Find jewelry, photography, paintings, textiles, pottery, wearable art and other mediums at the Meet the Artists outdoor art market at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Plaza this weekend.
The art fair is sponsored by the Summit County Arts Council and features a selection of about 30 Colorado artists, making it one of the smaller art festivals in the state. The intimate nature of the event is attractive to painters and potters, glass workers and jewelry smiths.
“I like it that they keep it small, 30 to 32 booths,” said Terry Romanin, who owns Mountain Mosaics with her husband, Randy. “I think it gives you an advantage as far as your chance to make sales because it’s not more competition with other artists. It’s a more intimate feeling.”
The Romanins create stained-glass mosaics, a medium they have been working in for eight or nine years, Terry said. The subject matter is mainly abstract, although they occasionally do birds or fish, and the products are mostly mirrors, with some wall art, lamps and vases mixed in.
“We don’t use any patterns,” she said. “We just start cutting and piecing. Each piece is unique, one of a kind. All of the mirrors and wall art pieces we trim in copper. We’re inspired by the beautiful, amazing colors of the glass and the reflections.”
Meet the Artists in Breckenridge is one of the Romanins’ favorite shows each year, both for the beautiful mountain setting and the enjoyable and fun nature of the event.
“The Summit County Arts Council does a great job,” Terry said. “They take care of and appreciate the artists.”
Gary Nichols, of G. Nichols Watercolors, echoed the Romanin’s sentiments about the format of the art fair, describing it as “comfortable” and praising the local people who run it. Last year was Nichols’ first time attending the event.
“I like the location,” he said. “I think my work hits a note with people around here because it’s familiar scenes, things that I’ve painted. A couple of paintings I’ve done of the area up and around McCullough Gulch.”
Nichols works in watercolors, painting mostly mountain landscapes and featuring many iconic views that are well known to Summit County residents.
“I enjoy hiking and skiing and fishing in the mountains, and I like hiking around and taking my camera and taking pictures of different scenes and coming home and trying to put my own spin on what those scenes look like to make them appealing to locals,” he said.
The trip to Breckenridge won’t be all work for Nichols, who also displays his work at the Cornflower Boutique & Gallery in Frisco.
“I just like being in Breckenridge, it’s a great place,” he said. “My daughter and son in law live in Breckenridge, and they have two baby boys that are 5 months old, so I get to see my grandsons. It’s also nice to meet other artists.”
Deborah Hager, of Clay By Nature Pottery, said she has been coming back to Meet the Artists for about five years because she loves meeting people, discussing art and explaining her artistic process.
“That’s one reason I like to do the outdoor shows is you are meeting your customer face to face and interacting and educating them,” she said. “I educate people not just about my art but about pottery in general.”
Hager uses a style of etching called sgraffito on her hand-thrown, one-of-a-kind pots, a method that was developed in the 1500s during the Renaissance when artists painted on plaster. The term “sgraffito” means to scratch through the surface.
“Let’s say I do a drawing of a fish, and after I kind of do my drawing, around the outside of my fish I put this black slip,” she said. “Then I do another drawing of leaves. How I define the leaves is through scratching through the clay, and that’s how I outline the leaves. So you have this white outline of the clay showing through the black background of the slip.”
Drawings of fish and lunar moths and other nature-based themes dominate Hager’s pottery, and most of it is functional, meaning it can be used every day. Meet the Artists brings a great mixture of clientele to Hager’s booth, attracting art fans from Denver and the Front Range and also Summit County’s second-home owners and out-of-state visitors. Art enriches our lives and brings us together, Hager said.
“That’s kind of my philosophy behind my work,” she said. “I want people to think about sacred time and space and relationships. I love that quote by John Cage, ‘The purpose of art is to remind us of the very life we’re living.’
Meet the Artists is the main fundraiser for the Summit County Arts Council. It supports the Arts Alive Gallery, which is open year-round for Summit County artists to sell their work. For more information, visit www.summitarts.org.