By Leti Wesolowski, blog contributor
Tell us about yourself and how did you get started with your art?
I am a Uruguayan-born, Colorado-based Jewelry designer and self-taught maker. I’ve been part of Commonwheel artist co-op for the past 4 years as a jeweler, blog contributor, art show curator and participating artist at many gallery shows with different designs, mediums and creations.
Making jewelry started as a hobby 14 years ago. Before that, I was focusing more on my architectural studies and I painted in oil as a past time. I took classes in pottery and photography for fun, I did pet portraits for friends and designed my own Christmas cards for my family. However, I found the most challenge with jewelry making, not only a whole new world of exciting gemstones, but also so many different jewelry techniques to create my designs. Within the first few months, my jewelry grew in complexity and craftsmanship and it didn’t take long before I started my own jewelry business. Today I still dabble in different mediums and keep exploring new techniques—you can read more about my last collection submitted to the Garden Art show at Commonwheel here.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on my Summer collection consisting of pretty, bright colors and a mix of statement necklaces and easy to wear bracelets—you can visit my Facebook page to check my latest news. My favorite style lately has been the long braided necklaces usually paired with ethnic amulets and vintage objects I find while rummaging through gem shows and antique stores. It takes many hours of design, creation and full attention to detail, however the end result is an elegant and strong necklace that feels soft and flexible when worn.
Tell us about your creative process.
I apply my own personal methodical process learned from my studies on Architecture, Art history, design and lots of practice and patience! I work with a variety of metals –sterling, gold filled, copper, brass—in a free but selective process. Most of my silver and copper pieces get oxidized and polished by hand to create a vintage look or to emphasize contrast between the gemstones and the metals. I use semi-precious stones and freshwater pearls with occasional swarowski crystals, African trading beads and Japanese beads, mostly depending on what the design calls for. When I was a child I loved to collect old coins and keys, so I bring that element into my designs as well, incorporating interesting found objects, amulets, crosses, religious medals, chandelier crystals and antique pendants that add an intriguing, old-world touch to the whole line. I want each piece of jewelry to have a special meaning and character so that the owner will cherish it and wear it with intention and appreciation to handmade.
What do you enjoy most doing?
One of my favorite jewelry techniques is wire-wrapping stones where I use very thin wire to link or attach gemstones or beads. Earrings are a process of love and patience. Teardrops are matched closely, wire wrapped like a science, and ear wires are shaped, hammered and smoothly filed on the ends for a comfortable fit through your earlobes. All the rosary-style wire-wrapped beaded chains you’ll see in my collection are entirely made by me, bead by bead, link by link, in a lengthy but therapeutic process. In the past years I’ve incorporated crochet, macramé and braiding as a way of mixing in fiber and bringing in a more organic feel to my wire designs. What I enjoy the most is to plan the whole collection with a cup of coffee in one hand and a sketch book and pencil on the other and seeing it come to fruition on my working table. It is very rewarding to admire the final result before it’s all gone to different boutiques and markets.
What tool(s) in your studio could you not live without?
Two tools are essential that I hold on each hand at all times: my round nose pliers and my chain nose pliers. Just add beads and wire for a great start!
Is there anything new in the shop that you are very excited about?
Besides my colorful crochet wrap bracelets that are fun to wear, I’ve introduced a new line of macramé bracelets with stamped words celebrating all things Colorado. I am working on new Summer colors that are really beautiful and easy gifts for any age.
Where can we find your work?
You can find a specially selected jewelry collection displayed at Commonwheel gallery at all times, as well as these local stores: Green Horse Gallery in Manitou Springs; Poor Richard’s Bookstore in Colorado Springs; EllyBlue in Old Colorado City; Honeycomb & co in Denver; Fratelli Restaurante in Colorado Springs.
If you are looking for something unique and love outdoor art fairs, visit me at any of this Colorado shows coming up: Greeley -Park your Art, July 28-29; Woodland Park -Mountain Artists, August 4-5; Loveland -Art in the Park, August 11-12; Commonwheel Art Festival in Manitou Springs, September 1-2-3; Rock Ledge Ranch in Garden of the Gods, September 14-15-16. I always bring one-of-a-kinds and special pieces that cannot be find anywhere else.
If you live out of state and wish to purchase online, please visit Commonwheel online store and my Etsy shop.
For more info about me and my line, visit my website www.dolcedeleti.com and
Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/dolcedeleti
Visit our Commonwheel Artist Co-op store to receive 10% off Leti’s jewelry through the whole month of July (in-store sales only).
For “Garden Art” we put out a call looking for Commonwheel Artists Co-op is seeking submissions for artwork with either a garden theme or be work that could be placed in a garden. We got 26 applications and accepted work from 20 artists.
We asked these artists some questions to help you get to know them a little better. Below are their responses to these questions:
1) In a short paragraph, tell us about yourself (How did you get interested in art, your art work/medium of choice, etc.).
2) With your art, tell us about your process. Walk us through the steps achieve one of your pieces. (Please provide photo of yourself working on piece if available).
3) What is your favorite piece accepted for this event? Why? (Please provide a photograph of the specific piece you are referring to).
4) What has inspired you to apply for this show?
5) Where can we find your work: website, social media, local galleries.
I enjoyed painting as a child in school and won awards, scholarships, etc. I picked it up again as an adult after the death of a close friend as a way to reconnect to life and beauty. I had seen some beautiful art shows here in town and wanted to connect to the feeling they conveyed. Then once I started painting, it was compelling, and I knew I wanted to continue.
I usually paint outdoors on location (plein air) or rarely if not possible due to location or size, work to incorporate the same freshness in my work. The feeling of being in a place adds to the experience and I believe shows in the finished piece.
Hard to pick a favorite, because with each one I'm learning and pushing the envelope. I guess my favorite is because of the place and connection, poppies in Ernest Blumenschein's garden in Taos is a magical and historical place. The rest also have special memories of time and place as well.
I like the theme of garden art, and after a season of nature's winter palette, am always excited to be able to share beautiful bright colors of the garden. Gardens are a place of peace for me, and connection to the earth, our home.
My work can be found at my website www.DebBartos.com, my Facebook page Deb Bartos Fine Art, also Wooglin's Deli in Colorado Springs and the Sangre de Cristo Three Peaks Gift Shop in Pueblo, CO
My grandmother was an artist and has been my inspiration to pursue art. At an early age. I began to appreciate nature as I was surrounded by her paintings of wildlife scenes that would cover her entire garage, basement and random objects around the house such as chairs and the refrigerator. Ever since a Geology professor took a group of students and I to the Badlands National Park in 2011, I have been fascinated with the way wind and water sculpts the land. I have worked with oils, watercolors and pencil drawings but recently have been enjoying the versatility of acrylics.
My process begins with a thick layer of color for the undertone. The blue sky comes next followed by a chalked-in red rock design. With a focus on the intense shadows, I mix deep purples for the darkest tone and gather a few shades of red. Using the gel medium retarder helps to slow down the drying process, which allows me to treat the paint like oils.
glad this one was chosen because it’s the first rock structure that makes you feel small on your drive into the park. As you approach South Gateway Rock, you realize how big these things are.
I fell in love with the contrast between red rocks and blue skies after moving to Colorado Springs in 2016. I do love gardening, but since I live so close to Garden of the Gods, I feel the need to show my admiration for these remarkable formations. Taking walks through such vast open spaces motivates me to express my interpretation of the landscape.
Facebook - @BenBiresArtwork
Instagram - @benbires37
Marsha CM Blasgen
My earliest memory of making art was illustrating and dictating a story at about 3 years old. I have worked as a commercial artist, designer, printmaker, landscape painter, scenic design and stage make-up artist. Also, I have been a public-school art teacher for a number of years. Now my main interest is painting.
Flowers are always a delight. I love looking at the blossoms in the morning sun, and I used photos for the acrylic paintings taken at that time. The two acrylic flower paintings are in-depth studies, more like portraits. Usually, I have a visual image in my head to launch my artwork from. This time, the two acrylics were painted as isolations of specific light against deep shadow. Colors were chosen as close to what I saw as I could translate into paint. Simplifying the composition and the content was important to me, allowing my focus to direct the audience’s focus more easily. The background was painted first, after the flowers were sketched in place in pencil. The flowers were then painted using the deeper saturated colors first. Lastly the edges are refined, and the brightest lit areas were finished.
The watercolor was painted when a Colorado spring frost hit my poppies at full bloom. I brought the poppies into the studio and just painted the character of the stems and their blooms quickly on dry watercolor paper After a quick, light pencil sketch of the shapes, I mixed the watercolors on pans, matching them to the real flowers. Then just painted the flowers.
Spring Dance is my favorite of the three in this exhibit. I saw them as dancing in the extremes of weather, their stems bending with the forces of warm sun and chilling frost. The fragile petals, so brilliant and fading quickly caused me to just paint and not think.
The theme is about one of my favorite things- plants. I like to exhibit in shows that celebrate living with and enjoying nature. Gardening has always been a part of my life, making this a fun exhibit to paint for.
MarshaCMBlasgen (facebook); Marsha Blasgen, (facebook); Beausarts (instagram)
I have always loved art and starting painting full time a few years ago. I started with watercolors and loved to see the colors mixing on the paper. Acrylics and alcohol ink are newer mediums for me. Each have beautiful color combinations to explore.
After deciding on the subject for a watercolor painting, briefly sketch layout, then Misket areas to remain white or a solid border if a background wash is used. Botanical style flower paintings may need many layers to express the minute details of the flowers.
My favorite piece is the tulip botanical. They are my favorite flower, and this was my first painting of tulips.
I was inspired to enter this show because of my love of gardens and flowers. Flowers come in such happy colors. I am always amazed at the beauty of nature and am inspired to try to capture it.
Currently show year-round at Febra’s, 2532 W Colorado Ave., in Old Colorado City. Also do various craft shows each fall, email for list of shows email@example.com
I have always loved playing in mud …and string mixing things as a child. I took pottery in college at Indiana University of PA., it was quite challenging to learn to center the pot on the wheel. Once I learned to center the clay I was hooked. I worked as a potter for Van Briggle for several years, where I learned to perfect my throwing skills. At Van Briggle we had several designs that included flower frogs and floral arranging. I loved the contrast of the ceramic vessel with the variety of clay colors.
I have developed my own Ikebana design. I enjoy the simplicity of the Ikebana floral arranging.
I throw each Ikebana on the wheel then Bisque fire each piece. I add the Dragonfly using a Bamboo brush, or each Ikebana is glazed in a solid color.
The Dragonfly pieces are my favorite, I like the combination of Dragonflies and Flowers.
m jo hart
Originally from St. Louis, I moved to Colorado in 2015 after receiving my MFA in Ceramics from Illinois State University. I have a B.A. in Visual Communications and have worked as an Art Director/Graphic Designer in the corporate sector, non-profit, and public/private design industries with over 38+ years. I consider myself both an artist and maker. I create highly decorative functional pottery along with sculptural work that primarily focuses on female issues.
During my time as a designer I sought out ways to create for myself and was reacquainted with clay, remembering the fun I had in the clay studio as an undergrad. For years I attended classes at a local pottery studio and began selling my work. Later in my life an opportunity to apply to graduate school presented itself and I fully immersed myself in a 3-year program where I discovered a passion for working with the figure in clay, primarily on female issues. Attending graduate school as an older student, I was confronted with many hurdles and I was presented with countless opportunity for evolving as an artist.
Today, I work as an artist/maker, leaving the corporate world in the dust and no longer having to be contained in a cubicle. Recently I began collaborating with my partner, combining his woodworking craft and my porcelain art. I teach workshops and private lessons in clay and other mediums and find the creative process at times more satisfying than the outcome. As a self-supporting artist my piggy bank is often not as full as it was, but I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
Showing in “Garden Art” gives me an opportunity to stretch a little as an artist. I am making large ceramic flowers, birds and butterflies on metal stakes to place in the yard or display inside when the weather gets near freezing. Some are enlarged imitations of the real thing and others are fun imaginary creations. I have also collaborated with my partner in making the ceramic planters and he has made the colorful wood stands. They are bright, whimsical and something you won’t find at the garden store.
My ceramic work can be found at Commonwheel Artist Co-Op and I can be reached at my email address; firstname.lastname@example.org and my Instagram is @johartart.
I love the immediacy of the clay, the physical nature of the work, and the mind-body connection. I can go into the studio with a new idea and try it out right way. Whether it’s a new throwing technique, a slab idea, or making beads, I can start working out the problems right away. The versatility of clay lets me express my various interests. I have several running themes in my art that I explore. I prefer to work in small series or batches, exploring the theme, then returning to it later when inspiration has struck again. This keeps my work fresh and unique, and I always get a surprise when I open the kiln!
The pieces in this show were made with flowers from my garden. I used a rolling pin to impress them into the clay. I like to think of them as botanical prints. I stain the flower imprint to make them stand out then fire them in a kiln. I love the mica clay because it gives some flower "bling".
I like all the pieces created for this show.
The call for this show was directly related to the kind of pottery I like to make.
fb and instagram: Spinning Star Studio
Green Horse Gallery
Colorado Fine Artworks
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
Cottonwood Center for the Arts
I’ve been an artist all my life, and professionally for over 30 years as an Illustrator and Graphic Designer. I was the Senior Illustrator at the Air Force Academy for 17 years until 2013 where I was able to use my traditional painting skills, as well as digital illustration and graphic design. My greatest desire, however, was to devote my entire time to oil painting, especially landscapes and cityscapes.
My painting process is very methodical owing to my experience as a commercial illustrator. At this time, I am strictly a studio artist, as the level of detail in my work requires extensive time. I used photo reference, but my rule is that I only use photos that I take of places I experience first-hand. My painting approach is traditional, first “blocking in” the canvas totally, then incrementally building up the detail.
One piece was accepted for this show, but I did enjoy painting the scene. It’s a combination of nature and man-made subjects.
The garden theme was a good fit for some of my best pieces and it serves to introduce my work to the Commonwheel Gallery and their patrons.
My website is Hureau-art.com and my Facebook name is Christopher Hureau Art. At this time, I have over a dozen original paintings in the Gold Hills Mesa Gallery. Prints of my original art can be purchased through my website and can also be found at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post and the Air Force Academy Gift Shop. I also exhibit works at numerous shows throughout the year. Last year these included the Mueller State Park Show and the Florissant Fossil Beds National Park Show, as well as the Colorado College Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair.
I have been an artist my whole life. I am from Chicagoland where my grandmother, Florence Keller, was an artist, gave art lessons and let us kids have free reign of her studio. She most often painted watercolors outdoors in our yard, at lakes, and area forest preserves, and that is how I learned to paint. My day job is a librarian at the West Custer County Library in Westcliffe.
I have no steadfast rules for how I begin. Sometimes I start with ink, sometimes with paint. I got past any pencil sketching a long time ago and jump right in with ink and paint. I lay out the background and start to add the details. Each scene presents itself in its own way. My most comfortable scenario is painting outdoors, rural or urban landscapes and cityscapes - I like both. I am most comfortable with plein air competitions when those come around, and I can squeeze them into my schedule.
The piece accepted for this show was done in the studio. Last fall I had a bumper crop of gorgeous Calendula, my kitchen was full of flower heads for oils and salves, and I could not resist painting it.
Calendula was a larger piece than I usually do and sat unfinished all this time. I was inspired to finish it because of this show. Thanks for that.
I currently have art at Greenstone Artworks, 110 Main Street, Westcliffe, CO 81252. I also regularly show at 3rd St. Gallery, 59000 N. Hwy 69, Westcliffe, CO 81252 and The Bell Tower, 201 E. 2nd St., Florence, CO 81226. I have a Facebook page - just me, Jacqueline Keller.
It all began in the backyard with a recipe book for mud pies when I was five years old. I would bring home raw clay from dry river beds and let the book be my starting point for the most inedible mud pies you’ve ever seen. Then there were doll lamp shades made from cupcake liners, spools, and pipe cleaners. I’ve always had to keep my hands busy.
I work with window glass, fusible glass, fabric, yarn, wire, clay, most anything that is laying around in the studio. The mushrooms are made from window glass or fusible glass attached to PVC. The glass is cut to the proper diameter, decorated with glass powders and frit, then fired in the kiln just long enough to make everything stick together. Then the mold is put into the kiln with the glass ready for draping. It always seems like magic when opening the lid for the final time.
I hate to play favorites; the honey bee magnets are my current favorite. Honey bees are important to our food supply and they make me smile. The magnets will hold up at least 2 sheets of paper.
I’ve long known of the devoted customer base that Commonwheel has. Hopefully the customers will come to love my varied artwork.
In my jewelry art I started using small objects that could be repurposed, using them as a central theme of my jewelry art. My husband, a native of Colorado Springs, is a lover of the wild, an avid hiker, and my best supplier of metal, scraps, pieces of wood, broken glass and aged rusted objects. He finds new possibilities everywhere he goes and brings home lots of things. It so happens that some pieces that my husband brings home are too large to hang on necks or ears!! So, I started making larger pieces experimenting with a lot of different media.
My pieces combine a variety of media, depending on the inspiration I find in the objects with which I start. I add glass beads, wire wrapping, other metal findings. The results are interesting and unique, and no two pieces are exactly the same.
My favorite piece for this show is the Insulator Art – Blue in Blue. I had this painted piece of 2 by 4 for a long time sitting at a corner of my studio. I always like the color of it and the way it was peeling and aged. I love insulators – the thick glass, the slightly different shapes, the many colors and materials. My husband found in his grandpa’s many storages a box full of insulators. And in the box, a blue one the same tone as the piece of wood! From then it was easy! My inspiration came from the color and wanting to use the insulators as vases for small plants. I also used a piece of barb wire I had saved for a next piece of jewelry, but it was too large.
This show’s call for artists was published at the time when I had 2 pieces for my outside patio in the works – so I thought it was a “sign” and applied to the show.
I currently do not have any larger piece on my website or Etsy store; I have not been able to maintain a stock inventory!
Website – www.jewelrybymana.com
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/jewelrybymana
Etsy store - https://www.etsy.com/shop/JewelrybyMana
Kuttlefish store - https://kuttlefish.com/shops/jewelrybymana
Art has been a natural and important part of who I am ever since I could hold a crayon. Pretty early on, in high school, I felt a connection to watercolor, which has been my one and only medium for over 45 years.
My representational work starts with photographs I take. I look for unique moments when everyday objects or scenes are captured in just the right light and composition. The “unforgiving” nature of watercolor (no do-overs!) means that I spend a lot of time planning the composition and thinking “ten steps ahead” before putting brush to paper. Being self-taught, I take an intuitive approach to the painting process, rather than follow more traditional procedures.
My favorite piece in the “Garden Art” show is “Columbines”, because it has the most “movement”. Of all the paintings I’ve done of flowers, it reminds me the most of “dancing”, and somehow gives me a sense of having a “magical” quality that I love!
I was inspired to apply for this show in particular, because close-ups of flowers has been the primary focus of my work for the past two years. Flowers are my “thing”. I recently found this quote by Georgia O’Keefe: “I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.”
My work can be found online at peakradar.com (Visual Artists’ Profiles), and at themountainartists.org., and also will be exhibited at these locations:
May 1 – June 1, 2018
Art on the Mesa Gallery at Gold Hill Mesa, 142 South Raven Mine Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80906
May 1 – July 1, 2018
The Gallery at Rampart Range Library, 218 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, CO 80863
May 12 – June 27, 2018
Colorado Watercolor Society State Watercolor Exhibition, 21c Library, Pikes Peak Library District, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
May 29 - June 22, 2018
Palmer Lake Art Group “Color Splash” Show, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Hwy. 105, Palmer Lake, CO
July 1 – Aug 1, 2018
The Eichman Gallery at Park State Bank, 710 West US Hwy 24, Woodland Park, CO 80863
Aug. 4 – 5, 2018
Mountain Arts Festival, Woodland Park, CO 80863
“As a child, I was preoccupied with drawing and dreaming. My dreamscapes have always been dominated by the wonder of shapes, something that remains a big part of my work.”
The paintings of Centennial artist Marla Sullivan, who studied with Milton Glaser at the School of Visual Arts in New York and later earned a BFA from Metropolitan State College of Denver, are a mix of representational and impressionistic techniques that convey an energy that is irrepressible. Her whimsical Universal Villages series is painted on cedar shake roof shingles. The long, narrow planks feature dynamic brushwork and incorporate decorative paper, tile, glass, and found objects.
“My Universal Villages series is my tribute to enchantment and color. I want my viewers to have fun with a piece, to feel lighter when they experience what I have created, and to reflect on all that is good in life. My art is reasonably priced, so collectors can enjoy a fun, original work of art in their home.”
My education is in philosophy, BA Lake Forest College. Early on when I was finishing my studies as a young mother I took a few art classes. For years I concentrated on watercolor but after moving from Wisconsin to Colorado I became enamored with pastel. It was then that spontaneity became characteristic of my style. The piece I entered is not a good example of my usual style. But I love color and the way it is possible with the stroke of a pastel stick. Recently I renewed my acquaintance with oil and the pallet knife is usually the instrument of choice.
I'm represented by the galleries: Fare Bella in Manitou and Boulder Street in Springs. And right now, am showing at the Hanson Gallery at Cottonwood. My work is on Fineartamerica, Artpal and Faso.
Am a member of Colorado Spring Art Guild and a signature member of Pikes Peak Pastel Society.
My name is Joan Tucker. I have lived in Colorado Springs for 21 years. I have loved art all my life. I started by painting ceramics and then tole painting. I am pretty much self-taught. Nothing ever came naturally, but I love to paint. Art is my therapy. My inspiration comes from nature and travel pictures. I have found that I love painting old buildings in nature. I prefer acrylic paints because it's easier to fix my mistakes. I tried for this show to see if anyone else thought I could paint even a little. I don't have any social media.
I got interested in jewelry making by chance while trying to find something to fill my spare time. Back then I was going to college to get certified as architectural drafter and working full time. Still I found time to take a few art classes and practiced some basic jewelry techniques to adorn myself.
It didn’t take long for friends and coworkers to ask me to make special orders for them, so eventually I got busy making jewelry, I quit my full-time job and I started my own small business.
Drawing and painting have come naturally since I was young. My father introduced me to oil painting when I was 11, and soon after gave me a camera that I took everywhere. My mom taught me knitting and crochet and I embroidered my cloths and made friendship bracelets. In my teen years I kept painting, and pencil drawing-- landscapes, pet portraits and Christmas cards for my family. I dabbed in many other crafts and participated at art shows and competitions.
Jewelry making has been a learning experience and quite an amazing journey these past 14 years. I had played with a variety of techniques, including silversmithing, but I always enjoyed wire wrapping the most. Today you can explore my collection, all one-of-a-kind and entirely made by me using mostly wire wrapping in silver, gold and copper, in combination with crochet, macramé, braiding, and metal forging techniques.
Although the design I made for this show uses wire, is not technically wire wrapping, it is more wire “twisting,” in which beads are attached and spaced twisting sections of wire and creating branches. This is one technique I played with long time ago and now I am discovering it again with fresh eyes.
Each show brings the possibility to explore new ideas, so for the “Garden Art” show I wanted to bring a little bit of Mother Nature into my jewelry creating something resembling a blooming tree in Spring. For my favorite piece I picked golden pearls, seed beads, and crystals in a beige palette, and although simple and delicate, I tried to create an organic and flowing design. The pendant is as asymmetrical as a cherry branch tree would be, and the necklace is finished with soft silk thread spaced with gold beads and gold findings. You’ll find both the necklace and earrings are 3 dimensional, lightweight and a beautiful set to wear on any occasion.
"Dare to Express"
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.