Artist Spotlight: Sharill Hawkins
Sharill Hawkins runs the Four Mile Creek Bed and Breakfast with her husband, Jim. A lifelong artist and integral part of many local organizations, Sharill spends her downtime gardening and making jewelry out of classic tins. She recently took some time to share her journey with the Post Independent, while Jim, himself a musician and artist, will be featured next week.
PI: Tell us a bit about your background.
SH: I’m from a little town in Iowa. My dad ran a grocery store, and my mom was a painter. They met in Chicago, and when she came to Iowa she started teaching art classes. That’s probably where my interest in the art fields came from.
PI: How did it manifest?
SH: I always liked to be the one who set up the decorations for prom or this and that. I also had really good art teachers for such a teenie town. I was always busy doing something art related. My first little art show I remember making sand candles and hanging them in an apple tree in the front yard to sell them. I was about 10 or 12.
PI: Did you ever consider another calling?
SH: I knew pretty early on that I wanted to major in art in college, even though everyone wanted me to go to engineering school. I think they thought it would be cool to have a girl in engineering school, but it was the last thing I wanted to do. It was 1972, and it was the first year they even let women in the Iowa State Marching Band. I ended up being an art education and crafts design major with a focus on jewelry making. My mom told me once not to go into commercial art because my drawing wasn’t quite strong enough, but she was happy with what I did. I later taught in Iowa, and she actually taught a painting class for me.
PI: How did you come to Colorado?
SH: My first husband graduated from college and had an opportunity to either work in Denver or Madison. It was 1978, the year they cut most of the art teachers in the Denver Public School system. I ended up getting a job doing display work for the old Denver Department Store, which I absolutely loved. I kept selling my art and got into Mountain Fair back in the early ’80s and got best of show in Crested Butte one year. I also got involved in a cooperative art and crafts gallery in Cherry Creek North. That’s how I met Jim.
PI: When did you start the style of jewelry you currently sell?
SH: I kind of stopped doing jewelry when we first moved up here 19 years ago because we were just so busy. Then I discovered I had a copper allergy, so I kind of needed to get away from all the grinding and soldering and polishing. It was about the time you started to see all the upcycled artwork, so I decided to make jewelry out of something. I discovered that with tins I could use my same equipment and have color to work with. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had. It gives us an excuse to go to every thrift store when we’re on vacation.
PI: What’s next?
SH: The jewelry I will continue to do. I’ve been wanting to draw more, maybe to defy my mom who told me I couldn’t. I love pastels, and I want to learn how to do graphics on the computer. There’s always projects everywhere.
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