Thursday, March 28, 2019

Colorado Craft Movement is Alive and Thriving with These Home-Grown Makers

Known for its vast forestry, colorful plains and mountainous grit, Colorado is the nation’s capital for adventure. With its awe-inspiring backdrop, homegrown makers are enhancing what it means to buy and support local. They are building experiences that are restorative, as they are educational, from leather goods-making to fiber weaving classes. Among their work, are full product lines that are completely sketched, sourced and produced within the four-cornered state; making it easy to swap out big box retailers with quality craft items that let you take a great piece of Colorado home.
Meet the Makers:

Caitlin Rose Ward, Lonewolf Collective, Crested Butte - Having worked in modeling, Caitlin Rose knows too well the irreversible effects that industry can have on the environment and society as a whole. Armed with a camera in one hand and a torch in the other, she set out to make minimal jewelry pieces that are as delightful as they are sustainable. Lonewolf Collective stands for slow fashion, and Rose is completely transparent about where she sources her materials, straight down to the recycled cotton t-shirts she uses as business cards.

Cordelia Smith, Formulary 55, Pueblo - After spending countless afternoons crafting at camps and weekends watching her aunt weave bohemian style rugs, Cordelia Smith grew up with a profound love of homemade products. In 1993, she began making soaps from scratch and sold them at local farmer’s markets—a business that she grew from a side hustle to a full time gig. Committed to her roots, Smith processes all orders by hand by employing a community of makers in Pueblo.

David Kaminer, Raleigh Street Bakery, Denver - Using only organic ingredients and his culinary background, David Kaminer whips up fresh, artisan bread made-to-order every week. Operating under Colorado’s Cottage Food Law, his loaf selection ranges from the well-known French baguette to a savory sunflower rye, all of which are baked in his home hearth. The bakery also offers workshops where Kaminer teaches the tricks of the bread-baking trade.

Hayden Kessel, Hayden Knife, Carbondale - After taking up a knife apprenticeship with a west coast bladesmith, Hayden Kessel set out into the mountains of Colorado to forge his own brand of custom blades back in 2015. Ever since then, he’s influenced each and every knife by hand with the strokes of a hammer. The blades are made from high-carbon steel and he sources his wood from nearby forests and fruit orchards. The result is a modern-yet-rugged heirloom blade that is as fit for the kitchen as it is for the backcountry.

Jodie Bliss, Bliss Studio & Gallery, Monument - A Colorado native, Jodie Bliss is a modern-day metalsmith that holds both a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Fine Art Sculpture. She works with materials varying from steel and brass to glass and ceramics. An expert in forging metal, she regularly holds workshops in her craft—teaching others how to construct metal sculptures.

Salihah Moore, Boulder County - Salihah Moore is a designer of beaded jewelry, wall hangings and wearable art pieces. The delicate balance between exuberance and minimalism often on her mind, Salihah uses glass seed beads, needle and thread to hand weave styles with a modern sensibility. Her jewelry can be found in Cedar & Hyde Mercantile in Boulder.

Home-Grown Products:

Moots Bicycles, Steamboat Springs - Moots Cycles has been handcrafting bicycle frames in Colorado since 1981. Made by riders for riders, this company is known for building high-quality titanium road, mountain, cross and specialty bike frames right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Awarded with the Gold Certificate for Corporate Stewardship by the City of Steamboat Springs, Moots takes recycling and alternative energy seriously, with 10-14 percent of their energy being produced by solar panels and recycling 100 percent of the part-offs and material waste.

Truman Boot Co., Boulder - Operating out of a small factory in Boulder, Truman Boots pays homage to an industry that has been seemingly laid to rest. These boots are designed, patterned, graded and produced by skilled boot makers right here in the four-cornered state. Built to withstand the Colorado lifestyle, these contemporary boots are made with goodyear construction or stitchdown methods, outfitted with leather laces and will stand the test of time with lasting quality and style.

Vintage Overland, Grand Junction - Vintage Overland designs and builds collector-quality handmade camping trailers in Grand Junction. Their caravans are not mass produced but carefully hand crafted and every detail has been given individual attention. Their adventure caravans create a one-of-a-kind camping experience, and they have been recognized as an industry leader in design.

Weston Backcountry, Minturn - Weston boards have gained somewhat of a cult following in the years since its inception. An editor’s choice pick for Backcountry Magazine, the brand is best known for their “Backwoods” splitboard—a snowboard that can be converted into skis for big mountain riding out in the lesser-traveled areas of the Rockies and beyond. Big on avalanche education, the brand partners up with several nonprofits to spread the word on safety in the backcountry.

Winter Session, Denver - Using traditional craft techniques and fusing them with the technologies of the 21st century, Winter Session develops high quality, canvas and leather carry goods for all. Hand-stitched and manufactured right in their storefront workshop, the brand has evolved from a small side project to one of the most aesthetically pleasing, sustainably made goods on the makers scene today, opting for natural vegetable tanning methods and high-quality canvas cotton.

Make-Your-Own Experiences:

American Academy of Bookbinding, Telluride - Aiming to pass the knowledge of bookbinding from one generation to the next, this academy offers book enthusiasts a chance to master this age-old skill. The academy offers weeklong courses in leather binding, book restoration, repair and preservation practices taught by highly regarded master binders. Enthusiasts can drop in for a class or leave with a diploma.

The Art of Cheese, Longmont - The rich flavor and texture of cheese can sometimes be difficult to forget and hard to find. So, why not learn how to make it at home? Featured in over a dozen media outlets, The Art of Cheese provides students with the opportunity to create an outstanding variety of cheeses to enjoy, whether at home alone or with family and friends.

Breckenridge Arts District: Ceramic Studio, Breckenridge - Nestled along Breck’s main street, this ceramic studio offers clay hand-building workshops taught by Melissa Michel, a local artist. The class explores methods to work with and manipulate clay, and demonstrates techniques that create functional and decorative pieces.

Choke Cherry Tree, Pagosa Springs - For the chocolate enthusiast, Choke Cherry Tree offers confectionery classes where attendees can learn the tricks of the trade. The chocolatier-in-making learns how chocolate is best prepared, handled and presented. Meant for all levels of expertise, the class is built around individual taste preferences with fresh ingredients collected specifically for the course.

Cedar Ridge Ranch, Carbondale - Nestled in the Roaring Fork Valley, Cedar Ridge Ranch is a 100-acre estate that offers workshops in alpaca fiber soap felting. Used as a natural exfoliant long before loofahs and shower poufs, the workshop walks you through the history, traditions and techniques of soap felting. Big on sustainability, and what the ranch calls ‘farm-to-fashion,’ the workshop details ways you can use these silky fibers, leaving nothing to waste--all while you get to interact with the roaming alpacas themselves.

Dogs & Stars Letterpress, Lafayette - Founded in the fall of 2012, Dogs & Stars is a small batch letterpress print shop based in Old Town Lafayette. Its owner, Brian Wood, transformed his spare-bedroom hobby into a full-fledged business where he showcases his love for antique wood types and minimalist style through custom projects and his very own greeting card line. Wood also hosts private workshops where he teaches the ins and outs of letterpress printing.

Gatherhouse Glass Blowing, Frisco - Owned and operated by master glassblower, John Hudnut, this course is a perfect introduction to the ancient craft of glass blowing. During the course, attendees will work alongside skilled craftsmen to transform their 2,000-degree molten glass into functional, modern art. Courses are suitable for beginners and welcome apprentices, as Hudnut welcomes all to enjoy the processes of creating fused silica.

Rooted Apothecary, Gunnison - Before written history, our ancestors were using the power of plants to aid in self-care and healing. Rooted Apothecary explores our lineage and makes homemade organic and wildcrafted herbal body care products. Celebrating the ancient history of aromatic distillation, the body care brand invites guests to a two-day intensive discovering the plant species throughout the Rockies to study, harvest and distill.

Shalawalla Gallery, La Veta - Artists Beth and Jonathan Evans offer batik classes at their studio at Shalawalla Gallery in LaVeta. Originated in Indonesia, the batik textile method uses wax-resistant dye to intricately color tapestries. Whether one is a batik beginner or wants to add to their existing skills, Shalawalla Gallery offers classes to fit one’s individual needs. Class participants will learn basic dyeing and wax application, detailed tjanting work and layered batik dye painting techniques.

Small Acre Farm, Fort Collins - Reinvention and sustainability may be the two words that best describe Small Acre Farm. Visitors can learn the art and skill of fiber weaving. This unique learning opportunity will bring students close to the renewable, compostable, naturally absorbent, insulating, naturally mold and mildew resistant, water repellant, fire retardant fiber, and they will also get to know the names and faces of their fiber providers.

Makers Events & Festivals:

Dairy Block, ‘Maker’s Breaks’, every other Wednesday, Denver - Located in the heart of Lower Downtown, Dairy Block’s micro-district celebrates the maker and its vibrant community of inspired retailers, chefs, creators and cocktail crafters. This walkable neighborhood is home to more than 700 pieces created by Colorado artists all within a historic block that once housed the Windsor Dairy. The block offers ongoing ‘Maker’s Breaks’ where the makers turn craft over into the hands of others in complimentary art stations. Held every other Wednesday from 11-2 p.m., the fun projects vary from week to week so that no two Wednesdays are ever the same.
Fine Arts Center (FAC) 100th Anniversary, events throughout 2019, Colorado Springs - Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, FAC is one of the only multidiscipline arts institutions in the nation. Based on the mission of the Broadmoor Art Academy, established in 1919, the Fine Arts Center is gearing up for its centennial anniversary with a year’s worth of spectacular arts programming that celebrates and honors its rich history. Programming will include art exhibitions celebrating instructors, students and influencers of the Broadmoor Art Academy, pop-up one-act plays, en plein air and printmaking workshops and more.
2019 Colorado Spirits Trail Festival, May 17, 2019, Denver - Celebrate the second year of the Colorado Spirits Trail expanded to 61 Colorado craft distilleries including 16 new distilleries throughout the state. The Colorado Spirits Trail Festival will unite these distilleries in one place for one night with samples, cocktails, live DJs and good cheer. In true frontier fashion, distilleries will be throwing down in a fury of cocktail duels.
Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, June 12-15, 2019, Craig - Trying to come up with a solution for afflicted trees in the area, event holders decided to put them to good use by creating a festival that honored both the arts and the environment. Each year this event draws thousands to celebrate the one-of-a-kind artwork made by wood carvers from near and far. A true family festivity, the event features food and craft vendors, in addition to the carving competition.
MARBLE/marble Symposium, July 2019, Marble - MARBLE/marble is a place where people of all ages and abilities carve marble in a non-competitive, culturally diverse atmosphere of learning and sharing. Three sessions are offered July 2-9, July 15-22 and July 29-August 5. Symposium grounds are located just outside the quaint town of Marble. It’s a pristine mountain setting on the beautiful Crystal River inspire artists. Attendees can also wander through the blocks of marble scattered throughout the area, remnants of the National Historic Marble Mill site.
Colorado Mountain Winefest, September 19-22, 2019, Palisade - With over 55 Colorado wineries in attendance, the Colorado Mountain Winefest is the state’s largest and oldest wine festival. The event offers everything from a grape stomp to live chef demonstrations with plenty of food and wine pairings. The event has been featured on USA Today’s 10Best website and has sold out consistently since 2015.