GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Twenty years ago a couple of local artists began hosting "home shows" - art "boutiques" where friends, and friends of friends, could come view and purchase artwork in a comfortable home atmosphere, and where they could also enjoy refreshments and conversation with the artists.Ceramic artist Joanie Post and Connie Smith - who creates a variety of items - met at The Art Center Holiday Craft Fair where they talked about showing their work together at home.Two decades later, kids have grown, other artists have joined the "Spring Boutique," refreshments are served, and door prizes given."It's more relaxed than craft fairs," Post said. "The customers become our friends."Glass bead maker and jeweler Mary Lou Doak joined the Spring Boutique six years ago, and this year, artists Renee Herring and Connie Robbins-Brady will be there for the first time with their wares. An art major in college, Post quit her job when her kids were young to stay home with them and make art. For seven years she created porcelain clay jewelry, and then in 1992, began focusing on functional claywork - bowls, mugs, pitchers, cups and platters."It's fun to take a 25-pound bag of clay and see what I can make out of it. It's always growing and changing," she said. Post's clayworks can be found in galleries in Albuquerque, Steamboat Springs, Moab, Winter Park, Cedaredge, Georgetown and at the Working Artists Gallery on Main Street in Grand Junction. Doak, who grew up in Glenwood Springs, often bought Post's pottery at a gallery that used to be there."I knew Joanie's pottery before I knew Joanie," Doak said.Doak said she's always marketed her glass bead work via home shows. "A lot of times people want to see your studio," Doak said. And then in the other room they see the "beautiful, finished work." Doak also works with precious metal clays and with the glass beads makes necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Additionally, she sells fine blown glass ornaments made by her business partner.Smith learned to paint designs on clothing from her sister who needed help one day with a home business. Smith enjoyed the artwork, so when her sister decided to go back to work outside the home, the two switched wardrobes and Smith stayed home to do art.Smith often draws spirals, leaves, lizards or abstract drawings on her shirts, some of which are sold at Grand Valley Books on Main Street.Smith's current passion is collage. She makes clocks, barrettes, pendants, earrings, paperweights, bookmarks, business card and checkbook holders, and decorated journals - all of which will be for sale at the Spring Boutique."I look forward to this every year," Smith said. "I start working hard in January."Herring and Robbins-Brady will add to the show painted switch plates, scarves and decorative gourds.There's also a "bargain back porch" where the artists give deals on pieces they're ready to move on."It's a nice time to catch up with people," Doak said. "We've had some stay the whole afternoon."The public is always invited."We have a loyal following," Smith said.
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