by Juanita Canzoneri
The Front Range Open Studios Tour is the only studio tour in the state where every location is the actual working studio of the artist present. They put great emphasis on educating the public as to where and how fine art and craft are made. They offer more to the public than just finished product. There is a greater variety of art forms presented which allows the public to gain a better understanding of why art costs what it does.
Around the mid 90’s Richard Pankratz realized that the work he wanted to create was very sculptural. He also realized that bronze was the medium he wanted to work in.
Art is a communication medium. Richard strives to connect with and develop relationships with people through this common love of art. He loves sculpting because it gives him the opportunity to think great thoughts and contemplate universal solutions. The consistent theme running through his current work can be summarized in the choice we have to love one another and realize the inherent sameness and interconnectedness between us.
Richard recently completed public art installations for Edmond, OK and Loveland, CO. Recent Corporate collectors include Kaiser Permanente in Colorado Springs, CO and Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Lincoln, NB.
Nancy Bonig designs and creates most of her kiln-worked glass with the hope that it will bring as much pleasure to the person who buys is, as they did to her. The design process starts with the finished piece in mind—it’s final size, shape, bend and function. Nancy draw on the influences of the Art Deco period, with its sleek, geometric forms and stylized imagery in decoration and design, and experiments with line, color, texture and balance to achieve a pleasing whole.
“I try to learn something new with each project, whether it be design, color combinations or firing techniques. Working with glass, I have learned to respect the material, be awed by its transformation with heat, and to wonder at future possibilities.”
Kathleen Krucoff works in ferrous and non-ferrous metals. She states, “I have never been one to color inside the lines, so why should my work be constrained by any limits? Being creative is a way of life for me. My father was a landscaper and taught me to love and respect nature. I think that is why you will find an organic quality in the pieces I create.”
Kathleen’s work is comprised of silver, gold, natural stones and gemstones
Dan Rieple’s interest in wood and woodworking began with his father, a brick and stonemason, whose hobby was furniture making. An industrial arts program at age 14 turned the embers into a flame. In addition to being self-taught, Dan earned an Industrial Arts degree from CSU. After a short stint of teaching, followed by a longer stint in architectural woodwork, he is at last designing and building functional works of art. He loves turning material that is normally rejected into something admired and functional.
“I like seeing the pleased expression when someone feels the soft curves and surfaces on a piece that I've made,” Dan says. “Besides being visually pleasing and perhaps even provocative, art furniture should stir a person to a point where the desire to touch is irresistible.”
Jodie Bliss has been working in metal for over 13 years. In those years she evolved from jewelry fabrication into larger steel sculpture fabrication and eventually into blacksmithing. The major theme that interests Jodie is that of “Identity Construction”. Throughout the last decade Jodie has produced several series of masks, portraits and abstracts all relating back to the exploration of the power that lies behind the way each of us creates and evolves our personal character.
Jodie has been participating in Front Range Open Studios since she first arrived in Monument in 2012. From the inception of the relationship it has been a fantastic weekend for introducing the community to what goes on in Bliss Studio & Gallery in Monument. In addition to the coordination of the tour weekend itself, Nancy Bonig, the owner of Front Range Open Studios, has done so much to promote the arts and artists in the community and to bring us all together as a group.
Frank and Ginny Maiolo
As a jewelry artist and metalsmith Frank Maiolo’s goal is to create works that are an extension of his inner self and emotions and that resonate with others. Jewelry is intimate and needs to satisfy the sense of touch with pleasing textures and delight the eye with elegant lines, shapes and color. Frank’s materials choose how they are going to be shaped and though it is not the most efficient method, he typically designs as he works. The tactile nature of the metals, gems and materials can take on a life of their own and help guide him through the creative process.
Collecting shells, sea glass, rocks and myriad other treasures consumed Ginny Maiolo as a child. Reflection on these collections and the organic nature of the items expose a primitive quality to the jewelry she creates. Her designs incorporate the organic diversity of the patterns of earth and sky. In 2007 the artist emerged from the depths of her being and cried out for freedom. She was 58 when she began painting. In 2012 she started working with metal and found the tactile expression that metalsmithing provides. The personal connection she finds with the materials is a sensory encounter that is unequaled. The metals are raw and malleable and waiting to tell a story. Her color palate is currently reds, yellows, oranges and the blues and greens of sea glass.
Tactile and personal, the tools, art, and wooden artifacts made by Dennis and Kay Liggett are meant to be touched and used in daily life.
‘Notions’ is an old retail category for exactly these kinds of beautiful things.
In 2016, the Liggetts will feature traditional turned accessories, tools, bowls, and fruit with inventive surface design, as well as new interpretations and combinations of traditional quilting techniques. Dennis and Kay both work on the wood lathe. Kay also uses fabrics, paints, brush, and sewing machines in her work.
Starting as a hobbyist in 1994, Terre Christensen turned a pastime into a wholesale business in 2009. She honed her skills experimenting with different methods of fabrication and firing. Each piece is intended to be a unique work of art, not a mass produced duplicate of what someone else might offer.
Terre is appealed by the unpredictability of Raku; the colors, metallic qualities, and textures which transform a simple piece into something distinctive and interesting. Her pieces are carefully crafted with attention to details and composition. In the final step, control is surrendered to the kiln, glazes, and air temps which render one-of-a-kind treasures.
Milo Scott enjoys creating 3-D art. There is something about being able to hold a piece, turning it, watching the light reflect off the surfaces that simply can’t be duplicated by other mediums. Wood is one of her favorite substances to work with. Even after a tree has stopped being a live plant, it continues to show a “life”. It is an amazing thing to see the worst looking part of a tree, twisted and knotted, worked into a vessel that contains marbleized holographic reflections simply by removing layers to expose the beauty that was always just under the surface. Wood is an item that can be fashioned into nearly any shape, but, sometimes; the wood wins. Many of the pieces Milo creates utilize “leftovers” from other wood industries. Laminations and segmenting methods combine different species of wood which equates to painting in 3-D with Mother Nature’s finest works.
Barbara Ziek and her husband raise and live with alpacas. He shears them once a year and Barbara sorts and grade the fleeces. “What do you DO with them,” people invariably ask when they meet the alpacas. You use their fiber!
So, what is her art? She felts the alpacas’ fleece. Felt is a very hands-on, fluid (quite literally fluid—felt is made with lots of water) and somewhat mysterious form of fiber art. She rolls, stretches, compresses, pounds, and throws the wet mass of fiber to make felt. Along the way, each fleece shows its individuality. “I particularly enjoy exploring texture, form and color through the fluidity and physicality of making felt. Because of the unique qualities of every fleece and the way it responds to felt making processes, my initial plan for a piece of art never ends quite as I planned. Usually it’s better.”
Claudia Dimidik’s aspirations for art began in grade school when she took an award for a watercolor painting. This then led to a focus on the arts where she offered to create and design logos, brochures and murals. Trained and credentialed with a B. A. in Art Education, her desire to learn more than one style of art led her earn an M.A. in Fine Arts degree.
After teaching eight years of darkroom photography she took on the challenge of implementing a computer art course for the district and then shared this knowledge by teaching community education courses. However, her desire for paint and sculpture would not subside. As an active member in the arts community, Claudia has taken numerous awards and recognition for her photographs, digital art, prints and paintings.
Claudia is known for her landscapes, which she describes as influenced by Ansel Adams. Her collages and montages are also in color and influenced by Jerry Ueslmann. Claudia admits that color is important and although she continues to work with themes and childhood memories her current series are batiks on rice paper as she is excited to see spring flowers!
Clay N Colors
John Haines is currently pursuing a lifelong interest in creation of art, in both two and three-dimensions. His present focus is art pottery (mainly wheel thrown, working in traditional firing and Raku) and watercolor painting.
In recent years John has developed his skills in watercolor and ceramics (pottery). For the latter, he has studied under local potters Jeremiah Houck and Jamie Howard.
John’s artistic view can best be described as collaborative, where the medium and the artist each bring specific elements to the production of the final work. “I respect this relationship in all my artistic endeavors and particularly in working with clay, where the characteristics of the clay and the processes to bring it to final form work together with the inspiration and guidance of the artist to produce the final object. This relationship also speaks directly to my current interest in the watercolor medium.”
Walt Moore is a potter who creates wheel-thrown art. He makes tableware for household use and artistic pieces for decoration and aesthetic enjoyment. He uses gas, electric and Raku kilns and hopes to try wood firing soon. He is constantly expanding his line of pottery and learning new techniques and styles. He expresses himself in throwing, altering, carving, and glazing his forms. Nature is his muse and many of his pieces exemplify this interest in the world around us.
Carolanne Ryan: “Being a native of Colorado has given me inspiration to capture the abundant beauty and serenity that surrounds me. Expressing these qualities through artistic media has been my focus and passion since I was a child. Currently, working with clay has enabled and challenged me to openly display my emotions, experience, awareness and spirit. I am dedicated to applying these principles in my art and my life, always striving to enrich and share the profound beauty of life, as I see it!”
Dusty Severn had an adventure-filled life before embarking on her exploration of the arts. As a military wife, she followed her husband, Ted, around the world raising five children. A firm believer in building teams, she enjoys being a part of the co-op Clay N Colors. As a potter, she loves the tactile experience, creating shapes, and the surprise of opening up the kiln after a glaze firing! Most of all, because of her husband's generosity, she is thankful to be able to donate any funds that are generated to charity. This newfound passion has opened her mind to explore other media in art.
Amy Taube is the newest member of the Clay N Colors co-op. We were unable to obtain her bio or images before publishing this blog post.
Liz Kettle tells tales that are personal as well as those that speak of relationship, humanity and the earth. She chose the untraditional fine art palette of fabric and stitch because I believe they connect us and draw us closer in a way that cannot be achieved with traditional art materials alone. She uses a variety of techniques drawing from the deep wells of quilting, mixed media collage and paint to tell and support each unique story.
Liz is passionate about teaching and has co-authored two books; Fabric Embellishing: the Basics and Beyond and Threads: the Basics and Beyond. I am also solo author of First Time Beading on Fabric. I have articles published in Quilter’s Home, Quilting Arts, Quilting Arts In Stitches, and Cloth Paper Scissors Studios. She has also appeared in the PBS show Quilting Arts TV.
Award winning artist Mary Lou Pape paints animals in oils or pastels with a close up view of their world. From wildlife to domestic animals, she paints from personal experience, striving to capture each animal’s unique characteristics with feeling and the dignity they deserve.
“I hope my paintings reflect the respect I have for the animals that share our world. I am drawn to close up portraits of the animals and their environment and love dramatic light and shadow. I paint from my own references and personal experience, striving to portray each one with dignity and feeling.”
Jo Gaston enjoys painting the intricate shapes and glowing colors of vegetables and flowers. With these subjects, her approach is essentially representational, though she does take artistic freedoms and often relies on close-up views to emphasize abstract undertones.
“As a watercolor artist, I am also intrigued by the bold shapes and rich colors of saddles, harnesses, and other tack. My work has a strong representational basis—a well-designed saddle or stirrup is itself an artist’s dream of form, texture, and subtle color gradations. So my stirrups generally look like stirrups, and you won’t mistake a saddle horn for a concha in one of my paintings. But I make full use of my artistic freedom to combine, simplify, emphasize, and see with the mind’s eye to make the artistic experience of these subjects as rich as possible. My approach often leads viewers to find powerful abstract qualities in what are finally realistic images.”
Jo works in transparent watercolor, layering washes when necessary to create colors that are as deep, dramatic, and rich as the colors she finds in the tooled leather and other natural surfaces.
“There is so much beauty in this world, and I just enjoy trying to capture that in my paintings whether it’s flowers, vegetables or Western tack. It’s all fun to paint.”
For Wilhemina Steenbergen, shaping in hand-made paper developed from earlier free-form pottery work. In the color finish she will often try to recreate the metallic effects of Raku glazing. Her fascination with texture also finds an outlet in the pieces she creates. Found objects or fabrics are sometimes included, but she do not define my work as collages, rather as sculptures. Themes and shapes are derived from nature, the seasons and her daily experiences.
“In this display I try to demonstrate the capabilities of forming in hand-made paper. I can create shapes and textures more freely than in clay and the finish with acrylic paint gives the pieces the unique look of metal or stone.”
Step out of your comfort zone and feel the exhilaration of trying something new. Explore the possible creative ways of displaying and enjoying your beloved jewelry pieces by integrating diverse artistic mediums. You might find that an exotic pendant can be displayed in your home on an interesting wall art piece when it is not hanging around your neck. A gorgeous ring or bracelet may have a place to rest in a small shadow box that has a poem or haiku specifically written for the piece of personal adornment. A painting can become three dimensional when adding another artistic component. The possibilities are endless. Can you visualize a wonderful piece of pottery embellished with a removable piece of jewelry
Opening Reception Friday, April 15, 5—8 pm
April 15 to May 16, 2016
Commonwheel Artists Co-op invites you to free yourself from your comfort zone and open yourself to creativity!
We’re offering a place to explore new ideas in personal adornment and innovative home décor items, providing a sensory delight for our art loving customers. Why not display an exotic pendant on a beautiful ceramic sculpture when it is not hanging around your neck? Why not showcase a gorgeous ring or bracelet in an evocative shadow box? Why not exhibit a dazzling showpiece within an embellished painting?
Our next gallery show, “Dare to Express,” will playfully provide you with interesting ways to incorporate wearable art into your home décor and innovative displays to showcase your beloved jewelry pieces.
On April 15th join us for our gallery opening reception and get a chance to meet in person the creative masterminds behind this one-of-a-kind show, while tasting hors d'oeuvres and enjoying Colorado Bluegrass music.