Artisans in Winter: Where Do They Go?

These functional ceramics from Dot's Pots were on display at one of many booths during Loveland's Art in the Park in August of 2014.

These functional ceramics from Dot’s Pots were on display at one of many booths during Loveland’s Art in the Park in August of 2014.

If you have been following Handmade on the Front Range for a few months, you may have noticed a dramatic drop in events listed under “What’s Happening” in the right side bar since late December. Usually that section shows artisan events coming up in the next seven days. Currently it shows events for the month – or it would be bare. If I’ve missed something coming up this month, be sure to let me know in comments!

I’m constructing a new calendar of events for you, and I’d like your feedback. More on that in a moment. First, here’s an interesting question to consider:

How do artisans spend these seemingly quiet winter months?

While I reminisce in pictures of last summer’s art festivals, I’ll share with you some of the things artisans have told me recently. Some of their winter activities are pretty normal: getting warm in Mexico, fighting off flu, taking care of a family member after surgery. A few artisans are making adjustments on their websites – or at least working with someone who can.

But there’s a lot more going on than that.

How DO Artisans Spend the Winter?

It's A Zoo at the Firefly Handmade Market in Boulder in 2014

Pat Abbitt talks with a customer at her booth during the Firefly Handmade Market in Boulder last summer. Pat sells quilted stuffed animals under the name It’s A Zoo.

Some have their hands full with commissioned work – an enviable circumstance during this lull in festivals and shows.

Others are getting ready for the big home shows if their handcrafted work fits into home building and remodeling plans. Next week on the blog you will see an example of what I mean.

Several are teaching classes. Heather Bartmann and Cindy O’Neill, for instance, share their know-how in ceramics classes at the Pottery Studio, owned and operated by the City of Fort Collins.  Meanwhile, Chris Wolff teaches at the Northern Colorado Potters’ Guild. Chris has new classes starting in early March; classes at the Pottery Studio start later in March. All three of these ceramic artists were featured in a post on August 27, 2014.  Many artisans do teach their craft, I’ve discovered, including those who will be featured on the blog over the next three weeks.

Blackbird in Birch at Fort Collins Winter Farmers' Market

Eric McPhail set up his wood art at the Fort Collins Winter Farmers’ Market on February 14. He sells his work under the name Blackbird in Birch.

A few artisans sell their work at winter farmers’ markets, held in a few cities along the Front Range. I counted five artisans at Saturday’s market at Opera Galleria in Fort Collins, including Eric McPhail, whose work is pictured at right. The setting, the music, the amiable vendors, and the colorful mix of fresh and prepared foods infected my husband and me with good cheer. Click here if you would like to see upcoming dates in Fort Collins. For other winter markets, search for “winter farmers’ market + your city.”

Other artisans go to huge trade shows where they connect with gallery owners like Katie Friedland and Mandy Moscatelli from Denver’s Show of Hands. Katie and Mandy were in New York recently and arranged to carry 15 new lines of handcrafted art. I’m fully expecting a photo parade of new things on their gallery’s Facebook page over the next few months.

Trimble Court Artisans in October 2014

Artisans at Trimble Court dismantled all their displays so the co-operative could undergo renovation this month. This photo was taken in October 2014.

Almost 60 artisans cleared their things out of their co-operative at Trimble Court in Fort Collins. Trimble Court is undergoing major renovations, including new flooring, fresh paint, and an additional wall for better displays of members’ work. Manager Jill Popplewell told me that six layers of old flooring were peeled off to reach the subfloor of this historic building. One of the layers included Fort Collins newspapers from 1925 that noted the city’s population as 16,000. (The population has increased almost tenfold in the 90 years since then.)

By the end of this month, Trimble Court’s artisans will be restocking their new display areas. The co-operative’s grand reopening will take place on March 6, during the First Friday Gallery Walk. Take a look at the calendar below for this and other monthly walks in art districts along the Front Range.

A Calendar for the Year Ahead

To make it easier for you to put art festivals and other artisan events on your calendar, I’ll soon be adding a new page to this website. First, however, I would love to hear your comments on the format and whether there are changes that would make it more helpful to you. I’ll still give reminders in the right side bar each week under “What’s Happening.”

Suppose the calendar below showed all the events I know of through the end of the year. (Below is just a sample from March through May.) Do you think you would click on a new page that gives you that information? At the end of each month, I’m planning to drop from the list the month that has just passed so there is less to scroll through.

Please click “reply” at the top left of this post, under the title. Don’t forget to tell me about any events of interest that I may not have listed in March through May.

By the way, the links below will be more helpful once the event organizers have their websites up to date for the festival season. Right now they’re busy calling for entries from artists and artisans. That’s one more thing artisans do in winter — they apply for summer’s shows and festivals!


First Friday 6-9pm                              NoBo Art District                                                        BOULDER     except January and July

Old Colorado City First Friday Art Walk                                                               COLORADO SPRINGS except January through March

First Friday Art Walk                         six art districts                                                                   DENVER   free guided shuttles, except January and February, for Art District on Santa Fe and Golden Triangle Museum District

First Friday Gallery Walk                   Old Town                                                                FORT COLLINS

Third Friday Art Walk                       Art District on Santa Fe                                                       DENVER no shuttle service, smaller crowd than First Friday

The Sweet William Market                                                                                                           DENVER  last Saturday of the month, May through September

Art on the Streets                                                                                                  COLORADO SPRINGS     year-long display launches Thursday, June 18


Unique Boutique                                                                                                                   CENTENNIAL Friday and Saturday, March 27-28


Art Speak                                                                                                                                    BOULDER     Saturday, April 4

Grandmother’s House  Spring Boutique                                                                               GOLDEN Thursday through Saturday, April 9-11

Interweave Yarn Fest                                                                                                             LOVELAND Embassy Suites; $12 general admission                                                                                      Thursday through Sunday, April 16-19

2015 “Gathering of the Guilds”                                                                                               GOLDEN
The Colorado Arts & Crafts Society Artisans Guild Forum                                                                     at the Boettcher Mansion; $5 general admission                                                                        Sunday, April 26

Denver National Quilt Festival                                                                                                 DENVER Thursday through Saturday, April 30-May 2


Denver National Quilt Festival continues                                                                               DENVER   ends Saturday, May 2

Firefly Handmade Spring Market                                                                                           BOULDER Saturday and Sunday, May 2-3

Horseshoe Market                                                                                                                      DENVER         Saturday, May 9

Downtown Denver Arts Festival                                                                                                 DENVER Denver Performing Arts Complex, free admission                                                                          Friday through Sunday, May 22-24

ArtStir Denver                                                                                                                               DENVER Denver Pavilion                                                                                                                                 Saturday and Sunday, May 23-24                 children’s activities available

16th Annual Estes Park Art Market                                                                                      ESTES PARK Saturday through Monday, May 23-25

The French Nest Market                                                                                                    FORT COLLINS Saturday, May 30

Now that you have browsed through the calendar, please don’t forget to leave a comment!


4 thoughts on “Artisans in Winter: Where Do They Go?

  1. Carolyn

    I like the new calendar format a lot – very easy to read. If you are planning to keep the “What’s Happening?” section at the top, then I think it’s fine to have the entire year calendar on another page. 🙂 Thanks for the interesting insight into what artists do during winter – I figured they were busy doing something!

  2. Judy

    I, too, like the calendar format for the year and have already marked a couple of events on my calendar. I think it’s a good idea to put the calendar on a separate page, with a button at th end of th “upcoming events” sidebar that will take you to it.

    Thanks for doing this — it’s invaluable!

    1. Sally Post author

      Great idea, Judy, to have a button for the calendar page at the end of current events in the sidebar! Thanks!

Comments are closed.