Category Archives: Other

The Blog: A Completed Project

When the blog became a year old in August, people asked me how long I expected to continue. My answer: indefinitely. And so it was a surprise to me when in October I had an inner sense that it was time to move on. I had started the blog for fulfillment, and I realized I had become filled full — delightfully so — even though there were more artisans on my list to interview.

I want to acknowledge my daughter Lisa Gumerman, a web developer who encouraged me to write a blog, directed me to the information and workshops I needed, and customized aspects of the free WordPress theme “Twenty Twelve” for me.

Many thanks to all the artisans who have enriched my life immeasurably by sharing the secrets of their work. It has been a fabulous experience. Below they are listed by category of their craft but in no particular order; several belong in more than one category but are listed only once. Each one taught me something unique.

Please keep their work in mind as you complete your holiday shopping. Several have store fronts, as do artisan aficionados Katie Friedland, Mandy Moscatelli, and Lisa Gibson. The shops, their owners, and their locations appear below the list of artisans.

The Artisans

Ceramics                                                                                                                                                 Susan Sternlieb                                          Slumping                                                                              Cindy O’Neill and Heather Bartmann    Wheel throwing, glazing, and firing                                        Chris Wolff                                                  Wheel throwing, clay selection, and raku                              Diana Begner                                              Crystalline glazes                                                                      Kristin Gruenberger                                   Playful design                                                                            Steve and Jane Fry                                     Making your own clay

Fabric and Fiber                                                                                                                                              Kay Dudek                                                  Felting wool for jewelry, sculpture, and pictures                  Anne Phillips                                              Felting alpaca wool for evening wear fabric                          Una Walker                                                Hooking wool yarn                                                                      Alice Waterson                                          Weaving                                                                                        Kimber Baldwin                                        Spinning                                                                                      David Johnson                                          Tapestry weaving                                                                      Becky Margenau                                      Temari                                                                                            Kelly Gallagher-Abbott                            Long-arm quilting                                                                        Barbara Yates Beasley                            Fine art quilts                                                                              Phillippa Lack                                            Silk painting                                                                                  Fran Bowen                                               Needle felting for small figures                                                Mickey Ramirez                                       Wet felting wool of Jacob sheep for hats                                Kristin McMahan                                      Upcycling old linen into dresses for little girls                        Holly Myers                                               Handstitching animals of wool felt                                          Pat Abbitt                                                   Quilting stuffed animals                                                            Megan Tilley                                              Weaving with fiber, wire, and glass                                Anne Bossert                                            Fiber art by commission

Glass                                                                                                                                                         Kathi Dougherty                                         Fused glass                                                                                 Dottie Boscamp                                          Blown glass                                                                         Gayle Stringer                                             Glass beads  (lampworking)                                                     Karen Cannon and Anne Meier-Davis    Stained glass                                                                      Mary Barron                                               Fused glass

Jewelry                                                                                                                                                              Jacki Marsh                                                 Beads from around the world and back in time                   Jennie Milner                                              Silver and resin                                                                       Heidi Gore                                                  Selling beads, making jewelry, teaching the craft               Allison Freeman and Dana Biebel          Steampunk                                                                               Edú Muñoz                                                 Peruvian design                                                                         Carrie Lambert                                          Crocheting with wire and beads                                       Ryan Gardner                                            Gemstones and silver                                                                 Tom Linenberger and Mark Videan       Gold, silver, and gemstones

Metal                                                                                                                                                               Larry Pryor                                                 Copper wind art and sculpture                                               Carey Hosterman                                      Bronze sculpture

Wood                                                                                                                                                              Dave and Ellen Kisker                              Marquetry                                                                                 Mike Wilkinson                                         Multi-colored functional objects                                               Jamie Lauren                                            Upcycled furniture                                                                       Aaron Nuland                                           Toys                                                                                               Jennifer Kalous                                         Upcycled furniture                                                                       Anne Bossert                                            Furniture in original designs

Other Crafts                                                                                                                                                    Tiffany Miller Russell                               Fine art paper sculpture                                                              Jeff Icenhower                                         Leather from the arts and crafts movement

The Shops

Here are places you can shop up to the last minute. Shops are listed from north to south.

Jukebox Quilts                           Fort Collins              owned by Kelly Gallagher-Abbott                           Kelly makes and displays art quilts, but her store’s specialty is providing everything people need who are inspired to do the same.

Trimble Court Artisans             Fort Collins            an artisan cooperative                                           All of the artisans who sell work here have responsibilities at the store. Here you can find work by these artists featured on the blog: Mike Wilkinson, Becky Margenau, Fran Bowen, and Chris Wolff.

Goldworks                                  Fort Collins             owned by Tom Linenberger                                    Tom and fellow artisan Mark Videan sell the fine jewelry they design and create from Tom’s store on Old Town Square.

Bead Cache                                 Fort Collins            owned by Heidi Gore                                                Heidi sells the jewelry she makes as well as a wide assortment of beads and supplies for making your own.

Medeiros Music                         Loveland                 owned by Mike Medeiros                                        Mike has a variety of handmade stringed instruments to choose from, some of which I had never seen until I walked into his store.

Rabbask Designs                       Loveland                 owned by Jacki Marsh                                              Jacki sells not only her jewelry but the jewelry of several artisans at her store. She carries many other types of locally handmade art as well, some functional, some just lovely.

Rocky Mountain Bronze Shop  Loveland                owned by Carey Hosterman                                  In front of his studio Carey has a display room where you can buy small bronze art.

Evergreen Gallery                      Evergreen                owned by Lisa Gibson                                         This privately owned gallery carries a wide variety of art and handmade goods, all from Colorado artists and artisans.

Show of Hands                            Denver                    owned by K. Friedland and M. Moscatelli            Katie and Mandy are devoted gallery owners who carry handmade goods from Colorado and around the country.

Please think “handmade” whenever you’re shopping for a special gift — and have a beautiful holiday season.

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Tiffany Miller Russell Captures Wildlife in Paper

A segment of Anuran Cathedrals, a paper sculpture and collage by Tiffany Miller Russell

“Anuran Cathedrals,” a paper sculpture collage by Tiffany Miller Russell, appeared at the 2015 Governor’s Show in Loveland, Colorado. This segment of the  9″x 20″ work is used with permission of T. Miller Russell.

A love of nature, attention to detail, and infinite patience underlie the art of Tiffany Miller Russell, a wildlife artist in Broomfield, Colorado. Her medium: paper.

Most of the color that you see in her work comes from the paper she selects. That includes the orange stripe on the frog’s back and the thin gills under the mushroom caps in this abbreviated image of her sculpted collage “Anuran Cathedrals.”

The variety of colors along the mushroom stems comes from applying soft pastel dust and  contrasting torn papers to a long piece cut the shape of the stem. As for the gills, Tiffany cut them with a craft knife (more commonly known as an X-Acto knife). They’re actually one continuous piece of paper the size of each mushroom cap.

The gills don’t  look connected to each other because Tiffany has curled back the edge of the caps, true to the character of Xerula mushrooms. The stems look round because she gently bent the paper to look that way.

Unlike a two-dimensional collage, “Anuran Cathedrals” consists of multiple layers softly sculpted and set off from each other. Small blocks of foam core, covered with paper for camouflage, hold the various elements of her composition at varying depths from the paper background.  To see the image of it is a pleasure; to stand in front of it is a jaw-dropping experience.

The Birth of a Paper Animal

Sketches by Tiffany Miller Russell in preparation for paper sculpture

Tiffany Miller Russell sketches an animal in increasing levels of complexity before attempting to create it as a paper sculpture.

Tiffany’s work begins with sketches — lots of them. She studies photographs of the animal she wants to create and makes a series of drawings, adding more details as she proceeds. She visits the zoo and studies the animal’s attitude and how it moves; then she makes more drawings based on her impressions.

When she is satisfied with a drawing at last, Tiffany scans it into her computer and prints it. Over the computer print-out she lays tracing paper lightly sprayed with adhesive on one side. The adhesive holds the paper in place while she traces the part of the body she will cut first. Even more importantly, it holds the tracing paper in place while she cuts the first piece of her collage.

“I use a craft knife for ninety-nine percent of my cutting,” Tiffany told me. That means that her paper lies flat on a cutting mat while she painstakingly retraces a shape with the point of her knife. She finds she gets the best results with Excel blades, which look just like X-Acto blades.

Paper sculpture in progress by Tiffany Miller Russell

Three pieces of paper make up the coils of this snake, a work in progress by Tiffany Miller Russell.

Tiffany worked on one of her limited-edition sculptures while she shared her artistic process with me. She had sponge-painted a white textured paper to use as snake skin. After cutting out the piece that looks like a U in the drawing, she scored it along the line that makes the U look three-dimensional. Holding the edges between her thumbs and forefingers, she slowly bent the paper where she had scored it and all along the edges.

She followed the same procedure to prepare the piece that lies inside the U.

Gluing came next. The adhesive: an acrylic glue that’s acid-free and tacky. The applicator: a toothpick. Tiffany applied a fine line of glue on the underside of the paper where the two pieces would meet. A pair of craft tweezers helped her align the pieces precisely. In the picture above, a third piece lies on the left outer edge, still in need of sculpting and gluing.

In the upper left-hand corner of Tiffany’s website, you can see what the finished work will look like. Well, almost. Tiffany may make up to 20 versions of a limited-edition work, but she selects different paper for each. Many of her works, like “Anuran Cathedrals,” are one of a kind.

Before her compositions are finished, Tiffany can hold her paper animals separately from the rest of the composition — like the sandhill crane below.

Sandhill crane paper collage and sculpture by Tiffany Russell Miller

Tiffany Miller Russell cut, curved, and glued countless pieces of paper to create the feathers and structure of this sandhill crane.

Countless pieces of paper, meticulously cut, curled, and positioned, give the crane color, depth, and complexity. Tiffany and I counted 15 pieces of paper in the head and neck alone. Even the tiny eye consists of three pieces.

Paper-Paper-Paper

Commercial art paper in Tiffany's collection

A wide variety of papers fill the drawers in the studio of artist Tiffany Miller Russell.

As Tiffany opened drawers in her studio to show me her paper collection, my eyes enjoyed a proverbial feast.

There were marbled papers and iridescent papers; smooth papers, textured papers, and handmade papers; sheets that draped like fabric and sheets with holes like lace.

They’re a source of inspiration to her, Tiffany told me. Often a paper’s color and design will give her an idea for a project.

When Tiffany selects a paper like those pictured here, she chooses the area very carefully where she will cut. She moves her tracing paper pattern over the paper, turning it this way and that until the colors and lines below it give the effect she wants.

Her favorite places to buy art paper are Meininger and Guiry’s, both locally owned art stores. Tiffany is no paper snob, however. In addition to commercial art papers, she keeps a sizable collection of scrapbooking papers in a multitude of colors and patterns.

Current Projects, Upcoming Shows

Paper sculpture of female hummingbird by Tiffany Miller Russell

“Magnificent” features a male hummingbird, a paper sculpture  by Tiffany Miller Russell.

Tiffany is working on her second hummingbird. When it’s complete, she will have a male and a female to hang side by side. A single foam core block, covered with the same paper as the background, holds the completed bird aloft, as if it were truly in flight.

I first saw Tiffany’s work at the 2015 Governor’s Show in Loveland. Her next public show will be in February. Niza Knoll Gallery in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe will display award winners from the 2015 Summer Art Market.

You can learn more about Tiffany’s work and the ideas that inspire her on her website at www.wildlifeinpaper.com.

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Leather Craftsman Jeff Icenhower Finds a New Direction in the Arts and Crafts Movement

Walk into the workshop of most master leather workers and you will find belts, holsters, and any number of items used while riding the range of the American West. Jeff Icenhower’s workshop was no exception five years ago, when Jeff turned his longtime hobby into a business. Before long, however, friends in the Colorado Arts & Crafts Society stirred his interest in the leather work of the Arts and Crafts movement.

leather clock by Jeff Icenhower

This leather clock by Jeff Icenhower follows the style of the Arts and Crafts movement that began more than a century ago.

Jeff studied everything he could find about the movement. It started in England in the 19th century, he told me, as a revolt against the impersonal character of industrial production. William Morris, the icon of the Arts and Crafts movement, championed fine craftsmanship, simple form, and motifs found in nature. The mantel clock Jeff made (pictured above) exemplifies Morris’s points. Continue reading

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Back to the Beginning: A Look at 2014

Blog logo by Lisa J. Gumerman

Handmade on the Front Range finishes the year with its 22nd post. Blog logo by Lisa J. Gumerman

“I love your blog – I just haven’t had a chance to read the last post.”

I’ve heard that more than once from various people, especially during this holiday season. So if you’re one of those who might have said that – or if you’re one of those who started following the blog in the last couple of months – here’s your chance to catch up.

I’ve compiled a list of all the posts that have come out since “Handmade on the Front Range” began the first week of August, 2014. A few words give you the idea of what you might have missed. Just click on the date and enjoy!

December 24           Do You See What I See?
Scroll through photos you haven’t seen before that were taken when I wrote previous posts. They didn’t quite fit the content of the original post, but they’re great fun.

December 17           J.C. Milner Metalworks: Serious Work, Playful Art.
Jennie Milner designs and creates whimsical jewelry using sterling silver, often with resin or copper to add color. Jennie also puts her zany art on walls by commission and in mail by subscription.

December 10           A Holiday Surprise: Scones Handmade on the Front Range
Not the blog’s usual fare. I offered my secrets to making and enjoying light, tender scones at 5,000 feet.

December 3              Wool Warms the Heart at Fran Bowen’s Studio
Fran Bowen uses a dry felting process to create adorable animals and other figures from wool. Her custom work has included dogs smaller than your hand to commemorate beloved pets.

November 26           Words of Thanksgiving, Pictures of Christmas
Published the day before Thanksgiving, this post acknowledges you — my reader — and others who make this blog possible. It also kicked off the holidays with seasonal photos of artisan work.

November 19           From Sheep to Hat Rack, Mickey Ramirez Sees Spots
Mickey Ramirez makes felted wool hats with spots from the natural-colored wool of the spotted sheep she raises.

November 12           For Fun, Give Me a Show of Hands
Show of Hands is a gallery in Denver’s Cherry Creek North owned by Katie Friedland and Mandy Moscatelli. It carries the work of artisans in Colorado and beyond. This post ended a series of four on where to buy handmade items any day of the week.

November 5             The Evergreen Gallery – Making a Day of It
The Evergreen Gallery, owned by Lisa Gibson, offers not only beautiful work by Colorado artisans but also an opportunity for a day’s getaway in the mountains.

October 29               Rabbask Designs: Wher Art is Always in Fashion
Jacki Marsh stocks wearable art, wall art, and home décor at her Loveland shop, where almost everything is made by local artisans.

October 22               Trimble Court Artisans Offers Convenient Holiday Shopping . . .         
This was the first in the series about places where you can buy something made by an artisan anytime you want. Trimble Court, located in Fort Collins, is an artisans’ co-operative, where one of the artisans is always there to help you.

October 15               A Summer Afternon in Fort Collins Means Fun for Children . . .        Motivated by his desire to have affordable wooden toys for his own children, Aaron Nuland makes toys of natural-colored wood for infants and older. A Summer Afternoon is the name of his business.

October 8                 Kristin’s Clothes Line and The Pink Moose: Stories from Severance . . .
Kristin McMahan and Jennifer Kalous have at least two things in common: they both live in Severance, Colorado, and they both make handcrafted items by upcycling. Kristin turns pillowcases and dresser scarves into dresses for little girls. Jennifer creates furniture and home décor from every interesting previously used material she can find.

October 1                 Animals from HollysMeadow Help Imagination Run Free
Holly Myers creates animals, both real and mythical, using wool felt, embroidery floss, and her own patterns.

September 24          At Pat Abbitt’s Workshop It’s a Zoo
Pat Abbitt makes colorful stuffed animals with cotton quilting fabric. Numerous lines of stitching add dimension and depth to her work.

September 17         Glassblower Dottie Boscamp Gives a Modern Twist to an Ancient Art        Dottie Boscamp’s uses some of the tools that have been wielded by glassblowers for millennia to create her contemporary work.

September 10          The Bead Stringer: A Glass Act
Gayle Stringer creates necklaces, bracelets, and earrings from glass beads she painstakingly makes herself by the heat of a torch.

September 3            KDD Fused Glass: Where Science Works Magic
Kathi Dougherty shares her joy in making fused glass art by making her home studio available to the public. I tried the art myself and found the fusing process magical indeed.

August 27                 Transforming Clay from the Simple to the Sublime . . . 
Three ceramic artists in Fort Collins — Heather Bartmann and Cindy O’Neill of 2 Clay Chicks and Chris Wolff — shared some of the secrets of their work from clay to kiln.

August 20                 With Fiber, Wire, and Strips of Glass, Megan Tilley Weaves Her View . . . 
Megan Tilley decided to major in sculpture . . . but her first class in weaving hooked her on fiber art. As her artistry developed, she found ways to incorporate both fiber art and weaving with sculpture. She expanded her art even further by making jewelry.

August 13                 Handmade Furniture Takes a Woman’s Touch at Anne Bossert’s Studio
Anne Bossert was a fiber artist before she began making furniture to highlight the textiles she wove. Now she uses the same dyes to color both wood and fiber.

August 6                    Don’t Miss Fort Collins Studio Tour … Even If You Already Did
Fort Collins Studio Tour took place one weekend in June. This post explains how the tour worked and introduced the series about artisans I met on the tour. It also includes the first artisan I met: ceramic artist Susan Sternlieb.

Wow! That was fun to recall all the delightful, talented people I met and all the amazing work that I saw. I’m looking forward to a new year with many more. Have a happy one!

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Do You See What I See?

Great Pyrenees guard dog with Jacob sheep owned by Mickey Ramirez

Little Chief, a Great Pyrenees, watches over Jacob sheep owned by Mickey Ramirez and John Pierson.

It’s Christmas Eve 2014, and Little Chief, a Great Pyrenees, is watching over a flock of 15 Jacob sheep by day and night behind the home of Mickey Ramirez and her husband John Pierson. By the time the new year is well under way, the sheep will have eaten the needles off of at least one live Christmas tree. Mickey, who makes felted hats from the wool of her sheep, was featured in a post on November 19.

Here are a few more photos you haven’t seen that date back to previous posts.

Ceramic bowl by Chris Wolff

This ceramic bowl by Chris Wolff was broken purposely, spray painted, and glued back together.

Chris Wolff discovered that he could carefully break a fired piece of pottery, spray paint the pieces, and glue them back together to create a totally new look in pottery. He covers the interior with a waterproof coating. Chris was featured in a post in August, the first month that “Handmade on the Front Range” appeared on the web.

Functional ceramic bowl by T.S. Berger

A ceramic bowl by T.S. Berger can be used every day for food preparation and serving.

When I think about how a bowl like this spins on a wheel while the potter lets the clay pull up through his hands, I marvel at how even the sides are and how perfect the circle. T.S. Berger loaned me this bowl for photographing my scone-making earlier this month. Today you can see what the whole bowl looks like.

Cutting board of maple, cherry, and walnut by Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson of Fort Collins created this cutting board from cherry, walnut, and maple.

Mike Wilkinson loaned me this cutting board for the same post in which I used the bowl by T.S. Berger. A goal of mine for 2015: finding out how you make curved pieces of wood fit together perfectly with a smooth finished surface. When I find out, I’ll share the answer with you.

Neither Mike nor T.S. knew me before they loaned me their work. I’m always impressed by how artisans support each other in a business that could be fiercely competetive. In this case, I personally benefited from that spirit of cooperation. Thank you, Mike and T.S.

Glass bowls by Dottie Boscamp cool in a kiln.

Glass bowls newly blown by Dottie Boscamp cool gradually in a kiln.

Dottie Boscamp reduced the oxygen flow to her furnace (called a glory hole) while she was making the solid-colored glass bowls above. The increased concentration of carbon dioxide caused the silvery edges — although they look as if they have been touched with sterling silver. Dottie’s work appeared in a post in September.

Stuffed toy fish by Pat Abbitt

Pat Abbitt of Broomfield, Colorado, created this stuffed fish using quilting techniques.

Pat Abbitt’s use of color adds immeasurably to the quilted stuffed animals that she offers under the name Its A Zoo. I’ve enjoyed seeing some of her latest creations by following Its A Zoo on Facebook. Its A Zoo was featured in a post on September 24.

Art of Laura and Rick Bachman at Show of Hands, Denver

Show of Hands, Denver, offers the humorous work of Front Range artisans Laura and Rick Bachman.

Laura and Rick Bachman use animals and color to elicit smiles too, often using barnyard humor. Show of Hands in Denver (featured on November 12) had several of their clocks and pullies on display when I was there.

Sample colors of wood for projects by Anne Bossert

Anne Bossert keeps a supply of wood scraps for color samples her customers may choose from.

Anne Bossert, furniture maker and fiber artist, keeps a box of wood scraps to show customers some of the colors they could choose from. Anne and I collaborated on planning a project this year, and Anne carried out our planning with highly successful results. That project will be what you see here first in the new year. Anne was originally featured in the second post of “Handmade on the Front Range.”

If the holiday season has kept you too busy to read every post, you’ll have a chance to catch up next week. I’ll provide you with a summary of and links to all the blog’s posts in 2014.

Happy holidays!

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