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Sure, art can add beauty to your home, but it can also fulfill a purpose, complete a task, or simply bring some joy to your daily routine. Here, meet six local creators from Colorado’s vibrant and diverse arts community whose creations will make your house sing.
Kazu Oba and Yuka Oba from O’baware
Who: Kazu and Yuka Oba’s romance started with clay. In 2015 Kazu, a Japanese-born Boulderite who apprenticed with Colorado sculptor Jerry Wingren and Japanese potter Takashi Nakazato, was visiting Fukuoka, Japan, and walked into a ceramics studio where Yuka was teaching. . (Kazu was on a mission to buy clay for a “guerrilla pot throwing” performance, during which he sets up a kicking wheel in the street and throws pots.) After their fateful meeting, Yuka joined Kazu in Colorado in 2016, they got married, and in 2019 they united their passions for ceramics by founding O’baware together in their Lafayette studio.
What: Kazu and Yuka collaborate with clients, both individuals and restaurants, to create pieces suitable for specific culinary purposes (like a dish of soy sauce or a bowl of rice). Their pitchers, vases, plates and cups have a sculptural elegance and a simple purpose: “We believe beauty lies in the function of the container,” says Kazu, adding that the artists aim to complement food with their creations. Made from over 20 varieties of clay, O’baware pieces are glazed in subtle shades ranging from celadon to mustard to pale blue. Yuka also produces a line of modern ceramic jewelry.
Visit the duo’s website for an updated list of restaurant collaborations, details of the shops and galleries where O’baware is sold, and access to the online store.
Laura Goodson from Laura Goodson Art
Who: Growing up in southwest Texas, Laura Goodson was immersed in a culture in which cowboys were prominent figures in the community known for helping others. His grandfather taught him how to draw a cowboy hat when he was 5 years old, and it remained the sum total of his artistic experience until 2018, when Goodson had the idea to impress a potential date with a hand painted canvas. The object? A cowboy wearing a hat. The success of this grand gesture led to a whirlwind solo show and launched a whole new career for Goodson, who had originally moved to Denver for a job as an environmental engineer. Today she is the creative force behind Laura Goodson Art, producing paintings, prints, murals and more. Oh, and this date? Goodson had the daughter, and now they’re engaged.
What: Moody and monochromatic, Goodson’s bold paintings of cowboys put a new spin on traditional Western imagery. “All of the cowboys I paint represent a different version of myself,” she says of the unique characters, which possess such strong personalities that their new owners often give them names. “The play is now part of the family,” says Goodson. “When people bring it home, I hope it brings them good energy, hope, support, loyalty and confidence in their day.” For his avid followers, Goodson launched the online Cowboy Country Club, whose members have early access to new works sold on the website; she also collaborates with hotels and restaurants on personalized projects.
Back to his roots, Goodson bought and renovated a vintage hotel in the Texas Hill Country. The retro-cool 19-room hostel, adorned with Goodson’s murals, will open in November as the Cowboy Motel.
The glass artists
Nate Steinbrink and Cortney Boyd of Studio & Gallery Stream
Who: Nate Steinbrink and Cortney Boyd met as undergraduates at Hastings College in Nebraska before each pursuing master’s degrees in glass art. Steinbrink then worked as a curator of museum exhibits, while Boyd taught graphic design and glass art. In 2014, they decided to leave those jobs behind and open a community studio in the Clayton neighborhood of Denver, inviting glass artists, including first-timers, to learn and experiment in their shared space.
What: Steinbrink blasts glass in rich clouds of color, creating sculptural glasses, bowls and fixtures that capture a sense of movement. “Glass can be like water suspended in time,” he says. Boyd uses techniques of melting, sagging (shaping glass using a mould), and molding to produce intricate kiln-formed dishes and serving platters that often feature intricate color patterns. “Glass can be transparent, translucent and opaque; glass is fragile and strong, which makes it a diverse material for creating works of art,” she says. The duo hope their creations for the home will bring beauty and calm to everyday life. “Whether appetizers or keys, we want our work to make what’s in it beautiful!” Steinbrink said.
Along with custom orders, Boyd and Steinbrink are working on new lighting designs and planning future outdoor sculpture projects. Check out their work at Flux Studio & Gallery, where you can even see a glassblower in action.
The textile artist
Julie Malone from Julie Peach
Who: Julie Malone had no idea she was setting the stage for future success when, at age 11, she started her e-commerce career selling wearable fairy wings on eBay. After business school and a stint as a corporate buyer for brands such as Anthropologie and Kmart, she gained the confidence to develop her small side job printing linoleum blocks, called Julie Peach. , into a full-fledged company.
What: “I stumbled across block printing somewhere down a rabbit hole on the internet,” says Malone. “The little blocks created wonderfully whimsical patterns from abstract marks.” Splashed with sunny patterns in fresh beach colors, Malone’s hand-printed natural fiber pillow shams, napkins, table runners and tea towels add a splash of energy to the home. Her collections are inspired by her vacation daydreams, like a recent pattern she based on Ojai’s Pixie tangerines. Aiming to lift people’s spirits through her work, Malone says her lively prints “increase the vibrations in your home.”
Malone is launching a line of stocking stuffers to add to his fall/holiday 2022 collection of table linens and tea towels, with hand-quilted bedding coming in 2023. Malone sells his work online and at boutiques such as Lafayette’s Local Goods Colorado and Leadville’s Elevation Goods.