Pagosa Artisans Co-op features work by Peggy Cotton

The Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op is busy making things happen. We have had a great September and already a great October. We are still adding new artists and artwork daily and the ideas keep coming.

There is a new section for gift items as well as gifts throughout the shop. Pottery by Marci Thomas, flutes by Jessica Peterson, and jewelry and art by Lisa Foreman are the latest items we have added to the Co-op’s collection. Be sure to stop and see what is new.

Classes have begun for oils, watercolors and acrylics. Betty Slade, the instructor, will be teaching from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday. Call the Co-op and sign up. The number is 264-2781

We still have artist studio space for rent. Please call Patti Rios for more information at 264-2781

Artist in the Spotlight

Peggy Cotton doesn’t consider herself to be an artist, but due to a childhood interest in rocks, stones, crystals, gems and minerals which she has always treasured, her hobbies have come full circle.  It started when she gathered rocks that had washed down the Cimarron River from the New Mexico highlands to the Kansas Prairie.

Many years later, after teaching at Northwest Hospital in Amarillo, Texas; marriage to Bill Cotton, and raising three sons and a daughter, Peggy happened to attend the Texas State Gourd Show in Austin and discovered the world of lagenarias, commonly known as hard shell gourds, which have been grown and used for containers by people all over the world for thousands of years.

These gourds can be crafted much like wood.  They can be carved, colored with dyes and paints, burned and decorated with whatever tweaks the imagination of the crafter.

Peggy joined the Capitol Area Gourd Society and enjoyed taking classes in the Austin area, along with the gourd festival in Cherokee, N.C., and at the international gourd festival at the Welburn gourd farm in Fallbrook, Calif.

The book and gift shop, Books Texcetera, in Gruene, Texas, that was owned by Peggy and her daughter, Betsy, sold gourds crafted by Peggy and the sublets of Wimberley, Texas, who introduced Peggy to the making of gourd jewelry.

The Cottons moved from San Marcos, Texas, to Pagosa Springs in time to enjoy the long snowy winter just past. That seemed a good time to plug in the scroll saw, sander, woodburner, and dremel. Before long, Peggy was combining stones, mainly turquoise, and gourd pieces. That was when her pendants came into being, soon beads were added and boxes of necklaces were taking over her closet.

Patti Rios placed an ad in the newspaper regarding the formation of Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op and Peggy became a charter member. She enjoys the talent and camaraderie of the other crafters and artists who are presenting their work in the now famous “Purple House” in Pagosa Springs.

Peggy has turned her hobby into works of art. The Co-op invites you to come and see the beautiful jewelry by Peggy Cotton. She is now featuring “PURPLE DAZE,” a collection of lavender. and purple necklaces and earring sets made in honor of The Purple House and all those who love purple.

Life in the Artist’s Lane

Has anyone walked a mile in your shoes?

People love to judge your art. It makes them “in the know,” whatever “in the know” is. Possibly, they are just thinking out loud.

Does an artist want to be critiqued?

I learned a very valuable lesson when I proceeded to tell another artist what she could do to improve on her art. I thought I was helping her, but instead I quickly made an enemy. She left briskly, in a huff, and I felt poisonous darts aimed at me. Oh me, I don’t think she wanted to be critiqued.

I asked other artists what they thought about being critiqued. These were their responses.

“Everyone has an opinion about art. They like it or they don’t. I’ve come to understand that not everyone sees it the way I see it.”

“As a quilter, I think it is different in the eye of the one making it and one looking at it. The way I make my quilts, I want the fabric to show more than the quilting. Other people who quilt would not necessarily agree with me.”

“I’m beyond that, it doesn’t matter what people think. If it’s constructive, I’ll listen and I’ll change it.”

“When someone is telling you, you shouldn’t have done some thing, it hurts a person’s soul.”

From an impressionist painter, her comment was, “sometimes they don’t understand the rules. Exact representation and impressions are different. I’m not ready unless I ask for it. A friend made a comment, and I think she was right. Maybe it’s ego. I love the compliment when they see things I can’t see. It really depends on how they say it.”

In words from the “Book of Wisdom,” Solomon puts it this way, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

I guess I would have to say, most artists want flattery with a little truth. We are dealing with a fragile group from the human race known as Artists. The art they produce and the artists who produce it are as different as night and day. We need to appreciate who they are and where they are in their journey in life. Some are a lot further down the road than us and some are way behind learning from us.

For myself, I have walked in my own colorful shoes for 40 years, and I have learned to take others’ comments with a grain of salt. If I can make my work better, I value their advice. Someone who is only an observer often doesn’t understand all the work that goes into something. People who have tried to do it themselves often understand and appreciate it better.

We artists do not need to commit ourselves into the hands of someone else. We need to express freely, but be teachable. We owe it to ourselves to listen to ourselves.

I too have walked in shoes when they pinch. It is always uncomfortable. Interesting enough I usually move into a bigger pair when it is all said and done.