Creative Pagosa: Fran Jenkins

Photo courtesy Fran Jenkins “Improvisational art quilter” Fran Jenkins is one of the many MAKERS who contribute to a vibrant and growing creative community in Pagosa Country.

Photo courtesy Fran Jenkins
“Improvisational art quilter” Fran Jenkins is one of the many MAKERS who contribute to a vibrant and growing creative community in Pagosa Country.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project is building a web-based directory of all the creative people and businesses in the community. By creating this website, it will make these MAKERS easier to find in online search engines and help share the wealth of innovative and talented individuals that call our small town home.

This sort of database is called “cultural mapping” and is being done by communities around the country in order to realize and recognize the value of their creative assets.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project is establishing the groundwork for continued collaboration and cooperation and promotional efforts of the combined community. The goal of the project is to establish a solid foundation of cultural and creative individuals and businesses, to create a viable plan for promoting these assets and to promote the Pagosa area as a worthy place of residence for creative people, a productive place for creative business ventures and a desirable destination for arts tourism.

At present, the PACP is also planning an event for fall 2013. The event, the MAKERS Expo and Tour, is set for Oct. 12-13.

To register and be listed in the database, go to

In order to highlight the MAKERS in Pagosa, the PACP will profile its members, giving readers of The PREVIEW a sense of the depth and breadth of the creative community.

This week’s MAKER is Fran Jenkins.

Q: Tell us a little about who you are, where you were born, educated, your family, growing up and how you came to be doing your creative work?

FJ: I’ve been at a sewing machine since age 8 and I’ve only pierced my finger once. Lesson learned!

I grew up on a very small ranch in what is now called the “Inland Empire.” My dad grew a variety of fruits and vegetables and we were surrounded by citrus trees. My brothers and I would create our little fortresses under the canopy of those trees. Fairies, warriors, hobos, (for real, we lived a quarter mile off the rail track) and other fantastical creatures lived there. It was the beginning of my fantasy world that has never left me.

My passions are good food, gardening and fibers in all forms.

I’ve dabbled in arts and crafts most of my adult life, right now my passion is all things fibers.

Q: Describe the objects you make or the creative work you do.

FJ: I am an improvisational art quilter. I prefer to work without a pattern, creating as I go. I usually start with a design in my head and once the foundation is laid let the fabrics speak to me. I make soft sculptured fabric dolls and have recently started sculpting dolls in oven baked clay. Costuming the dolls is my favorite part of the process. I also enjoy making garments described as “Art to Wear.”

Q: What is your favorite tool or material used in making your work? Why?

FJ: My hands. They are my most creative tools.

Q: Do you have a regular routine or schedule?

FJ: I wake about 5 a.m., read, catch up on my computer, exercise, do household duties and spend as much time as I can in my studio — somewhere between four to six hours a day. Early bedtime.

Q: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

FJ: My Italian ancestry has a beautiful saying: “Vive Bene, Spesso L’ Amore, Di Risata Molto.” Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often.” A plaque hangs in my kitchen as a reminder.

Q: When you’re not making art, what is your favorite thing to do in Pagosa Country?

FJ: Exploring the back country, and absorbing the breathtaking scenery.

Q: What are your goals for the coming year?

FJ: Complete my UFOs. In quilter language: Unfinished objects. Or PIGS Projects in grocery sacks.

Q: What is your dream project?

FJ: Above. New projects keep getting in the way.

This story was posted on August 22, 2013.