Co-op sponsors All Community Art Contest

The All Community Art Contest, “Creatively Yours!,” is about to begin.

This art contest will take place through the Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op and will be starting Jan. 2.

This contest will include first-graders through senior citizens. Each month will feature a different age group. The contest will start with the elementary school- age artists.

Town businesses will give free merchandise and service to the winners.

Sponsors for the All Community Art Contest are the following: DSP Pizza, Shang Hai Restaurant, Hot Springs Motel, Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant, La Tazza, Chato’s Restaurant and Tequila’s Restaurant.

Application forms, including deadlines and rules, can be obtained at the Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op, located in the purple house in the 100 block of Pagosa Street. Open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday noon-4. Call 264-2781 for details.

Artist in the Spotlight

Mona Adams, quilter.

It was a fluke. Mona Adams was looking for a gift in Ponderosa Lumber and spotted the material section, saw the placemat kits and said, “I can do that! That’s how I got started. I had no inclination that I had any talent. I am left brain. I do accounting.”

Mona’s husband, Jerry, was raised in Pagosa. They met in Arizona and moved here in 1998 to retire. Many of you will recognize Mona from Pagosa Office Supply. She worked there for four years and before that, 30 years in real estate. She is an organizer and bookkeeper. She moves fast and gets things done and her temperament is very steady. This is a far cry from the world of an artist.

I have watched Mona at the Co-op and have been so impressed with how she works. She is willing to pick up the slack, she pulls her weight and others’ too, and keeps everyone on task. She is flexible, like an artist. She is vital as a member of the Co-op. She keeps it running smoothly. So I asked her, “How do you fit in with artists?”

“I don’t.”

That was a surprise to me. I thought she was perfect for the Co-op. I said, “All of the artist here work together to make it a success, but I’ve noticed that you do a lot of extra work, why is that?”

She explained, “I jump in, because I want it to go. I don’t want to travel with my craft. If I don’t have a place to sell my things, I can’t quilt. I see myself as a puppy. I am into everything. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes bad. I don’t need a pat on my head, but it’s nice. I am loyal. Art is not for profit, it is a love.”

Then she told me her philosophy of art: “I have thousands of dollars of material just sitting around. Someday, I’ll find something for it. I go to the store for a piece of yellow fabric, and I will come out with five green, five purple and no yellow. Sometimes an idea will come first, sometimes the material comes first. I like to see the material not the quilting. I don’t like the quilting to overtake the material. Quilting is hot right now. It has changed from what it was in our mother’s day. Quilting used to be necessary to keep warm and they utilized the scrap material. Now we use the scraps in different aspects. We use the scraps to make art work. The majority of quilts are not bed quilts but art. Quilting is like putting a puzzle together. It has exploded in the last 15 years. Fabrics are designed and developed for the artists and is an art form.”

Members of the Co-op are thankful to have Mona Adams as a member. Things just go a lot smoother with Mona around.

I asked Mona how she sees life in the artist world. Mona replies, “Artists are into what they do and not necessarily into what the rest of the world does. The way I mesh with the artists in the co-op is to try to keep them planted in one spot or one thought for more than one minute. Do I succeed? Sometimes yes and sometimes no!”

Life in the Artist’s Lane

Artists are deliciously out of balance. We move with the next great idea, not with the world. We are here and we are there, and we don’t seem to go away. We live on another plane, in another world but occupy space here in the now.

“What do you do in real life?,” one of my students asked another beginning student. The student responded by telling her what her real life was all about. I jumped into the conversation, half joking and half serious: “Isn’t this real life? I thought I was living real life.”

Here is a glimpse of the life of an artist. I had lunch with an artist friend and our conversation went like this. “I just spend $450 on stained glass supplies, I am missing one thing, I can’t finish it. It is just sitting there and I have lost all motivation to work on it. I am so mad at myself. I’d like to open my own studio.”

“Well,” I said, “I just spent $340 on ink, paper and supplies and I have sold $4.95. It’s going to take a lot of sales to recoup my money, but it’s not about the money but meanwhile, I’ve got this great idea ...”

If anyone was eavesdropping that day they couldn’t have followed the conversation, they would just be shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. Unless of course it was another artist then she would be hanging on to every word and adding her two cents with an understanding nod. So I thought it would be interesting to find out what other artists thought about this world we call real life

One of my artist friends responded this way: “When you have to clean house and cook meals, every day life interrupts everything, it throws me off balance and it’s hard to get back to my creative side. If I didn’t have to do any thing else, I would be happy. I’d be better off single. If I could do my art I could go further with what I want to do.”

Another artist shares his thoughts: “I believe that it depends on the artist and where he is in his own development. For a really fulfilled artist, there is no difference between art and that person’s real life, its one in the same. I think it is the art of being.”

One fellow, who I think has a true sense of what it is to be an artist, found himself living out of his car, trying to keep a little inheritance money from going to waste. He ordered a handmade American piano and had no place to put it. He then purchased a plot of land, moved into a camper and built a shed to house his piano. Just after he got the shed built, the piano arrived. Now, from a growing flood of inspirations, he is in the assembling pieces of a puzzle into what looks like it might be an new opera for our time.

Rational? No, not at all, but to the true artist, it makes perfect sense. To the rest of the world, I told him that he would be considered a cracked pot, but he says that the cracks let the light come through. He toys with the idea of being odd and takes great enjoyment in being honest to himself as an artist and he doesn’t care what others think. Myself, I am not ready to appear that odd, just interesting.

The ground-breaking abstract expressionist painter, Willem De Kooning, calls himself “a slipping glimpser.” He feels that he doesn’t quite fit in to society. When he starts to slip from society he catches a glimpse of real life and his art gives people a chance to catch that glimpse.

In a recent translation of “The Art of War,” originally written by Sun Tze in 514 BC, the translator explains the Chinese Taoist idea of the artist’s relation to society: “In a perfect society, the artist is the ruler. In an imperfect society the artist is like a Bohemian trying to toss his influence in from the outside.”

The artist is deliciously out of balance not because there is something wrong with him but because he tosses his influence into a society that has not yet understood him.

So I have toss these few seasoned thoughts into the pot, stirred them and chewed on them, and I am showing some of my cracks, Hopefully, some light will come through another so-called cracked pot.

Learn to paint

Learn how to paint during these long winter days. Classes are still open to new students, beginners to intermediates. Betty Slade, artist and teacher will open a new world of art to you. Enjoy the creative gift that is within you.

There is still available studio space with street frontage. Call Patti at 946-7765

Quote for the Week: “Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us.” — Roy Adzak.


Photo courtesy Betty Slade
Local quilter Mona Adams shows her work at the Pagosa Artisans Co-op. Adams, a co-op member, noting art is done for love, performs many of the tasks that help keep the co-op running smoothly.