of atmospheric firings. There is no possibility of duplication, there’s no way to plan how the gasses in the kiln will color the clay. I love that spontaneity and randomness. It’s an artistic expression of Carpe Diem. Every time I open the kiln it’s like Christmas.
I have been intrigued by bottles for many years and have been trying to perfect the form. I was inspired many years ago by a poster in our community studio of wood fired bottles. When I discovered the saggar firing technique it was a perfect combination. The "saggar" is pot made of clay that the piece to be fired sits inside of. I wrap old guitar strings around the piece to create dark lines. Then inside that saggar I put various combustible materials that will create chemical gasses that will color the piece. Some of the materials I will put in the saggar are wood chips, horse manure, plant food, coffee grounds, salt, all sorts of things. A big part of the fun is playing mad scientist, throwing various things in the saggar to see what they do. One happy accident was when the guitar string melted onto the piece, I loved the look and now I try to make that happen. The saggar is then put into the kiln and fired to about 1700 degrees.
I want people to see beauty, to see spontaneity. To enjoy the moment that was captured by the clay when they look at my work.
My favorite piece for this show is this bottle (see below). I love it. The form is beautiful, the colors have depth and variety. This is a perfect coming together of chance and skill.
My facebook page is the best place: https://www.facebook.com/PotteryByJosie/
I am also on Instagram as fiddlequick.
I am a member of the Aurora Potters’ Guild, my work can be found at their bi annual sale.
I have always been an artist, but when I started college, I did not think it a viable major; yet took a painting or drawing course every semester. I had switched majors three times, until as a sophomore my art professor asked what in the world I was doing – and that for heavens sake I should be majoring in art, and not only that, they needed me! It’s pretty seductive to feel needed, and that’s where I was happiest, so I switched majors one last time.
Making art is not only a way of expressing my world–but also being part of the creative force. One of my colleagues talks about being a Maker, which is profound, yet so basic!
The original concept for this exhibit focused on a variety of media and abstraction, hence, “Eclectic Expressions.” Despite advice from professionals and gallerists to stay with a single theme, there was always a new path to explore and more than one tempting choice to make. I often consider Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” And I wonder. . . Yet, life is exciting, and thus should be one’s work. It’s not just a journey – but real trip!
I start with my sketchbook, in plein air, and/or photos, or sometimes with memories so distant they can only be rendered as abstraction, i.e., Sand and Sea. At times research is needed: i.e., dragonflies don’t pose.
I want the person looking at my work to find Connection. The viewer brings his/her own story to a work of art.
My favorite piece of work for this show is RED. Aside from the universal emotion of the color red, and the universal symbolism of the spiral, it was just plain fun to focus on mixing so many varieties of a single color - which is essentially the only thing I needed to think about during the painting process.
My artwork can be found at Commonwheel Artists Co-op, Manitou Springs CO; BLUECANYONART, and SOUTHWINDS Gallery, Monument CO
Interview by Juanita Canzoneri
I interviewed Frank and Ginny Maiolo, our March Artists of the Month, in their home studio.
Frank and Ginny named their studio Monument Moon because they live in Monument, Colorado and Ginny has been enamored by the moon all her life.
Frank and Jenny are jewelers. They design and create jewelry from silver or copper with gemstones and precious semi-precious stones. They make rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants, sometimes dog tags.
Most of their work is done with hot connections using solder and flux. They use an acetylene air torch for silver soldering. They have been rock hounds their entire lives and have a large collection of stones in their studio.
Ginny and Frank retired from corporate America seven years ago and decided to have fun with the rest of their lives. They had both been managers for software development groups at FedEx. One of the women worked for Ginny made jewelry and Ginny asked if this woman would give her a class.
She came home from the class and left all of her class instructions on the table and went shopping. When she came back home Frank had already made two pair of earrings.
They had no idea they wanted to work in metal. Frank read through the instructions Ginny had left behind and decided it looked like fun. Being a little more familiar with tools he helped with those. “I was afraid of the torch,” Ginny confessed. “it was a little still a little unnerving at times, but Frank is really good with the torch.”
I asked the question I typically ask silversmiths: how many hammers do you have? They start counting and come up with 17. They’d have more but the hammers they like are really expensive. Then I point out a large hammer under the table, giving a final count of 18.
They use a rolling mill as much as hammers for texture and have another tool with a texture attachment.
I asked Frank how he came to start his line of Camino jewelry. In 2015 they decided to would do the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain, a 500-mile-walk through Spain on the Santiago de Compostela.
After they got home, they realized most of the commemorative jewelry they had seen on the trip was made in China. So, Frank came up with a couple designs for pendants, rings, earrings, and bracelets and has been selling those now for a couple of years through our Monument Moon site, Etsy, and Amazon handmade. The pieces can also be found in Camino Marketplace on Facebook.
Frank and Ginny started their business while in their sixties and it's flourishing. “So often we think it's too late. I'm retired and there’s nothing more I can do,” Ginny says. “But it's never too late! When I retired Frank got me this card and I framed it and put it in my studio. ‘There will come a time when you think everything is finished, but that will be the beginning.’ And it's so true. this has changed our entire life.”
They’ve always been interested in art. Ginny paints and they've always been an advocate of the Arts. They travel the world going to Art Museums and so it's always been an interest. “I thought I would stick with painting,” Ginny says, “but I wasn't that good at it. I enjoy it, and it's fun, and I still do it. But jewelry just resonated with both of us it was just so completely us, using the things that we've always loved. Having been in the corporate world all of our professional careers this was something where we just reinvented ourselves.”
Frank has an MBA project management, undergraduate business information. Ginny has an undergrad in psychology which has helped her deal with group dynamics. She taught in the corporate world as well as managed and comments, “you'd be surprised how often we use that in the world of artists. Group dynamics are pretty similar no matter what group you're in.”
But Commonwheel has been a freeing experience for them both. They had rigid corporate standards in software development, which is something that really turns software developers off because they want to have their own thing. Now they can do anything they want and can experiment, and play, and don't have to worry about it.
For the newly retired or those who want to expand their creative life the recommend taking classes anywhere you can find them.
“Explore,” says Ginny “I never thought I would get into jewelry making. I enjoyed it, I love buying it, but I would always look at it and think well I could make that. And then I started making jewelry and it's a lot harder than I thought. Explore. Play. Don’t be too ready to say you can't do something.”
Whatever you learn will often carry over into other areas. Looking at the different types of art that Commonwheel carries and that they do you will find they all draw on the same art concepts: the rule of threes, asymmetry, and so on. Everyone has creativity whether it's in music, writing, art, even thinking—which basically starts at all.
Ginny and Frank have two completely different design methods. Ginny has a basket of ideas in her space. When there were wildfires near their home a few years ago, this basket is one of the things their daughter took to keep safe. The basket contains her ideas, drawings, names, etc. “I keep it by me at night when Frank's watching TV and jot down ideas. I have a basketful of paper and pencils and I'm designing,” Ginny says.
Frank says he designs at the bench. He doesn't do any drawings. He just sits down with his raw materials and it grows. Usually he's picked a stone out of their collection first and does a lot of designing in his head.
Franks calls is designs simplistic elegance and Ginny says she gets way too into a piece and has to figure out where to stop. So, she ends up with some designs that she can't finish without showing it to Frank and say “now what do I do?”
But they do definitely help each other with the design and with the technical aspects. “I'm so afraid I'm going to melt something” says Ginny about fusing. “I don't want it to melt and Frank is so totally comfortable with that torch. He knows it intimately.”
In addition to Commonwheel Artists Co-op and our Labor Day Festival the Maiolo’s sell at Front Range Open Studios. This will be their seventh year. There are currently 16 artists in Monument that are part of the weekend event in September.
Interview by Juanita Canzoneri. Photographs by Juanita Canzoneri and Teri Rowan.
Jon joined Commonwheel as a jeweler in 2018 and has made himself indispensable to our Jury/Display committee. I went to his home/studio to interview him for this article.
He is our Artist of the Month for February 2019. All his work is on sale at 10% off through the month.
So, what is it that you do?
I'm a silversmith.
And how did you get into that?
I've often admired I've long admired Southwestern jewelry and wanted to learn some of those basic techniques. But I didn't want to try and duplicate the designs that the Indians used, I wanted to do my own designs. So I took a couple classes of some of the basic techniques. That was about 25 years ago and I've been kind of self-taught since then.
What did you do before you took up silversmithing?
Lots—small animal veterinarian for 20 years, then my wife and I owned a bird feeding store which gradually transitioned into a bookstore.
Yeah, I’m a birder. We sold that and the next thing was a B&B with some rental cabins here in Manitou. I most recently we had the kitchen store then the economy changed, and we retired from that.
Now I have more time to spend on my silversmithing.
Where do you get your silver?
Most of it I get from Santa Fe jewelry supply. I get sheets and wire. They come in an incredible variety.
Speaking of working with a commodity, right now it's not too bad but the price has been pretty high in the past. While I've been working with it can remember $5 an ounce and as high as $40 an ounce. Right now it's at $15, so not bad.
What part of the country did you grow up in?
I was born in DC but grew up in Colorado in Wheat Ridge. Went to school in Boulder for a few years got a degree in Zoology, then 4 years in Fort Collins for veterinary medicine. Now I'm in a career that I never have to retire from and enjoy a lot.
So when you started silversmithing did you take classes from somebody locally?
Yeah Suzanne Lindquist was giving a 3-day class for kids at the Business of Art Center (now the Manitou Art Center). I called them up and asked if they would take an adult in that class and they said, I guess. Do you have anybody signed up yet? They said, no. What's the minimum number of people you need? 3. So I recruited a neighbor and somebody else to take it. We started by working on overlay, which is a technique that I still use and some basic forming.
And then the next year she was doing a class at the Pikes Peak Community College and I took a semester there, and then another one again the next year and learned more techniques. She was an instructor that really emphasized learning design as opposed to just techniques, so we got along really well. I learned a lot from her.
After that it's just looking at jewelry, and there's a lot to look at. Jerry Scavezze,a gallery owner in Salida, he just sold his store. I was talking to him when he closed, and he said there's so many techniques out there you can't learn them all. You have to pick one and just go with it. I said yeah, my techniques are hammering and sawing, very basic stuff. Kind of goes along with the really simple designs I do.
How many hammers do you have?
About a dozen, I suppose.
Only a dozen?
Maybe it's more than that. some of them I inherited from my grandfather and father. One was grandfather was a blacksmith and the other the mechanic and I was the only boy in the family, so I've got a garage full of tools that I've inherited. I modified some of these for forming or texturing or rounding.
It sounds like you've got metal in your history with your grandfather being a blacksmith.
And my dad was a mechanical engineer. he worked on cars a lot was a handy guy that did a lot of things.
So what types of silver work do you do?
I like texturing. You have to be in the zone to do it. You start making marks and you have to just start and be consistent. Ideally you hit every spot once and make it consistent because of the reflectivity of silver because of the reflectivity of silver reflective substance where is when it's all dimpled and shiny like that it just blames and sparkles.
I really like copper as well, but I have problems with the perceived value of copper. You can spend two hours on a copper piece, and the same on a silver piece, and there would be no comparison in what you could get for them. It also has to do with so many kinds and availability of silver you have sheets and wire and I'll get different thicknesses and shapes—square, round, half-round, flat. It's a head start on all of the shapes you trying to accomplish.
I work with an anvil on a stump--standard jewelry studio stuff. I do a lot of work on that. I have different anvils too. One is actually a part of a railroad my dad had, and what's cool about that is if you hammer a piece of metal on it gets a sandy texture.
Where are you selling other than Commonwheel?
Arati gallery, Green Horse Gallery. I was in Santa Fe for twenty-odd years.