Founded in 1968 by a group of Golden artists, the Foothills Art Center in Golden is located in a renovated 1872 Gothic church just a few blocks from the lively downtown area. In addition to exhibiting the visual arts in many mediums, the Center offers classes, lectures,seminars and tours.
Their latest exhibit, Splinter! Colorado Wood Today, is a beguiling mixture of design, craft and art that features the work of 15 diverse artists, including Leo Franco, who is currently a full-time member of the Santa Fe Art District's Spark Gallery. His sculptures combine shapes made of unusual hardwoods, wire and plexiglas and bring to mind Kandinsky's work during his geometric period. He notes, "Working in wood is different from other materials because the wood's natural beauty is already inherent in the wood and I just enhance it through my art. A piece can take anywhere from an hour to 6 months to create. It depends on whether or not I'm starting from a sketch or if the piece just evolves over time."
There's also a fascinating collection of marquetry work from Colorado woodworkers in the auxiliary gallery, located right next door in a Victorian mansion (please note the different hours for this show).
The $5.00 admission fee (free for kids and students) is the best bargain around, and the Center also offers a well-stocked gift shop featuring wares from local artisans.
This show might inspire you to try your own hand at woodworking, and Denver has lots of places to learn how. For the young set, check out the free weekly DIY projects for kids at Home Depot.
Classes for adults are available at Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, and range from Woodworking 101 to Log Furniture, while the Fine Woodworking and Lutherie Department at Red Rocks Community College offers an impressive array of degree and certificate programs and is the second largest woodworking program in the nation.
You can learn to make an electric guitar, rocking chair or ice cream scoop at Woodcraft of Denver or get private instruction from Woodworks Studio. And, of course, DPL has lots of resources for the aspiring woodworker. Here's just a few:
Woodworking: Techniques & Projects for the First Time Woodworker by John Kelsey (2013)
Wood Pallet Projects by Chris Gleason (2013)
Bookcase with Bracket Feet (DVD) by Fine Woodworking (2010)
The rocky Mountain Marquetry Guild offers free Saturday marquetry workshops twice a month at locations in the Boulder/Louisville area. These workshop provide all materials and tools needed to produce a simple finished marquetry piece. An excellent way to try the art form without any investment under the guidance of local professionals. Becoming a member of the guild expands on this with monthly meetings featuring in depth programs and discussions on marquetry and parquetry. More information is available at www.comarquetry.org.
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