Gift Giving Guide for Every Budget

With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s just around the corner, stop in to The Squash Blossom for your holiday shopping!  From stocking-stuffers to the crown jewel under the tree, we have gifts for every budget and person on your list!  Follow our guide below for gift ideas that suit your budget!

Women’s Gift Ideas

Under $300

Sterling Silver Crown Ring – Earth Below Sky Creations, $160

Labradorite Necklace- KJ Designs, $294

$300-$500

Chain Bracelet- Indiri, $325

Opal Earrings- Nina Nguyen, $495

$500-$1000

Kingman’s Turquoise Cuff, $950

Carnelian and Citrine Necklace – Vasant, $600

$1000-$3000

Four Chain Necklace with Diamonds – Kurtalan, $2500

Rutilated Quartz and Oxidized Sterling Silver Bracelet – Ayesha, $1700

 

$3000-$5000

Opal with Stripes 24K Gold Earrings – ARA, $4350

18K Gold Multi Stone Ring – Todd Reed, $4400

Over $5000

Blue Moonstone and Opal 24K Gold Necklace – Gurhan, $6250

14K Gold and Onyx Squash Blossom, $8500

 

Men’s Gift Ideas

Under $300

The Lighthouse Birdhouse – Bud Smoot, $225

$300-$500

Elm Burl with Ebony Globe – Pete Nichol, $450

$500-$1000

Moose Haven Doorknocker – Mike Dwyer, $795

$1000-$3000

A Touch of Chrome Watercolor – Thomas Owen, $2405

$3000-$5000

English Pointer 3/30 Bronze – Daniel Glanz, $3600

 

 

 

Final First Friday of 2017: December ArtWalk

As the year comes to a close, we have just one more First Friday ArtWalk before the New Year!  We are proud to feature two local artists during our December ArtWalk: painter Laurel Bahe and woodworker Keoni.  Additionally, we are excited to welcome our new jewelry line, Indiri.

An ArtWalk veteran, Laurel Bahe is a retired accountant and self-described “Owloholic.”  The first step of her paintings is to stalk the owls that live in Monument Valley Creek.  She likes to ride her bike and take photographs of owls, though she confesses the owls she paints often bear little resemblance to the owls in photographs.  This freedom is part of her creative process. She says her paintings are, “bright, whimsical, wacky, and wild.”  Her paintings are in graffiti style, using stencils, stamps, and spray paint to achieve her signature look.  She paints owls in various sizes.  The ones of the 5×7 variety, she is so skilled at creating, that she can even paint them from the passenger seat of a car on a cross-country road trip!

We are thrilled to host woodworker Keoni in his first of our ArtWalks.  He will be doing a demonstration of his wood burning.  His wood pieces are re-imagined as woven and beaded basketry.  Inspired by Native American legends and mythology, he strives to use storytelling imagery.  Each of his pieces are decorated on both the front and back, creating a spectacular piece on both sides.   His tools are a lathe, fire, and ink.  He begins his process with a sketch and then spins a block of maple wood on a lathe.  Next, he uses concentric rings and lines to create his design, which is then hand carved and inked.  Each individual piece can have over 40,000+ individual cuts and color cells!

The Indiri Collection features handcrafted sterling silver from the island of Bali. The artisans who make these pieces learn the ancient techniques that have been passed down through generations.  Each piece is Fair Trade and supports independent artisans.

After our December ArtWalk, there will not be another ArtWalk until April, so you will not want to miss this amazing last ArtWalk of the season!  Get some of your Christmas shopping done, interact with local artists, and enjoy free refreshments.  We hope to see you in Old Colorado City on Friday, December 1 from 5-8 PM.

 

The Storywheel of Your Life

Storywheels are an elegant, creative way to mark milestones in your life.  The Squash Blossom has customers with over fifty Storywheels. The Storywheels company has spanned four generations.  Their mission is to celebrate life and inspire their customers.  With offices in New York City, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, the company strives to drive the jewelry industry.  All gemstones are sourced directly from mines and cut within the company.

The birth of a child or grandchild is a monumental occasion in one’s life.  Storywheels understands this and offers birth wheels, some of our best-selling wheels. Longtime customer, Susan Thomas said, “I have a large collection of Storywheels.  All are beautiful, but the ones with the most meaning to me are the birthwheels.”  She has a wheel with garnet, the January birthstone, to remember the birth of her daughter and a citrine wheel, the November birthstone, to commemorate the birth of her son.  She also has a growing list of grandchildren and adds a wheel for each one.  “I started with a blue topaz wheel for my first granddaughter. Now I also have an emerald wheel for my grandson and an aquamarine wheel for my second granddaughter.  I am expecting another grandchild this year and I can’t wait to add another birth wheel.  I love looking down and seeing the symbols of all my family,” she said.

Aside from births, there are plenty of other events that you can commemorate with Storywheels.  Sara Jones used to live in Texas so she purchased a dangle with the state of Texas.  Eleanor Danielles, completed a sailing trip around the Caribbean and got an anchor dangle to remember that event.  Beloved pets are also celebrated through the Storywheels. Sally Prunty expressed, “My family is not complete without our cat.  We adopted her as a rescue kitten and I bought a cat dangle to celebrate her induction into our family.”  Anniversaries are also a favorite amongst our customers. Kim Cruz has wheels in honor of her marriage, one-year anniversary, and five-year anniversary. “This year, my husband and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary and I asked him to get me the tenth anniversary Storywheel to celebrate.”

    Storywheels make the perfect gift for birthdays or holidays for avid collectors.  There are wheels of sports, animals, celestial themes, holidays, and hobbies. Jan Robertson stated, “I always get so excited when I see a Squash Blossom box on special occasions.  I know that it is another wonderful addition to my growing collection.”  Her husband Bill added, “It is great knowing that I can always count on Storywheels to be a valued, appropriate gift.  Her face always lights up when she receives a new wheel.”  It’s not too late to start a Storywheel collection.  Consider giving a loved one her first Storywheel and begin the exciting journey of celebrating a life.

Gorgeous in Glass: Celebrating Pumpkin Season

The days are getting cooler, the nights are getting longer, and the school year is in full force.  That can only mean one thing: it’s pumpkin season!   Make your pumpkin decoration stand out amongst the sea of plastic jack-o-lanterns and opt for a blown glass pumpkin.  The Squash Blossom is proud to offer designs by two talented artists: Jack Pine and Corey Silverman.

Jack Pine was born and raised in Circleville, Ohio.  Though the town is tiny, it is home to the country’s largest annual pumpkin show.  After years of studying the pumpkins at this show, he became inspired to perfect the art of glass pumpkins.  He studied glass blowing at the Columbus College of Art and Design and practiced his craft in Denver and Seattle.  Now, he has his own studio back in his home state of Ohio after over twenty years of experience. His pumpkins are known for their ornate stems and attention to color the whole way through the pumpkin.

The Furnace: a Glassworks is a studio in Lakewood, Colorado, just ten miles from downtown Denver.  The Furnace is home to Corey Silverman, who learned glassworks while earning a BFA at Alfred University.  The pumpkins by this company come in small, medium, and large sizes.  They also feature a titled design in the pumpkins and gourds.

The glass comes in many forms and colors.  From the traditional orange to a more whimsical blue, there is a pumpkin for all décor tastes.  The color is not painted, but rather applied hot from chips of colored glass. Expert skill is required, as the true colors are not visible until the glass has cooled.  For example, a white color will become completely transparent when it cools. Some pumpkins are sold individually, while others are offered as part of a set.  There are two types of pumpkin sets: mini and large. The mini sets come with one large pumpkin and two smaller ones, whilst the large pumpkin sets feature a large pumpkin, a medium, a small, and a gourd.  While pumpkins reach the height of their decorative and culinary popularity in September through November, these glass pumpkins make a classy and tasteful addition to home decorations all year long.  When the nostalgia for childhood pumpkin patches and jack-o-lantern carving hits, come select a blown glass pumpkin at the Squash Blossom.

November ArtWalk: Featuring Phil Lear and Mick Shimonek

Head down to Old Colorado City on November 3 from 5-8 PM to watch two of our newest painters in action.  The Squash Blossom is happy to welcome local artist Phil Lear and Nebraskan Mick Shimonek.

Phil Lear’s paintings are inspired by poetry. He says, “There is poetry in everything and the painter – like the poet, or musician, or sculptor – must bring it to attention, because he sees what others oftentimes do not.” His paintings are said to have a dream-like quality as he strives to portray his insight into the world around him. The style and brushstroke harmonize with his characters.

Phil was born in Ontario, Canada and cultivated his love of art at an early age, sketching, writing, and illustrating comic books.  His family moved to the United States in 1990, where he continued to grow his craft in high school art classes.  In 1993, he enrolled in Pensacola Christian College’s Commercial Art Program.  During this time, he discovered his love for Renaissance and Late Victorian era paintings and decided to pursue a career in art himself.  After creating artwork for missionaries in Switzerland, he returned to the States.  He is a member of the Portrait Society of America and furthers his studies at the Cottonwood Artists’ School.

Mick Shimonek is known for his distinctive style of large brushstrokes that blend into landscapes. His eye for design and color mesh with his imagination and unique view of the world.  His paintings feature mountains, rivers, lakes, and other natural wonders.  Mick studied at the University of Nebraska, Colorado Institute of Art, and Rocky Mountain School of Art.

Discover Alex Sepkus

“When I design a piece of jewelry, it is as if I am writing a book.”

Featured jewelry designer Alex Sepkus draws his inspiration from unexpected places. He cited his greatest sources of inspiration not as other jewelry, but as music and great literary works. “When I design a piece of jewelry, it is as if I am writing a book,” he said in an interview,  “Each design is a chapter, not in words, but in shapes and textures.”

Alex Sepkus little windows earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.
Alex Sepkus little windows earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.

Born in Lithuania, Sepkus studied industrial design with the intention of following in his father’s footsteps as an architect.  In his spare time he would carve miniature sculptures.  Under communism, he did not have access to precious materials.  Instead, he created his pieces with engraved stones, carved ivory and enamel painting.  This was the foundation of his unique artistic style, which would develop more and more as he started to create pieces of jewelry.

Sepkus immigrated to the United States in 1988. By the early 1990’s, he had opened Alex Sepkus Jewelry Studios in Manhattan with gemologist Jeff Feero.  Together they found, and continue to find, unusual and exceptional stone specimens to accompany the intricate designs that have become the signature of Alex Sepkus Jewelry.

Alex Sepkus Boulder Opal earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.
Alex Sepkus Boulder Opal earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.

This signature, however, comes at a cost; Sepkus’s jewelry is a product of great effort.  “I have no technical secrets,” he said.  “The main trick is the very intricate manual work that goes into the process.  I can explain the process to everybody.  But at the same time, I don’t think that I have ever seen a copy of my work somewhere.  It is just so labor intensive.”

An owner of a Sepkus piece can see and feel the intense hand-crafted process by which the piece was made.  Each piece has unique magnificence that highlights creativity and ingenuity–a piece that is a product of hard work and, not to mention, is fashionable.  What’s more surprising is that his designs are not premeditated, giving them a raw edge.

Alex Sepkus diamond eternity band, available at the Squash Blossom.
Alex Sepkus diamond eternity band, available at the Squash Blossom.

“I stopped making sketches years ago,” Sepkus said.  “I imagine the piece I want to make in my head, and the hands work by themselves.  Sometimes I get surprised at what comes out.”

Interested in owning a unique piece of Alex Sepkus jewelry yourself?  Stop into the Squash Blossom in Vail or check out our website to see a diverse collection of Sepkus’s work.

Raw Beauty: Jewelry by Todd Reed

A true pioneer in the jewelry industry, Todd Reed’s collections have re-defined luxury jewelry.  A lifelong artisan, Todd first dabbled in clothing, furniture, leatherwork, sculpture, painting, and even the culinary arts. Eventually, his path fortuitously crossed with a well-known diamond collector.  When speaking with a newspaper, he said, “He completely took me under his wing.  His love for diamonds was infectious, and he showed me the artistry and miniature sculpture that appeared in the rough stones.  I was riveted and wanted to know and see more.  I realized that my aesthetic was to create jewelry that would push the boundaries of what precious pieces could be, and to merge the freedom of artistic expression with the allure of fine jewelry.”

Todd Reed specializes in the use of raw diamonds and environmentally sustainable material.  Raw diamonds are the fastest growing industry within jewelry, largely because of the work done by Todd.  As he started drawing critical acclaim, he challenged the idea of what we consider precious.  He wants each of his pieces to have character.  When talking to a newspaper in Houston, he said, “When something is so glossy and perfect it doesn’t even exist. The cracks and fissures are what gives us character.”  Like in life, the raw diamonds have character and celebrate the perceived “flaws” of diamonds in their natural state.

If you love supporting Colorado designers, Todd Reed is as local as they come.  His studio space is located in Boulder, Colorado and he went to high school in Colorado Springs.  Whether you are looking for alternative wedding bands, a perfect piece to stand out in your jewelry collection, or a head start on a holiday gift for a special someone, the Squash Blossom has the perfect Todd Reed piece for you.

Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

          Mike Dwyer  lives in Loveland, Colorado.  He expressed an interest in wildlife from a young age and began carving songbirds and waterfowl out of wood in the fall of 1985.  As his style matured, his medium changed to bronze and his subject matter expanded. With a lifelong passion for observing wildlife in their natural surroundings, he also took an academic approach to his work. He has done field studies in threatened and endangered wildlife and earned a Master of Science in Orthinology, the study of birds.  He gets his inspiration from the outdoors and said, “I give God the glory for the gifts  and talents He has blessed me with.”

His bronze doorknockers are some of his most popular works and came about at the suggestion of a friend.  Since, then he has created fifteen other doorknocker designs of birds and animals.  From rustic cabins to suburban residences, the doorknockers make great accents for any house.  “Many of my clients homes are typical residential homes that have the perfect location on the door or next to the door on the trim board for their favorite bronze door knocker.  They are looking for very unique and functional bronze door knockers to accent the front entry of their homes,” Mike said.

            One of his most ambitious projects has been Pika’s in the Park, an interactive sculpture event in Estes Park.  The project began when the Estes Park Town Administrator and his wife, Frank and Jill Lancaster approached his booth at the Vail Fine Arts Festival.  Mike explains, “My trio of bronze Chipmunks caught their eyes, and he shared the idea of incorporating bronze Pika’s into a permanent interactive scavenger hunt in downtown Estes Park.  The Town of Estes Park then commissioned me to sculpt the 12 Pika’s, which then became Pika’s in the Park.” He has hidden bronze pikas around the town and guests can follow the clues to find all of the pikas.  The Squash Blossom also has three pikas hidden within our gallery walls.  Come stop by the gallery today and begin your search for Moomaw, Addie, and Muriel.  Clue: These pikas enjoy a sweet view.

Vasant, Isn’t She a Gem!

 Inspired by Beauty: Meet Designer Vasant

            During an annual yoga retreat to India seventeen years ago, an instructor showed Vasant some stones. The instructor then suggested that she design a necklace out of sapphires and Vasant created her own jewelry for the first time. “I fell in love with this simple sapphire necklace, everyone asked me about it over and over.  People were literally stopping me on the street to ask about it,” she said.  This triggered her love of gemstones.  When she returned to India for the yoga retreat the following year, she designed more jewelry and upon her return to the States, they sold rapidly.  In each piece, Vasant is inspired by nature and wants to supply beauty for her customers.

Born in England, but residing in Santa Barbara, California, Vasant considers herself a citizen of the world.  Her global travels are obvious in her world-inspired pieces.  India is the source of most of her inspirations, but her work has also been described as having a revived ancient and Roman quality. Vasant’s original career path involved the healing arts, spiritual counseling, and body work.  She also works as a yoga instructor in addition to her jewelry design.  She likes to say, “I didn’t choose jewelry, jewelry chose me.”

Vasant is known for her unique color combinations and always strives to bring the right stone to the right woman.  She says women usually know which stone is right for them.  She believes in the healing aspects of stones and says when women are drawn to a color, they are really choosing the stone that has the appropriate qualities she needs at that point in her life.  For instance, someone trying to heal a broken heart might choose rose quartz.

Above all, Vasant’s main goal is to create beauty.  She defines beauty as, “When you’re standing in nature and it takes your breath away.  It helps human beings when Mother Nature exposes herself in the colorful ocean, changing landscape, and even beneath the ground where you find incredible gems, that I use to make my jewelry.”  The stunning stones that she uses exemplify the power and beauty of nature. She says, “people are looking for the things that help them and bring beauty into their lives.  All artists want to create art in the world that will be remembered, to create something that brings beauty.”   Most of her pieces are one-of-a-kind and an important staple of each owner’s collection.  Stop by the Squash Blossom to see which piece is calling you.

 

Kathy Beekman Interveiw

Kathy Beekman is a soft pastel painter whose work emerges from the West and Midwest countrysides, she lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where her home and studio are perched at 8,600 feet.  “The vastness of the natural landscape here inspires my work.  My paintings reflect how I think and feel about my environment.”

She grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a small city surrounded by the farming communities that continuously inspire her subject matter:  the barns, clouds, open spaces and streams that conjure up idealized versions of the landscapes she experienced as a child. We were lucky enough to speak with the artist herself and ask her a little about her work and process.

 

When do you feel most compelled to create, what puts you in the mood, is there a creative ritual you go through?

 

“When creating in the studio I only create in the morning.  My painting days are scheduled throughout the month and this way I can prepare (aka psyche myself up/get into the zen zone) beginning the evening before.  The evening before my painting day, I prepare my painting table by laying out the sized paper I will paint on as well as laying out my pastels.  The next morning, after breakfast, I head straight to the studio and start in on the painting.”

  1. What made you gravitate to the medium of pastels?

 

“During college, I took a drawing class in which we experimented with pastel.  I fell in love with it immediately because of its immediacy and vibrancy in color.  It also doesn’t stink and is easily transported.”

 

  1. Is there anything you hope your audience leaves with after viewing your work?

“It is up to the viewer to create their own stories about the various Beekmans they view.  If they create their own story then they have connected with the painting and the painting has therefore become a success.”