ELEVATED | The Natural World in Jewelry and Oil Painting – Plus Pub Night
by Leslie Vreeland
Feb 28, 2013 | 1205 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
'PTARMIGAN LAKE' – A study in oil by artist Ann Cheeks, who will host a tour of her studio Mar. 3 in Ouray. (Courtesy photo)
'PTARMIGAN LAKE' – A study in oil by artist Ann Cheeks, who will host a tour of her studio Mar. 3 in Ouray. (Courtesy photo)
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In Telluride: Silversmith Jennifer Dewey at Ah Haa



The Ah Haa School opened a new jewelry studio this winter, and silversmith Jennifer Dewey heads it up. Dewey is a Telluride local, but not a Colorado native. “I spent my childhood in Wisconsin,” she said, “and I have a great affection for oak trees and acorns.” The acorn is one of the most iconic images in her jewelry, and reflects her past. Elk antlers, another iconic motif, reflect the present.

Dewey takes her inspiration from where she lives. In New Orleans, it was the rod iron that decorated the city everywhere (“I wanted a rod iron necklace,” she said). But “at the moment, given where I reside, I’m inspired by nature and its resilience – the changing of the seasons.” Elk shed their antlers in autumn, rivers gush in spring and summer, and Dewey’s pendants and bracelets reflect these things. Lately, she’s taught a couple of beginner classes at Ah Haa to help beginning jewelers realize their own inspirations. On Monday at 4 p.m., she’ll lead an Ah Haa class in how to make earrings. The tutorial will introduce students to a variety of metalsmithing skills; having taken the class, they will then be permitted to use the Ah Haa jewelry studio anytime, for $25 a day. The school is offering another beginner class next week, in photography with Ryan Bonneau, on Thursday, Mar. 7, 5-7:30 p.m. Bonneau is a photographer with the Telluride Tourism Board, and practiced at capturing the most scenic vistas in this area. He’ll utilize landscape photography to help students learn to use their own digital cameras. The course “is designed to build a relationship between you and that metal, plastic and glass contraption that taunts you every time you pick it up,” the come-on in Ah Haa’s catalogue says. But really, it is designed to help students do what Bonneau and Dewey accomplish every day in their own lives: take inspiration from nature, and channel it into their work. To see more examples of what Ah Haa students have produced this winter, visit their exhibition at the art school opening next Thursday, Mar. 7 at 5 p.m.



Artist Studio Tour in Ouray



While it’s satisfying to take a class from a working artist, it can be especially intriguing to see where an artist works. The trouble is, a studio tour won’t get you inside the brain of the person who made that art – the true source of their creative inspiration. But it can get you close.

It can get you into that artist’s living room, for example, or perhaps their kitchen. Over the past year, studio tours of artists in Ridgway and Ouray have descended upon a working silversmith, a ceramicist, a sculptor, numerous painters, a fused-glass maker, and the man who designs the Grammy Awards – just to name a few. A number of these tours have taken place in the artists’ homes. These peeks-behind-the scenes have proved so successful, Weehawken Arts, which sponsors the tours, is offering them again.

The first tour of this year takes place this Sunday, Mar. 3, and will drop in on the Ouray studio, and also the home, of painter Ann E. Cheeks and her partner, graphic artist Rick Bickhart. The two moved here in November (from Charlottesville, Va.), but already, Ouray “feels like home, like no place ever has,” Cheeks said. “Crazy.” As she has moved, so have the subjects that catch Cheeks’ interest, and she has switched from depicting images of the seaside to scenes in the mountains. Her work, which can be seen at anncheeks.com, is so realistic it looks like photography, but those are oils, from places she photographs and then commits to canvas. Weehawken sought them out, but Cheeks and Bickhart were pleased to open their new home and studio, at 222 5th Ave., to the public. They were eager to meet new people in the community, Cheeks explained, “so this is perfect. What a gift.” Weehawken encourages artists who’d like to participate in these studio tours to give them a call at 970/318-0150, or drop an email to questions@weehawkenarts.org and express an interest. Artist’s tours are free and open to all ages. This one is from 4-6 p.m.



Finally, also in Ouray this weekend, good grub for a good cause: the Ouray Public Library is putting the Pub in Public Library for one night only, at O’Brien’s Pub & Grill on Main Street this Sunday from 5-7 p.m. “We’ll have board members lined up to pour beer,” said Library Director Chris Reece, “and donation boxes will be on the table.” Last year, monies from Pub Night totaled about $700, and were used to purchase children’s books for the library. This year, the plan is to put the proceeds towards books for adults and young adults, as well as shore up Miss Jane’s Kids and the Summer Reading programs. “We appreciate our generous donors, who give all year in this tight economy,” Reece said. “We’d like them to have a little fun while they’re at it.” And some good food, too. As the library director remarked of one of O’Brien’s most popular specialties: “Yes, oh yes! The fish and chips.”

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