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Out on a whim

April E. Clark
Arts and Entertainment Contributor

Post Independent file photo
Staff Photo |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — When the Whimsical Women of the West artists descend on the Four Mile Bed and Breakfast each May, the scene is as picture-perfect as a movie set.

The aroma of spring flowers wafts in the air.

Handcrafted art, pottery, quilts, jellies, flowers and a host of other items are displayed.

And, of course, there’s whimsy.

“I was invited to join several years ago and of course thrilled to join up with this group of women — whimsical is my niche after all,” said Glenwood Springs artist Linda Drake. “It’s especially fun to have our spring show at such a picturesque setting. You get to do the nice drive up Four Mile and then turn by that beautiful red barn, and you have arrived.”

In year 10, the Whimsical Women of the West spring art show has been hosted at the Four Mile B&B, 6471 County Road 117, for the last five years. This year’s event runs from 4-9 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18, and features 22 artisans and craftswomen of all genres.

“It’s a really good group, a creative group,” artist Sharill Hawkins said. “There’s a nice mix. It goes from homemade jams and jellies and fine pottery to a lot of fiber art, recycled art and container plants.”

Hawkins, who owns the rustic B&B on the way up to Sunlight Mountain Report with her husband, Jim, said the couple enjoys the return of the Whimsical Women each year.

“We love having it here. Jim is very patient with us women,” she said. “By spring, many of the artists have been working alone in their studios for so many months and everybody’s just ready to show their things.”

This year’s theme is “Gypsy,” through the suggestion of Kelley Cox, a New Castle found-objects artist and award-winning Post Independent photographer from New Castle.

“I like the word ‘gypsy,’” Hawkins said. “We’re always scrounging around looking for little trinkets and treasures. One of the ladies even makes jams and jellies from wild berries she finds.”

Incorporating the gypsy theme into her own cooking presentation at noon Saturday, Hawkins will demonstrate her culinary skills using fresh herbs found in various alpine locales.

“Like gypsies, we’re all kind of like scavengers,” she said. “I’m always picking wild things or picking herbs from the garden to use when I cook.”

Drake will be selling her popular kitchen towels graced with whimsical art at the show. A portion of the proceeds from sales benefits Wilderness Workshop, specifically to help the nonprofit conservation watchdog group protect the Thompson Divide backcountry area southwest of Carbondale from oil and gas development.

“It’s a good choice,” Hawkins said. “A lot of the artists are affected by the Thompson Divide issue, and there’s much more work to be done to protect that area.”

Drake said she looks forward to catching up with her fellow Whimsical Women of the West artisans, who also hosted a winter show at Third Street Center in Carbondale last December.

“I just love this outdoor setting, and I’ll be outside with some other artists in booths,” Drake said. “I’ve done some new designs plus some one-of-a-kind mixed media pieces to offer as well. My friend Joyce Webb will also be selling her beautiful pottery, and she always is doing something new and wonderful. We have some new artists this year which always is great fun to check out.”

In keeping with the theme, Drake said the Whimsical Women artists will don gypsy threads. The Four Mile B&B will serve appetizers, and Hawkins said the atmosphere will be festive.

“We’ll have a fire out front where people can congregate and talk,” she said. “The show just fits the venue so well.”


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