Meet the Artists
Sara Ann Aerts
Sara Ann is a passionate woman from Wrightstown, Wisconsin. She’s lived a colorful life full of trials and tribulations and after deciding to leave her 14 year career with the FBI, she began her own journey of healing. She came to understand and believe that this lifetime here in Earth School is about continual expansion of her consciousness, awareness and self-love.
Her Malas and bracelets represent the opportunity to reach more people and spread love and healing.
I was born and raised in a small suburb of Chicago, Glen Ellyn, IL. I was fortunate because the Lizzardo Museum of Lapidiary Arts was located in a nearby town. My folks encouraged my interest in rocks and I was a frequent visitor there as a child. Little did I realize that these hours spent would become important later in life. After college I rose to the executive level in the brokerage business in Chicago. I was diagnosed with MS in 1979 and by 1991 the stresses that came with the job forced an early retirement. After retirement, I turned to my first love which was horses and began riding and training horses. Just as I returned to the horse scene the natural horsemanship movement hit the midwest and I was fortunate to ride with some of the best. By eliminating the stresses of my every day life and returning to the horses and their wonderful energy, the MS and I have reached and “uneasy truce” and are able to share my body.
Coming to the Roaring Fork Valley at the age of 12, it became my intention to move here and have Siberian Huskies and horses. After 30 years, we finally made that happen. I moved here with a man I was married to for about 28 years, but I now call him the “ex”, or the reason I finally made it here.
I live in the Emma valley at a place I like to call Worm Wranglin’ Ranch with my mother (most of the time) and my Siberian Huskies, all of whom are rescues. Here at the ranch I raise Red Wiggler Worms to compost much of my kitchen and paper waste and fertilize my gardens. Across the street at the friend’s ranch are three of my ever growing herd of horses.
When mom came to live with me and the winter’s started to feel colder (I am sure it has nothing to do with the fact that 20 years have past since I moved here) I renewed my interest in some past hobbies. I started making jewelry again and found I enjoyed it and so did my friends and family. I have been going to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show for years and always coming back inspired. After making a lot of necklaces I decided I needed a good way for me to view them and I started making the display stands. Both of my grandfathers and my father were wood workers. My father had his shop in the basement and he patiently taught me the basics. While riding I am always looking for a twisted piece of deadfall that with a little work can reveal the beauty within. I am doing what I love, living in the place of my dreams, and surround by people and pets I love. Life doesn’t get any better than this.
Kelsey Brasseur is a professional potter and artist living the sweetness of life in Carbondale, CO; her mountain paradise and kingdom of creativity. Kelsey weaves art, advocacy and adventure together to create a voice for the wild places she loves; particularly our public lands. Her greatest loves are alpine ridgelines and the red rock canyons of Southern Utah. When she’s not making magic in the studio, you’ll find her climbing, touring, trail running, cooking and painting.
Kelsey’s mission for life is to PLAY BIG, shine bright and spark smiles! She builds her experiences, her work and her relationships around this simple idea:
We CAN have it all, and when we find the right balance, we can SHARE it all. Together, we shape a truly beautiful world.
Colorado Mountain Honey
Our mission at Colorado Mountain Honey is to keep the ancient art of beekeeping alive and thriving into the 21st century right here in our breath taking backyard known as Western Colorado.
Read more at www.coloradomountainhoney.com
Swiss native Brigitte Egli came to Leadville, CO in 1988 to race sled dogs. The following year she started ceramic classes at CMC in Leadville. Surrounded by talented artists and wonderful people who she has learned from on different levels in the past 20 years, she is primarily self-taught. Her inspiration springs from her back yard and the old wild west – wildlife, animals and nature. She has always enjoyed sculpting clay. It’s never easy, but when you create something that is life-like, it feels rewarding. I’d like to gain recognition as an artist to make a full-time carer and use my art to help nature conservation, animal rights and welfare.
Debora Eichman, an artist for decades finally finding her true passion stained glass a few years ago. She become transfixed when stained glass came to life when light was added. “Through stained glass you can truly see the beauty of light.” Debora has said.
The majority of her stained glass art is copper foil but she has also done the more traditional lead came stained glass. She’s currently working on a series of nature pieces, scenery and wood based pieces as well.
“It’s an honor to a have customer choose to live with one of my pieces. Each piece is created for its new owner to have a new family heirloom.”
My name is Erika Eisenstecken and I am a self taught Photographer who’s life passion is to artistically capture the hidden beauty of nature through my eye and lens. To share this beauty is the Gift.
My inspiration is Ansel Adams who truly captured the natural essence of light and through is Perspective he gave us a pure photograph displaying nature’s authentic beauty.
Every photograph I take has a Story to tell or a Story to think about… I possess the eye and passion for for seeing beauty of nature in its simplest forms. I especially love finding old trucks/cars and abandoned structures in spectacular fields with light shining through the old rust or a flower accenting an old window or door. One of missions as a Photographer is to share my expression of beauty and translate it into Art.
I enjoy painting so much that It has become a lifetime pursuit for me. I work in watercolor now. I was an oil painter and pastelist earlier in my painting career. I will often be stimulated by an insightful teacher or see a wonderfully-rendered painting that will dictate current subject matter and technique changes. I like this ebb and flow of stimulation and action.
Being drawn to nature, I often paint the landscape as it offers such beauty and peace. I have to dig deep into myself to do justice to the beauty of the earth. When I accomplish this, I am thrilled. Painting animals is a joy for me and I do this often.
I have had the opportunity to study with several artists in the past 30 years and have taken precious morsels from each of them to add to my expression of painting. I was selected as the first “artist in residence” for the Wilderness Workship. My numerous awards have encouraged me to go forward. Presently I paint weekly with a group called “Alaprima” located in the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado. We meet one day per week for painting and great conversation and support.
I have been in the performing arts and songwriting world for all of my adult life. In about 1972, between tours, I began to create jewelry with bones I would pick up from the pastures around my home in Comfort, Texas. In the years since, I have been creating designs using materials such as ancient walrus and woolly mammoth tusks, horn and bone with occasional unique wood thrown in.
Hatanaka & Stuckey
John Hatanaka and John Stuckey met in a little boutique next to the train station in Glenwood Springs. Music was happening and they hung around to listen. Music came naturally to both and collaborating seemed a natural progression. Others musicians came along and joined in, expanding their circle.
The intention of the group, Mountain Sage, is to inspire, heal, and bring listeners into a higher state of being. Hatanaka says, “We have been healed by Mother Nature and hope it heals you as well.”
World traveling is what they yearn for and to share music is their heart. They gather inspiration from Yes, John Denver, Martin Sexton, Chairlift, Emma Louise, Inner Oceans, Paper Bird, Norah Jones, Cat Stevens, and Eric Clapton to name a few. They are currently based out of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Hatanaka and Stuckey played at the July 6 grand opening of DJ’s on Main to the delight of the audience and will be featured during upcoming events.
DJ Hill is a freelance writer, photographer, poet, and mixed media/collage artist. Her work has appeared in Maple Grove, Route 66, Southwest Metro, St. Croix Valley, St. Louis Park, and White Bear Lake Magazines; The Atrium, Daily Sentinel, Red Bird Chapbooks Weekly Read, Red Flag Poetry, The Rumpus, the poetry anthology A View from Here: Poetry to Help You Soar, Worcestershire Poet Laureate Remembrance Anthology, and JOMP21’s Dear Mr. President.
DJ’s collage and mixed media art have been included in exhibits at the R2 Gallery, Red Brick Center for the Arts, and other venues. Her first book of poetry, Homespun Mercies, will be published this summer and her poem ‘Harry’ will appear in the first edition of Gone Dogs this winter.
She lives and creates in Carbondale, Colorado.
Gwen grew up in a family of five in Louisville, CO. These were the 1970’s when the town found itself transitioning from a small coal mining area to being strategically located on the prosperous front range of Colorado. This prepared her for the artist’s life of constant awareness of the world’s cultural shifts, conflicts, and triumphs. She embraces the pains and joys of life with her husband and three grown children and joins them in finding ways to be dynamic positive influences in their work, relationships, and community.
Gwen’s talent and life journey has been to capture human, animal, and life expressions both visually and in writing. She uses the tools of line, texture, form, words, notes, and a little bit of mythic mystery. She sees the body as an amazing symphony of movement and conveyer of amazing insight into the human beliefs and experiences and seeks to capture that essence in her art work. Her paintings, drawings, poems, and songs explore the rich experiences of the characters, times, and moments she is revealing.
How's Your Aspen Hot Sauce
We are the kind of people who add hot sauce to everything we eat(pizza, nachos, eggs, seafood, and more). Let’s face it a little spice make everything nice. You could say we are hooked on heat. This blazing brew was created in a little place where the beer flows like wine, so we wanted a sauce that was as unique as Aspen itself. We wanted an uber fresh and flavorful alternative to the typical vinegar based hot sauce. After all, why mask your food with vinegar, we’re not trying to pickle it. After a year of experimenting in the kitchen, we came up with the “Aspen Extreme” of HOT Sauces. It’s the perfect complement to all of your favorite dishes. It will make you sweat on a powder day and have you craving more.
My work is metaphor. Through the invisible quality of understanding the metaphor, I am intuitively guided to the visual interpretations. My contemplative process begins by using found objects, recycled ephemera, words, color, metals, the metaphor awakens into a story. When I fully understand the metaphor I move to another, which most often presents itself to me through my dreams, meditation and interactions with others. This is a slow process as I am rarely ready to “art” the metaphors/dreams/visions without processing their meaning in my life, which can take days or decades. This process of art making is my individual and indisputable connection to the divine. Because I am, the work is eclectic by nature. To me, it tells the story of my growth and the evolution of my authenticity….my quest to make the invisible visible. The continuing theme within all this work is balance, or rather, finding balance. Balance within self, genders, nature, relationships, life, society. All the metaphors seem to be exploring this deep desire to find a world without duplicity.
Spencer Mahaffey Lightfoot
Having grown up surrounded by art and artists, I really had little choice. I have been painting, drawing, building, gluing and glittering since I can remember. The majority of my paintings are watercolors, graphic elements or abstracted iconic images reconstructed into color driven mosaics. Sometimes there are secrets and words hidden with the works…sometimes not. I hope that each viewer looks closely and finds their own meaning.
Read more at www.spencermahaffeylightfoot.com/about
Growing up in a prominent Catholic family from Tulsa Oklahoma and one of seven children, Jessica found solace in art. She began drawing horses, nature and wildlife. Her teachers realized her love for drawing and encouraged her family to give her art lessons. She began taking sculpting and drawing at he age of ten. After high school, she received a scholarship to Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and it was there that she knew her life’s career would be in art. After leaving she moved to Chicago. She enrolled at The Art Institute and later The American Academy of Art.
Realizing that making a living in art would be a difficult challenge, she decided to explore the possibilities of commercial art, which brought her to the Los Angeles area and The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. After leaving Art Center, she freelanced in the commercial field for nine years. Opening a studio on Sunset Blvd. and forming her own company, JD Productions, she was commissioned by such companies as CBS, NBC, FOX, FKI Radio, Paramount and Warner Brothers, creating album covers, movie posters and commercial advertising.
This ancient symbol, the caduceus, was adopted by the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1902. Prior to that it had no connection to medicine or the healing arts. When the Knaus family asked me to create this as a birthday gift for Dr. Gary Knaus, it was an immediate yes. I had already gathered up all the major components, just for their artistic potential, and could not resist the opportunity to give new life to old iron. The teeth of a Danish harrow were used to create the serpents. The spade-shaped finials, cut from wood-beam truss connector plates, became the wings. A used, copper float ball tops off the staff.
I never start a sculpture with a preconceived design; rather I allow the material to build itself. I’m just the hands. I started with the wings. I never saw them as birds at all until I started overlapping them. At that point, I saw a murmuration of starlings, and the traditional two wings became one hundred wings. The weight of the serpents’ heads prevented me from suspending them in the air in the traditional strike position, so I took creative license and made them lovers, rather than adversaries. The ball at the top of the staff is bigger than traditionally depicted, but sometimes that’s what it takes. The answer to the most frequently asked question, ” How long did that take you?” Thirteen days, not counting the gathering of parts or installation. The magic continued even after the piece was completed. When I learned from Greek mythology “the story of Tiresias” that the serpents were lovers.
Illustrative, fine art photographer Ann Ramsey creates dreamlike and mystical worlds through the art of photo compositing.
“My passion is to use photography to create images that convey realms and times beyond the ordinary, where mystical worlds in nature are often intertwined with nostalgia for simpler times. The content I use for creating images are my photographs of the natural world (my favorite being birds and trees), along with old photos and objects that carry with them nostalgic sentiments and mystical overtones.”
This passion began ten years ago when Ann wrote and illustrated three children’s picture books. It was then that she discovered the joy of creating whimsical photo collages in Photoshop to use as illustrations in her books.
Living in Western Colorado with her muse Honey the Cocker Spaniel, Ann devotes much of her time to learning and doing creative work. At the top of the list is her passion for photography and doing freelance graphic and web design work for others. In her free time, Ann enjoys camping in the mountains and playing her fiddle with friends.
Raw-Refined was born out of the desire to recreate timeless western bags with a modern twist. Each bag is hand crafted by the artist, Suzi Brown, on her ranch in western Colorado and is constructed with the finest leathers and textiles. Inspired by the carpet bags of the old west as well as her daughter’s travels throughout the world she created Raw-Refined in 2013.
Making art has been a part of my life for 60 years! I always loved to paint and draw and took many workshops and private lessons growing up in Philadelphia. I attended The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and continued to paint, create and sell my work ever since.
I work mainly in watercolor but also do encaustic painting, acrylics, and ceramic sculpture. I am a member of the Alaprima Painters and show my work at various galleries and events in the Valley. I also teach watercolor and encaustic students. My wonderful studio at SAW in Carbondale is where all the fun happens.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Studio for Arts and Works (SAW)
525 Buggy Circle
Shannon Richardson’s work exudes an honesty and immediacy that speaks to her sensitivity to expressing the human experience. Based on personal recollection, but with a slight twist, the painter presents us with impressions and illusions of events as they have developed in her mind over time. The scenes are ethereal, giving life to a story that feels familiar, yet foreign and unreal. Richardson’s sense of voice in these paintings engage her audience in an intimate way; the depictions of adoration, helplessness, and hope are instinctual as if tapping into a shared consciousness.
John Runne has been painting professionally for the past 28 years. Having enjoyed a very successful corporate career across multiple industries, he uses his experiences to bring a unique and humorous twist to his imagery and use of bold native colors. His whimsical approach to many western scenes, very colorful perspectives of southwestern missions and strong approach to American flag abstracts have won him national and international acclaim. In addition to creating hundreds of original works, he has also produced numerous offset lithographs of his images as well as published several books, Par 2 and Coyote Christmas with multi-Emmy and Peabody awards winning producer and writer, Tom Robertson. Runne’s commercial art activities are balanced with a deep commitment to assist charitable organizations and events. He creates and paints in the mountains of Colorado.
THEONI ~ Jewelry for Everyday Elegance. Divinely gorgeous jewelry inspired by ancient cultures and a modern spirit. How does jewelry make you feel? THEONI jewelry makes you feel authentically YOU! In Life, authenticity is everything – it’s having the freedom to express your inner world through your outer form. When you find that perfect piece of Theoni jewelry, you will treasure it for a lifetime.
Susie Lowe has been making exceptionally beautiful jewelry since 2004. Always one to accessorize, Susie became drawn to jewelry early on. Her grandmother, Theoni, introduced her to bead stores and stitch craft at a young age. When it came time to name her jewelry company, Susie found it fitting to name it Theoni, after her greatest muse. Theoni is a Greek word meaning “Divinely Gorgeous.” Susie holds a Bachelors in Fine Art Media from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She lives in Hothckiss, Colorado with her husband and gaggle of animals.
Ruth developed a fondness for toffee when her sister came home in high school with an elderly neighbor’s toffee recipe. Ironically, this same recipe was later found in her grandmother’s worn cookbook. As Ruth watched her sister’s efforts to conquer the sometimes challenging candy, her interest in toffee thrived because of its complex nature and buttery-crunchy taste. After earning a degree in Piano Pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and then marrying in 1975, Ruth constantly strove to make exceptional almond toffee with a symphony of flavors. Through the process, she discovered new techniques and soon launched a fifteen-year tradition of giving away toffee as holiday gifts.
After years of working in the coat and tie world I bought a torch, allegedly to repairs old bicycle frames. Few frames were ever repaired as I became fascinated with the characteristics and malleability of steel. I hammered it thin for jewelry, brazed it together for small tables and discovered that it can make interesting ringing sounds with manipulation and luck.
I bend and weld steel bar to join with urban wood slabs for living space tables, to hang as sculptural chimes and to stand as sculpture. My themes are movement and interaction. Very few of my table edges are straight and base elements often reflect shapes in the tops. Sculptures take shape from the play between bars as each trace unique paths. Some sculptures offer interaction with the viewer to move elements to create different stories. I am also studying the movement of sound waves in steel to develop sculptural chimes that can be played to tell musical stories.
I was born and raised in Iowa where my family farm and my parents’ values taught me the importance of understanding this earth and its people. I use the 19th century Western US as a stage to explore the dichotomy between the ambitious pursuit of ‘civilization’, and the humble preservation of natural spaces and their original inhabitants. Through my work I challenge who are, and who I believe should be, ‘American Icons’.
Like many, in my youth I held a romanticized view of the Native American and the American West. It wasn’t until I read The Earth Is Weeping that I realized the extent of the violence, empty promises, and wrongdoing committed during the Indian Wars. Through research and reading, as well as visiting Tribal Reservations in Wyoming and Washington, I’ve come to learn more about native history and their contemporary issues. I discovered that Native people today are largely invisible to the passive viewer.
Native American people and their issues deserve to be seen — I hope to address that through my artwork. Looking into a person’s eyes and feeling what they are feeling is important. It offers the viewer a connection with the person behind the portrait, and, hopefully, inspires compassion. Above all, I strive to alter the tendency to view Native people as artifact, instead of what they are — fellow humans and neighbors.
Marcia Weese (Weese+Design) is an award winning interior designer and artist. Whether space planning, designing rugs and furniture or making art, Weese creates dynamic and restorative environments.
Exposure to these intersecting worlds came early. She grew up in Chicago surrounded by the work of her father, modernist architect Harry Weese, her mother, interior designer Kitty Baldwin Weese and their cadre of friends including Alvar Aalto, Eero Saarinen and Charles and Ray Eames.
Weese+Design, collaborates with leading architects as well as contract and residential clients across the country. Also a LEED AP, Weese is conversant in the language of sustainable design and architecture.
With a classical modern touch, Weese+Design has introduced several collections of high quality rugs. These hand-knotted contemporary rugs are elegant and versatile.