Monthly Archives: September 2014

At Pat Abbitt’s Workshop It’s a Zoo

What toy for a little one?

What gift would you buy for the little one looking through those eyes? (Photo by Dani Castillo)

Before retailers convince us that our children or grandchildren must have what many parents and grandparents will be buying for holiday gifts, let’s take a look at what artisans on the Front Range are offering. Every Wednesday for the next few weeks, “Handmade on the Front Range” will feature an artisan making items for children . . . and sometimes for our own inner child.

The bustle around Pat Abbitt’s booth of colorful stuffed animals at Boulder’s Firefly Market this summer looked a lot like Christmas season in July. The animals were making quite a stir when I came by . . .  so let’s start there. Continue reading

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Glassblower Dottie Boscamp Gives a Modern Twist to an Ancient Art

Contemporary work by Dottie Boscamp has  ancient roots.

Over the centuries little has changed of the tools used to create blown glass objects like these by Dottie Boscamp.

Before I started learning about artisans and their work, the only breakthroughs I could have named that brought more goods to more people would have dated from the Industrial Revolution . . . the wheel and agriculture being my only exceptions.

Reading about potters’ wheels last month, I learned that mechanisms to increase their rotating speed had created a mini-Industrial Revolution a few millenia ago, making it possible for many people to own pottery. This month I learned that what the mechanized potter’s wheel did for pottery, the development of glassblowing did for glass – to some extent, anyway.

Glassblowing replaced fused glasswork as the most widely practiced glass craft of artisans in ancient Rome. Coveted objects could be made faster by blowing than by fusing, and that meant that more people could own them. Nonetheless, glassblowing was a painstaking craft, and only the wealthy could afford the results. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)

It still is a painstaking craft – and a very hot one at that. I was grateful for the cool morning air the day I went to LaPorte, a small town northwest of Fort Collins, to watch glassblower Dottie Boscamp at work. Continue reading

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The Bead Stringer: A Glass Act

Gayle Stringer's handmade glass-bead jewelry

Handmade glass beads made these necklaces stand out at The Bead Stringer booth at Loveland’s Art in the Park.

As I wandered through art festivals this summer in Boulder, Loveland, and Fort Collins, I noticed numerous booths where artisans were selling their handmade jewelry. Most of the designs I saw were made primarily of metal . . . some were artfully arranged strands of gemstones . . . others were combinations of metal and gemstones.

Then I fell on the booth of The Bead Stringer at Loveland’s Art in the Park. Gayle Stringer’s stunning glass beads, the only ones I had seen in my wanderings, drew me in for a long, close look.

My eyes soon fixed on the necklace pictured above at lower left. Close up it looked as if she had embedded small white flowers in glass.  “How did you do it?” I asked her. Gayle did better than tell me – she showed me. Continue reading

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KDD Fused Glass Studio: Where Science Works Magic

Sample Projects at KDD Fused Glass

The KDD Fused Glass studio delights the eye with samples of items visitors could make.

When Kathi Dougherty opens the garage door of her Fort Collins home, guests are in for a treat.

Brightly colored glass sits on shelves and hangs from pegboards all around the walls.  The designs, the shapes, the mix of colors give new meaning to the expression eye candy. This is the KDD Fused Glass studio, where Kathi works and shares her passion with others.

Getting In on the Magic of Glass

Continue reading

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