Galleries, craft fairs in high holiday gear |

Galleries, craft fairs in high holiday gear

April E. Clark
Arts and Entertainment Contributor
Judy Astin, of New Country Creations, poses in front of her essential oils and handmade soaps. She is one of 28 artists presenting in the 25th annual Winterfest. Behind her, Cindy Mehus's "Tutu Barrett Holders" for children.
Contributed Photo |

ROARING FORK VALLEY — When artist Jessica Kidd was handcrafting her silver jewelry for the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts Winterfest exhibit, she thought of family.

And the holidays.

“I love the family aspect of the holidays. Being around friends and family is really what it’s all about,” Kidd said. “Making jewelry is a way of contributing to that. What better way to add to the holidays than to ornament yourself and those you love?”

Kidd recalled her grandfather, a jeweler she lovingly referred to as PopPop, who became her inspiration in becoming an artist.

“He passed away in 1986, and I inherited his equipment,” she said. “I didn’t start to use it until I was out of college, and once I took my first class I was hooked.”

Kidd decided to continue her grandfather’s craft after college graduation in 2001 by signing up for jewelry-making classes at the Center for the Arts.

“I actually took my very first class here at the art center and took off running, taking classes wherever I could find them and expanding my skill set,” she said. “I really got into forging and anticlastic raising as an artistic style at first, with my inspirations being Michael Goode and Jerry Scavezze.”

She describes her original silver designs as contemporary and organic, another show of influence by her grandfather.

“His jewelry was very southwestern. We have Cherokee from his side of the family and that influence came through in his work,” she said. “But the concept that you could make real jewelry was very impressive when I was a small child. I’ve always liked elegant lines and more minimalist styling. I have no idea where that came from.”

Kidd said she enjoys sharing her art with others, and teaching the creative process, as she continues the family tradition.

“Being able to express myself in a way that is productive is an incredible experience. As is teaching classes that help others find their creative outlets and get inspired,” Kidd said. “I love watching people get sparked to create their own works. This January will mark my 10th year of teaching silversmithing classes at the Center for the Arts.”

Along with Kidd’s silver work, the Winterfest features children’s tutus, essential oils and handmade soaps, painted glassware, pottery, knitted goods and glass sculpture. The holiday-themed exhibit and sale runs through Dec. 21.

“It’s such a great small-town venue, and we have a great assortment of work from local artists,” Kidd said. “There’s of course jewelry from other artists that is absolutely beautiful. Oh, and we’re collaborating with Grand Ave. Sweets, so you can get goodies to nibble on, too.”

Deck the Walls

Family tradition also played a role in Aspen artist Lisa Dresback’s line of handmade jewelry cases featured at Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities’ R2 Gallery through Dec. 24.

Her early influence was none other than her mother.

“She is so creative and has never been afraid to try something new to solve a problem and make it work,” Dresback said.

Her LiLi-D’s jewelry wraps are being sold as holiday gifts to help organize and store jewelry such as rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Dresback said her mom originally sparked the idea that has now taken off at local craft fairs with success.

“My mom made me one when I was a teenager, and I still use it,” she said. “I always thought it was a brilliant design and a special way to keep your jewelry organized.”

Dresback’s functional jewelry cases are designed specifically to prevent tangling and scratching of delicate items using fabric such as velvet and micro-suede in the interior.

“It is a unique take on a vintage design that makes a great thoughtful gift,” she said. “People enjoy not having their necklaces tangled.”

She said sharing her mother’s updated design and creative craft at CCAH’s Deck the Halls exhibit and sale is a prime example of how the nonprofit arts organization supports local artists.

“I simply love CCAH. I am amazed at how connected they are in the community and the best things that go on here,” she said. “They support local artists and creativity in so many ways, and they have astounding reciprocal support from a very involved community.”

Dresback said shopping locally during the holidays has a positive impact on artists like her who enjoy sharing their work within the community.

“I love to see people appreciating and supporting local art, choosing unique, heart-crafted gifts for their loved ones,” Dresback said. “While you are contributing to the local economy you are also supporting someone’s passion. I love the broad spectrum of arts you will find at Deck the Walls. You can find something for anyone on your list.”

A holiday invite

Potter Jill Oberman is hoping the shop local theme resonates with visitors to the Carbondale Clay Center gallery through Dec. 23. The nonprofit working gallery’s Holiday Invitational, which opened on November’s First Friday, features more than 30 local and national artists.

“We will have functional pottery and small ceramic sculptures available for sale,” said Oberman, Carbondale Clay Center’s executive director.

Oberman said the shoppers can peruse the center’s wide variety of handmade cups, bowls, plates, vases, pitchers, cream and sugar sets, ceramic jewelry, small sculptures and more.

“Most of our artists in the Holiday Invitational are local this year,” she said.

The Holiday Invitational includes pottery by local artists such as Carbondale Clay Center founding director Diane Kenney, advisory board member Doug Casebeer, and residents Staci DeBolt, Matthew Eames, Kendra Sparks and Mike Stumbras.

“By shopping at the Clay Center you will be able to both find a special, one-of-a-kind handmade gift for your loved ones, or for yourself, while supporting our local community artists,” Oberman said.

The Carbondale Clay Center will continue the holiday gifting spirit on Friday, Dec. 6, with its 16th annual Benefit Cup Auction, a well-attended fundraiser that coincides with the season.

“Our cup auction gains more momentum and popularity every year, and is very well-attended, drawing many discriminating collectors and supporters,” Oberman said. “Your participation benefits the center’s year-round, educational and gallery programs, and helps to support our mission, striving to achieve awareness of the ceramic arts by building community through diverse clay-related activities, accessible to all. We could not do this without your help.”

Oberman said young artists can celebrate the season with Carbondale Clay Center’s kids-only holiday sale and ornament decorating party from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12.

“Only kids can shop and must be accompanied by an adult to participate,” she said. “This sale is perfect for finding gifts for parents, teachers, grandparents and babysitters. While your kids shop, there will also be a holiday ornament decorating station for kids and adults of all ages.”

Once again proving art is a family affair in the Roaring Fork Valley.

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