BreckCreate: Get a sneak peek at the new Breckenridge arts campus | SummitDaily.com

BreckCreate: Get a sneak peek at the new Breckenridge arts campus

Story, photos by Krista Driscoll
kdriscoll@summitdaily.com

The town of Breckenridge will host a preview event for the new Breckenridge Arts District campus, located at the corner of S. Ridge Street and E. Washington Avenue, from Thursday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 28, featuring dozens of artist workshops, demonstrations, music and more.

The preview celebrates more than a decade of work by the Breckenridge Creative Arts department to establish a cultural vein through the center of town, stretching from the Riverwalk Center to the arts campus and, eventually, to the new Speakeasy Theater in the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center and Library on Harris Street, scheduled to open in early December.

DEMONSTRATIONS

Kim Harrell, a silversmith from Aurora, will be giving two demonstrations and leading a workshop at the preview event. During the first demonstration, she will create silver earrings, showing the entire process from start to finish.

"I'll pierce out a design, push it out, oxidize the surface and use an abrasive pumice powder to get rid of some of the black (caused by the oxidation)," she said. "I'll probably make a simple pair of sterling earrings with some beads that are incorporated into the design, like an oval or a triangle, and the beads will be at the bottom of it, and I solder on the piece with the beads on."

The artist also will demonstrate how she makes her own earring wires, and she will have some of her completed work on display to show the breadth of her skills. Harrell's second exposition will present a different element of silversmithing: raising a bowl. She said though she's originally from Denver, she spent 14 years in London, where that style of silver product was more popular.

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"I used to do a lot more silverware in Europe than I do here — there's no demand for it — but I love doing it, it's the preferred thing I do in my studio," Harrell said. "I'm taking a square and making it into a circle and I'll start raising a bowl. It's a pretty simple process but takes technique and skill to do it properly."

WORKSHOPS

In addition to watching artists exhibit their skills at the Breckenridge Arts District preview, creative types will have a chance to try their own hands at producing everything from photographs to ceramics. Denver artist Victoria Eubanks specializes in encaustic painting and will teach a workshop on the art form.

"Encaustic painting is an ancient medium, I'm talking ancient Greeks and Egyptians used wax as a binder for pigments," she said. "The medium I use, I make my own, with beeswax, resin and colored pigment. I use damar resin, the sap of a pine tree, so there are very natural ingredients going on. My studio often smells like honey, and the bees are always flying around."

The combination of resin and wax is translucent until pigment is added, at which point it becomes an encaustic paint. Eubanks applies the molten material with a soft brush across a wood panel, where it quickly cools.

"I can put another layer on top and fuse it with heat. I'll fuse it to the substrate, or fuse a layer of wax to a layer of wax, and while I'm doing that, I can add color and imagery," the artist said. "Translucency is a huge appeal to the artist that uses this medium because you can let the light go into the piece of art and kind of bounce around and it affects the way colors look. It's kind of magic the way that happens."

Eubanks' all-day workshop will teach attendees about different waxes and how they work together, how to apply wax to smooth and rough surfaces and transferring images from photos or drawings. Participants will make their own medium of resin and wax, and everyone will go home with his or her own encaustic painting.

"I'm always amazed with what folks do with just a little information," the artist said. "They make some amazing art, and there's no barriers, really. They jump right in and create these little pieces of art."

EXHIBITS

Ben Pond, of Eagle, is a former artist-in-residence at the Tin Shop in the Breckenridge Arts District and is returning to host a workshop and exhibit some of the drawings he created during his time in Summit County in March.

"It's five drawings," Pond said of his half of the exhibit, which will share a space with local photographer Liam Doran's work. "They're sort of mixed-media works, fairly large. What I did was I explored the town, went on some walks and documented my walks and drew from the images, the photographs I took. It's really layer upon layer of image on top of itself. I was really inspired by the historical buildings of Breckenridge. A lot of the imagery is of siding, bits of rooftops with mountains peeking through."

Pond said though many towns on the Interstate 70 corridor have thriving art scenes, what's special about the Breckenridge Arts District is that it really caters to local artists and members of the community who are interested in the arts.

"I think other towns here do that, but if you look at a place like Vail, there isn't a place to go to take a course or see a Colorado or local artist," he said. "That's one of the things I really like about what they're doing there with the arts district. … They're encouraging and inspiring this destination, cultural district."

Breckenridge Arts District preview

View the wrap around the Thursday, Sept. 25, edition of the Summit Daily News for a full schedule of workshops, exhibits, demonstrations and entertainment for the Breckenridge Arts District preview event. For more information, visit http://www.breckcreate.org.

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