Co-op artist in the spotlight — Leslie Kron

“In 1972 I was looking for something to re-establish myself as an artist. I took a stained glass class and I knew immediately that stained glass was for me. I love working with my hands,” says Leslie Kron, artist and craftsman. “Growing up my father, he was always working with his hands and I watched him. Even at 87, my Dad is still creating and building clocks.”

The time I spent with Leslie talking about her life as a person and an artist was like drinking a glass of champagne and feeling happy and almost giddy. That is how our interview went. As a stained glass artist, the first thing that came to my mind was, “of course it is rose-colored glass.” Leslie Kron is addicted to the stuff, she better lay off of it.

I asked her, “People try to put artists in a box, do you have that problem?” Her answer was, “What box? I didn’t know there was a box.”

I knew right then that this interview was going to be light and bubbly. She explains, “Single, never thought of being married, an irregular job as a flight attendant, I am a happy girl, I’ve seen the world, how could I have been put into a box?”

Well then, how do you fit into Pagosa? Laughingly Leslie confesses, “I don’t fit into Pagosa. Pagosa has been hard for me. Friendships are hard to have here, and never before have I had that problem, I have always enjoyed people, but I’m not going anywhere. I’m here to stay.”

Moving to Pagosa from Denver in 2004, Leslie didn’t see a real market for stained glass and so she turned to other crafts. Leslie has carved out a successful place for herself, making jewelry, glass bead necklaces, gourds, lariat baskets and even crazy domino brackets that fly out of the door.

“Probably gourds have become my passion. I saw them at a craft fair, and I started asking everyone everything about gourds. I bought a basic book and just let go. There is a learning curve and it is always evolving. You can stain them, burn them, paint them and you just keep going. There is always more to learn. You start seeing your own flaws and you just want to keep getting better.”

How do you see the Co-op?

“I love the Co-op. It is the most wonderful environment. It is a place to do what you love and sell and hear the people’s comments. The comments are always, ‘Wow, these are fun!’

“My ideas come from everywhere. I look through magazines. I take a little here and a little there, and I am inspired by other people’s ideas and then I put them all together and create my own things.

I asked Leslie, “Do you have any goals?” thinking she has plans for down the way, forgetting I was talking to a “happy girl” with no box. Leslie immediately answered, “Be present in the moment. The success of life is to be happy, be a good person. I was raised at the beach in California and my parents raised me to be a free thinker. I am not expecting anything out of life and I understand that everybody’s vision is different for themselves.”

Between the laughs and the giggles, I learned something very valuable the day I interviewed Leslie Kron. She lives what she believes. Leslie was present in the moment and we touched life together for that instance, and I saw the world through rose-colored glasses.

Life in the Artist Lane

“It’s all about me, but I am going to help you.”

Comical but interesting, isn’t it? It is a trait I see in many artists. What’s this, “I’m going to help you” all about? Is this a flaw or is this just the way we are? I saw this trait in a fellow artist the other day and then realized that this trait is in me. I gasped! Could this be true? Is this my mode of operation? Oh Lord, Jesus, help me! The damage is done, no way to apologize to the world, but if I can bring some light to the subject to help others then maybe I would feel better. Remember, “It’s all about me, but I am going to help you.”

I am wondering if we are so passionate about the things we love and that is why we feel we need to enlighten the people around us. Is it because their world doesn’t appear to be as exciting and dazzling as ours? Oh me, another deception.

We also have to remember that artists seldom get paid by money, but more so from the raves and feel good compliments that we receive from others. So we don’t have the big bucks for these wonderful projects and great ideas, so we become masters at convincing people that they need to help us, so we can help them.

In the music world, literary arts, performing arts and, of course, the fine arts you will find those who need preferential treatment. After all they have something that others do not have.

So I asked some of my colleagues what they thought about this? But being the artists they are, they were all too busy helping others to respond, except one. She said, “It’s about teaching you something I love to do; yet it’s still about me. I have wondered about that because I do think I say it’s about me too much.”

I’ve always admitted I am the flag and Al, my husband, is the flagpole. You have to understand that I was made to wave. But without a flagpole to ground me, with the first good wind I would end up in Santa Fe. But what would a pole be without a flag? So — I could go on and on but, wait — Al is calling, “Breakfast is ready.” “I’ll be right there, I’m just finishing my article, I am helping others!”

Co-op doings

Reasonably priced street frontage spaces are available for artist’s studios and retail space. Be a part of the new and growing Artisans’ Art Center of Pagosa Springs at 150 Pagosa St. Three, 350 square-foot adjacent spaces are available, connecting with inside doors. Rental is $300 each per month, plus utilities. These spaces are ideal for retail, anything from antiques to arts and crafts supplies or framing, to artist’s studio spaces.

A call to artists: The Co-op is still looking for artists and crafters with gift items for the holidays.

Classes for oils, watercolors and acrylics are available. These classes are taught by Betty Slade, artist and teacher. Call 264-2824 for more information.

Mark your calendar for the following exciting Co-op events:

• Dec. 5, noon-5 p.m. Grand Opening for the Co-op. Ribbon cutting at noon. Come meet and mingle with the artists. Flute music by Jessica Peterson.

• Dec. 6-7. No tax weekend. The Co-op will pay your sales tax.

Photo courtesy Betty Slade
Leslie Kron, artist and craftsperson, is one of the members of the Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op. A grand opening will be held at the Co-op at 150 Pagosa St. noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 5.