I received formal art and dance training through the University of New Mexico and Fort Lewis College, culminating in a Fine Arts Degree with K-12 Teaching Certification with honors. A practicing visual artist, I often overlap and reorganize images and emotions to create reflective, intimate and familiar compositions. I tend to choose a theme and then, through thoughtful processing, use the many different media necessary to fulfill my exploration of the concept. It has been my pleasure to show work in several local galleries and venues including Studio &, the Fort Lewis College Gallery, The Lost Dog and The Rochester Hotel- Durango, Colorado, Melange Gallery and TAB- Telluride, Colorado, and the Brooklyn Art Library-Brooklyn, New York.
In 2011 I cherry picked and invited a handful of exquisite local artists to join me in forming The Panoply Project. Panoply is a women’s art collective that interacts with community through exhibitions and philanthropic endeavor. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 Panoply drew attention with outstanding designs illuminating the stage in the Telluride Aids Benefit Fashion Show.
As an art teacher, I come to my classroom with an expansive philosophy of exploration. I offer students the tools and understanding of art structure, in combination with my contagious joy and fascination with materials and process, to set the tone for young artists to develop their skills and creativity. I currently enjoy teaching art at the Durango Arts Center during the summer as well as teaching the after school art enrichment program through DAC.
Having art in the home and in your routine improves your life. This is why I make things that we use. I love my coffee mugs; they bring beauty to my mornings and enrich those spaces in my home that are otherwise overlooked. I want the people who own my work to enjoy these pieces as I do. Cups, bowls, plates, these are objects that we share meals with. Like pairing a fine wine with a great cheese, the right cup or plate can enhance the foods we eat from it or the toasts we make with it.
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I have been hand-engraving and letterpress printing for 20 years, driven mostly by the beauty of well-designed type and the jeweled crispness of newly engraved metal. Along the way, my wood engraving work has made it to the frontispieces of books of poetry, my letterpress work has invited countless people to weddings, announced events on posters, and adorned myriad personal stationery sets, and my engraving work has ornamented fly-fishing boxes and been printed into editioned intaglio runs.
For me, it all started with scrimshaw (the art of scratching into bone with a sail needle in order to create images) and gained traction when I learned how to hand-engrave under the brilliant printmaker, David Bumbeck. I restored my first letterpress in 1996 and began printing commercially shortly thereafter.
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Leesa hails from a Midwestern French colonial town. Raised by an artisan Italian baker and a seamstress, she quilted beside her grandmother and bicycled along the Mississippi in search of things to sketch. A career as a graphic designer was intentionally interrupted by a move to Japan, where she explored a passion for fiber and natural dyeing methods. Following a second relocation to Italy, she now lives and works from a studio in Durango, Colorado. With a preference toward foraging for natural dye materials and giving a second life to ‘recycled’ white cloth, she alters the surface of the medium through various methods, followed by construction and stitching.
Leesa’s work has been exhibited in solo shows in Kanagawa, Japan and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Invitational and juried venues include: Oceanside Museum of Art and Visions Art Museum in California; Durango Arts Center, Lincoln Center, Parker Arts Center, tactile Textile Arts Center in Colorado; New England Quilt Museum and Whistler House Museum of Art in Massachusetts; Craft Alliance, Art St. Louis and Center of Contemporary Arts in Missouri; Wayne Art Center and Philadelphia Art Alliance in Pennsylvania.
Press coverage, publications, reviews include: The Alliance for the American Quilters, Fiberarts Magazine, Fiber Arts Design Book 7, Japan Times, Tokyo Broadcasting Co., Quilts Japan, Studio Art Quilt Associates Journal, Surface Design Journal, and Turkey Red Journal.
Mary Ellen Long was born in Los Angeles and lived in North San Diego County before moving to Durango, Colorado 34 years ago. A multi-media artist, creating for almost 50 years, she exhibits throughout the wide world of art.
She began in painting and progressed to printmaking which included silk screen, intaglio, and lithography. Her early influences were California artists including Corita Kent where text and image informed her prints. Returning to school in the 70’s, she was introduced to the artists’ book movement, mixed media, and collage and began experimenting with dimensional ideas and non-illusionary materials. Lenore Tawney and Joseph Cornell inspired this work. Throughout this period, nature and cultural event were prime sources for her ideas.
When she moved from an urban environment to an isolated mountain landscape, she became even more interested in themes documenting nature and ritual. Outdoor site installations placed her in the progression of earth artists that have worked with land forms and natural elements. She chose to intervene in nature subtly, with a primary interest in process and time-influenced projects. For 23 years she developed many works over an 8 acre site adjacent to her studio. For the past nine years she was an artist-in-residence at Edgemont Highlands in Durango, creating over 30 site works along the wild trail in the development. The film, “Seeing the Forest for the Trees” documents this work. Her environmental work has been seen in sculpture parks and conservancies in the U.S. and Canada. In 2008. she created a large work at the Denver Botanic Garden in Chatfield, CO. which reflected seasonal change. She continues to make indoor installations that involve environments of handmade paper, natural elements and book forms.
Artists’ books, editioned and one-of-a-kind, are an important element in the progression of her land-based art activity through the years and have brought her ideas to a larger audience. They have allowed her to document her environmental statements and also other subjects such as family, the process of aging, and cultural issues.
Mary Ellen Long has also worked through the years in the collage medium with the book being a primary theme and source of inspiration. Galleries in Los Angeles, New York, Denver and elsewhere have handled that work. Most recently, works on paper and artists’ books have used mixed media such as photography, pigment, pencil, and natural inclusions. Travel experiences, found materials, and the calligraphic nature of languages have also been of interest. And the Winter Pressing series continues her annual ritual of burying paper under the winter snow which documents the snow amounts for the season.
She received BA and MA degrees from San Diego State and has received grants from the Colorado Arts Council. Mary Ellen has been a featured artist at The Center for Book Arts in New York City. Her book art and collage has been placed in collections around the world, such as the Sackner Archive, MOMA Library, UCSD Special Collections and the Athenaeum in La Jolla, CA, Cerritos Library, CA, Yale University Special Collections, Baylor University, University of Denver, and the National Museum for Women in the Arts Library.
I have been creating monoprints for over 30 years, starting at College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL under the guidance of Dan Ziembo, and most recently under Michael Coffee at Shy Rabbit Arts Center in Pagosa Springs. Initially most of my monoprint subjects were landscapes and figures, but over the last 10+ years I have enjoyed working more abstractly, utilizing the reductive ink method. I also recycle print scraps, incorporating them into funky wood, wire and bead sculptures. The best part of creating monoprints is that the end result is a mystery, until you print it. It never comes out as expected. Like life.
Paul makes his living as a freelance photographer and an instructor at San Juan College. He has called Southwest Colorado his home since 1989 and is married to artist Maureen May.
Paul was born and became an artist seeing life a little differently (especially the auras). He studied photography at Colorado Mountain College and graduated from Fort Lewis College, where he later taught both Analog and Digital Photography.
Paul is an avid mountaineer, using his hiking time to photograph the Auras of the mountains in a spiritual manner. He is currently documenting the dynamic disequilibrium of time.
He has received several residencies, awards and grants, most recently in Orion magazine.
A native of Oklahoma, I attended Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK as a Fine Art major. In 1070, I migrated to northern New Mexico to paint, where I married, raised two children and had a successful interior design/custom painting workshop/studio with my husband and design partner. I moved to Colorado’s Western Slope in 2004 and have made fine art my focus once more.
I have lived within arm’s reach of awe-inspiring ruins, rolling farmland, majestic mountains, high desert and all the diverse geology once can imagine; my cup runneth over with inspiration at my fingertips and my desire to create grows stronger by the day.