August 2020 meeting of Pueblo Makes

At the 18 August 2020 meeting, we heard from four makers about making with metal.

Catie Blickhahn, of Elysian Evrimata,  (elysianevrimata@gmail.com, www.facebook.com/elysianevrimata, www.elysianevrimata.com, @elysianevrimata) showed us jewelry she makes with lost wax casting, resin casting, stone cutting, and other methods.

She sells her work at Steel City Art Works Gallery (216 South Union, www.facebook.com/SteelCityArtWorksGallery/, www.steelcityartworks.org/) She has been experimenting with making videos of the making process in order to attract buyers.  For her honors minor at CSU-Pueblo, she is studying how to market as artists in an ever changing landscape. She is also doing a marketing minor.

Ryan Gardner, of Ryan Gardner Designs (www.ryangardnerdesigns.com/ @ryangardnerdesigns) is also a co-owner of the Center for Metal Arts (625 South Union Avenue,  info@coloradometalarts.com www.facebook.com/ColoradoCenterforMetalArts/  www.coloradocenterformetalarts.com/). The center helps people at all levels of skills from those who have never done metal work through professional. They are planning a soft opening in November for a gallery in the front part of building.  

He showed us his own bench (above) and the large collection of shared equipment for lapidary and metal working. They teach classes and workshops in many different techniques. They just added an AV system that will allow for live streaming and online videos as well. They do have open studio times when people learning to make jewelry can have access to all equipment. They can also set up one-on-one sessions. Their goals are to “have fun and share what we do.” Four artists are in the studio full time and Ryan showed some of his work.

The above piece is optical quartz, carved on the back and inlaid with gold leaf; the stone is amethyst and the circle is oxidized sterling silver. Michael Boyd, one of the other owners, is known for his stone work. Ryan said that classes are offered on various schedules, including someone the evening, although COVID has meant that classes have been postponed. Most classes are appropriate for beginners; classes and workshops needed more knowledge are clearly labeled.

Jeff Madeen owns Bloback Gallery (131 Spring Street, blobackgallery@gmail.com www.facebook.com/blobackgallery/  www.blobackgallery.com/)and makes art work from metal and other material, including found objects.

The above photograph shows a natural casting from a forest fire.

Jeff just finished the above piece after 9 years.  Several shows are ongoing at BloBack Gallery of the work of other artists. He also showed us larger pieces that are on the sidewalk outside of the gallery, including a piece titled Pueblo DNA and an 8-inch howitzer, cut and welded into a peace symbol. He said he can work from a set design (using Vectorworks on the computer) but finds that boring. “I’d rather not know where I’m going to end up.” He is mostly at BloBack Gallery 10 to 5 every day but Monday, but sometimes runs errands.

Ryan McWilliams, owner of Johnny’s Metal Works and Boiler Shop (303 South Santa Fe, ryan@i-engr.com www.facebook.com/pages/Johnnys-Boiler-Shop/148081365236068  www.johnnysboiler.com/). They have made some objects at Watertower Place using repurposed materials such as the chain on this staircase below.

Johnny’s specializes in doing the hard things that others can’t do. They have a wide variety of equipment, such as a big press brake, plate rollers, big shears, a water jet (photo below), and automated saws.

They do tasks that are out of the norm, anything you can think of in heavy iron. They have a lot of customers with two pieces that are supposed to be one piece. They recently did work for a multi billion dollar company, also recently repaired a titanium wheelchair, and are currently doing a project for a group of artists in Colorado Springs.

Cathy Valenzuela, who owns Tuxedo Ranch, (https://www.tuxedoranch.com/, custom promotional material) described that Johnny’s also makes artistic things, such as the steel model of the light tower made for Urban Authority to commemorate the expansion of convention center (see photo below).

Dave Pump gave a shout out for Johnny’s for help in putting together the kinetic sculpture at Project Inspire, the new venture of Pueblo Diversified Industries (www.projectinspire.community/).  

Paula Robben offered the services of SBDC (www.southerncoloradosbdc.org/) to all the makers, and some had already used them or planned to.

After the presentation we heard updates from others in the group. Emily Gradisar announced that Ticktock Pueblo (ticktockpueblo.com/ www.facebook.com/ticktockpueblo/ @ticktockpueblo) is moving to a new, bigger location, next door to Bistoro at Central Plaza, and will offer more and larger work and maker spaces, with five or six spaces on the ground floor and more downstairs. There will be no commission on sales, only a flat rent.

Amanda Corum (Executive Director Pueblo Corporate College, 719-549-3163,
Amanda.Corum@pueblocc.edu) said activity has been slow at PCC due to COVID. She announced that a state training program is again available. She and her staff can help with filling out the application to get funds to train existing and new staff; the training can be done by the community college, by a third party, or as internal training.

Kayci Barnett, Giodone Branch Manager (www.pueblolibrary.org/node/224941), said they will expand hours in next month, allowing for longer computer sessions. They are continuing curb side pick up and crafts to go for the kids.  Sharon Rice, makerspace librarian at Rawlings (www.pueblolibrary.org/Ideafactory) said they have had some requests for 3D printing, but the space is closed now because furniture is stored there. In September there will be kits available for pick up.  

Paula suggested making a directory of Pueblo Makers and good discussion followed. Many makers want to help others. Jane will work with Zach on a way to add such listings at www.pueblomakes.com.

Pueblo Makes meets the third Tuesday of each month by zoom, 3:30-5 pm. The next meeting will be September 15. The link is always https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84158525191?pwd=K1lsQWRSQy83Q1NLVXZxQzlBOUw2Zz09. Please send your comments and suggestions about Pueblo Makes to janemfraserphd@gmail.com.

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