Monthly Archives: March 2015

Goldworks: A Showcase for New Technology and Old World Skills in Jewelry Design and Fabrication

Goldworks on Old Town Square in Fort Collins, Colorado

Goldworks, owned by jewelry designer Tom Linenberger and his wife Sandy, sits along the north side of Old Town Square in Fort Collins. (Photo provided by Goldworks)

Along the north side of Old Town Square in Fort Collins sits Goldworks, owned by Tom and Sandy Linenberger and filled with fine jewelry designed and created by Tom and fellow artisan Mark Videan.

Tom and Mark met in 1994 at a trade show in Denver. They had come from different Midwestern states to check out the CAD (computer-assisted-design) programs available for jewelry designers. Their enthusiasm for the same design program sparked a long-lasting friendship. Tom opened Goldworks in Fort Collins four years ago. A year later, he convinced Mark to join him.

Mixing Technology and Tradition

White gold ring by Tom Linenberger

This  ring design shown in white gold was created by Tom Linenberger at Goldworks in Fort Collins. (Photo provided by Goldworks)

Both Tom and Mark are still enthusiastic about using a CAD program to make sure they produce what their customers expect. Before CAD, they couldn’t always be certain that a customer completely understood their drawn design. With a CAD program, however, they can turn their design in every direction to show the customer every aspect of it.

Once the customer agrees to a design – a particular ring, for example — the CAD program guides the milling machine that creates a wax version of the ring. Before they used CAD, Tom and Mark sculpted the ring out of wax by hand. Now the computer gives them a perfect wax form and frees their time for other creative work. Continue reading

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Wari Designs Offers Peruvian-Style Jewelry Handmade in Colorado

Handmade Peruvian jewelry by Edú Muñoz

Edú Muñoz uses a variety of metals in his jewelry  for Wari Designs.

Wandering through the booths at The French Nest Market in Fort Collins last July, I discovered the handmade Peruvian jewelry of Edú Muñoz. Dozens of earrings hung on felt boards. Necklaces and bracelets filled tables all around the booth.

Edú was no stranger to open air markets. He had put himself through veterinary school in Peru by selling his jewelry in parks and beside streets. Nonetheless, he hung back the day I met him, letting his wife Lindsay Saperstone, a CSU graduate born and raised in Fort Collins, greet customers and answer their questions.

The jewelry that they were selling under the name Wari Designs was astoundingly intricate and very reasonably priced. Lindsay explained that Edú uses an alloy made of copper and zinc and a small amount of nickel to make affordable jewelry with a silver tone.

Seven months later, I learned more about Wari Designs when I visited Lindsay and Edú at their home in Denver. Continue reading

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Jukebox Quilts: On the Cutting Edge of Quilting

Second in a two-part series on ways quilting has been changing in the 21st century

Monochromatic quilt designed by Kelly Abbott-Gallagher

This monochromatic quilt designed by Kelly Gallagher-Abbott hangs on a wall at Jukebox Quilts in Fort Collins.

Quilting hobbyists who frequent Jukebox Quilts have choices beyond our grandmothers’ dreams. They can purchase a small machine that cuts perfect shapes from fabric six layers at a time.  They have access to a computer-guided machine that can appliqué and embroider complex designs. Other machines, also computer-guided, can complete the quilting process by stitching elaborate patterns through fabric and batting.

Freed from the mechanics of quilting, they have more time to experiment with color and design. I admired the creativity, artistry, and technical know-how that I witnessed in my recent visits to Jukebox Quilts, where eye-catching quilts hang on the walls and over railings.

Kelly Gallagher-Abbott, owner of Jukebox Quilts, designed the monochromatic quilt, above right, using a computer program similar to Adobe Illustrator. The computer then guided the quilting machine as it stitched the design. The silk and cotton blend makes the quilt shimmer when you’re viewing it in person.

Taking advantage of all the mechanization could be quite an investment, but Jukebox Quilts makes it easy to try the technology by renting time on equipment right on site. Located in a historic building at 406 North College Avenue in Fort Collins, the shop is a mix of colorful fabrics, heavy wooden beams and stairs, and cutting edge technology. At the top of the stairs is a jukebox that Kelly acquired for fun. Beyond it is a scene unlike any I had ever encountered before my first visit to the store. Continue reading

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Barbara Yates Beasley Turns Fabric into Fine Art

First in a two-part series on ways quilting has been changing in the 21st century

"Beauty of the Beasts," fiber art by Barbara Yates Beasley

“Beauty of the Beasts” by Barbara Yates Beasley hung in the Lincoln Center during Fiber Celebration 2014 in Fort Collins.

A year ago, “Beauty of the Beasts” hung in the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins during Fiber Celebration 2014. Standing in front of it, I marveled at the gorilla’s deep-set eyes and powerful shoulder and head. How had the artist created such a picture with fabric? I marveled and moved on.

Two months ago while exploring the NoBo Art District’s website (NoBo: North Boulder), I saw “Beauty of the Beasts” again – the digital version. The massive blue gorilla had been unforgettable. Now I could seize the opportunity to connect with the artist and find out how she makes a quilted picture – if she was willing to share her secret. Continue reading

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