Calling all junior high school artists

You still have time to stop by the Artisans’ Co-op at 150 Pagosa St. to see the art produced by fifth- and sixth-graders at Pagosa Springs Middle School — part of the All Community Art Contest

The exhibit will be on display until March 31. There are 41 pieces of artwork, including the winners.

The All Community Art Contest is in full swing. The Co-op has started collecting artworks from seventh- and eighth-grade students. The deadline for entry is March 31, and a reception will be held Sunday, April 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. Winners will be announced and prizes and ribbons awarded.

Weekly drawing

As a thank you for your support and a way of showing our appreciation to the people of Pagosa Springs, the Co-op is having a weekly drawing for locals. A new winner will be drawn March 28. You do not have to be present to win, so be sure to stop by and drop your name in the bowl.

Featured artist — Carol Theiss

The Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op welcomes Carol Theiss, a jeweler who has always been fascinated with dichroic glass. She cuts and layers the glass, then fires it, melting the glass together. She makes jewelry and household pieces such as cabinet door knobs, nightlights and decorations on fireplaces.

Carol and Greg Theiss moved to Pagosa Springs in 2004 by the way of Chama, N.M. They were living and working in Chama, came to Pagosa to purchase material and fell in love with this place. They bought a piece of property and never left. Carol was born and raised in Hawaii, but prefers Pagosa Springs. “I love the changes of the seasons, they are phenomenal. In Hawaii there was only one season. It was always the same.”

Carol has had a charmed, yet very interesting life. “I was raised in an artistic family. My father is an artist and when I was eight years of age I began painting and traveling through Europe studying art with my Dad. We went to every cathedral and gallery that was open in Europe.

“When I was old enough I managed and waited tables at a biker’s bar for twelve years. I also worked with Human Services where we provided a safe haven for abused women and children. And, we started a support group in Hawaii.”

Then, due to some complicated internal problems, Carol was in chronic pain and virtually bedridden for more than 10 years. A miracle happened to her recently and she was healed. “The pain is still there, but by the strength of the Spirit He picks me up every morning. I am totally different. I look forward to the beauty of the coming day. I believe I have been given a new life and I see life as a gift and I am a better person for going through the illness. When I am working with glass I go into this other space and the pain just backs away.”

A trip to Phoenix was the beginning of a new direction in Carol’s life. Carol and a lifetime friend, Pearl Hintze, started a new business, working with dichroic glass. Their business is called Made for U.

“Dichroic glass is especially designed to be hot worked which I fire by solar power in a kiln,” said Carol. “It is glass containing multiple-micro layers of metal oxides which gives the glass dichroic optical properties. Dichroic was originally developed by NASA and is used in satellite optics and space suit visors.

The glass that Carol finds so fascinating she uses to create beautiful objects to wear and enjoy. Stop by the Co-op and see the wonderful collection of Carol’s dichroic affordable glass jewelry.

Children with creative minds

Creative children come in different packages, just like the many colors in a paint box. They all have certain similar traits, yet they are of all different colors and hues.

Do you have a child who can not be moved except by inspiration, who must have it perfect or it goes in the trash?  Do you have a child who has to do it his way, who is a dreamer and is too busy dreaming to take out the trash?  “What trash?” he asks, staring right at it. Your child is probably an artist.

Well, hold on to your socks, your struggles and blessings, have just begun.  These children will take you to the length of your tether and also beyond your wildest dreams.  However, they will grow up one day, but today that day may seem far away.

We have such a child, who is now grown.  We were singing one song and he was humming words to something that wasn’t yet written.  We begged him, pleaded with him, bribed him, prayed for him, but couldn’t appeal to him. To say the least, we were exasperated with him and he was exasperated with us.  We didn’t see the signs of a creative child, we only saw a child who wouldn’t do it our way. His talents were over the top.  Could I get him to practice the piano, not on his life.  Would he sing for his mother’s friends, no way! I wanted to brag on him and show off his many talents, he was appalled and wanted to hide.  You can see where this story is going.  Downhill, fast! 

In their struggle to be independent, there is a breaking away point.  The more you fight to make them the way you think they should be, the harder they resist to do it their way.  You are adding to their struggle because you do not understand who they are to be.

I asked Gail Hershey, art teacher at the middle school, if she found the same traits in her art students. She was very optimistic, saying, “My students have lots of elaborate ideas.  They are not afraid to take risks. I give them a project and they think in ways I could never imagine, such as Buddha’s head coming out of a dragon.”  By the way, that piece is currently on display at the Co-op along with other pieces by creative children.

Gail continues, “To get them to finish is the biggest challenge.  They want to keep working on their art.  Half finished is perfect, but not perfect enough for them.  If the piece is not up to their expectations, they throw it away and start again.  They start over again and again. I tell them to trust themselves.  You can do it and what you’ve done is good.”

So, for you who wonder what to do with that artistic child who has found his way into your home, take ease. This child is only half baked, but the ingredients in him gives him gourmet taste and a fascination for more than you yourself can provide or imagine.

This article was prompted by a conversation with my daughter.  She is raising a creative child who is like a boulder that cannot be moved.  When I serve him a meal, he is not haughty, but very specific about how he wants his plate to look and he tells me, “Grandma, I want my quesadillas cut in six pieces with a dollop of sour cream in the middle.”  Do I see those artistic traits?  You bet.

Daily calls to his mother from the school teachers are becoming the norm.  “In elementary school, he was a good student, what happened?” My daughter reminds her husband, “The stubbornness we struggle with today will be a strength we will admire and count on as he gets older.”

And, I remind her of her brother, who is now 40 years old and the head of a successful company of 3,000 people in the Philippines.  His employees dearly love him and he dines with the president of the Philippines.  The struggle that he had with us is a part of the understanding and caring he has for his employees.  He has far surpassed our dreams for him.  Does he sing?  Only when he wants to!  Do I have any bragging rights? No, I just see the grace of God. I’m thankful that we all are singing a new song today, and it’s kinda catchy!

The final brushstroke: Artistic children are songs that are in the making, their lyrics are being written in their struggle.

Comments from readers

“We quit fighting for what we perceive to be the life we want and trust the life we are given and start enjoying it.” This is my favorite line, “trust the life we are given. “ Thanks for that!  Super cool article, bravo!



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Quote for the Week

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” — Thomas Merton.

Photo courtesy Betty Slade
Jeweler Carol Theiss has always been fascinated with dichroic glass. She is currently showing her work at the Pagosa Artisans Co-op at 150 Pagosa St.