Wednesday, December 1, 2010

West SouthWest Gallery

The other night we went to the West SouthWest Gallery to celebrate the gallery's 15th Anniversary.  The gallery owners, Dudley and Ronda Smith, were on my last guided tour of San Miguel de Allende and the surrounding area.
Dudley is holding one of the magnificent pots from Mata Ortiz, Mexico.  Behind him are two men from Mata Ortiz demonstrating their fine craft.
It was Juan Quezada at the age of twelve who started this craft that has changed the economic level in this dusty little town.  Juan abandoned school and went to work in the fields.  Mata Ortiz, also known at Casa Grandes, sits on the old ruins of a civilization that was thriving 600 years ago.  When working the fields, Juan would find the occasional pottery shard with a variety of different geometric designs.  With the right mixture of clays at his disposal, he started making these meticulously painted little pots.  Now there are over 400 artists dedicated to this craft in his town.
The pieces from Mata Ortiz have such an intricate design and the varnished finish is exquisite.
The gallery also features the Colorado landscape oils by Mick Shimonek.
The bold colors of Shimonek's paintings really capture the outdoors of Colorado, especially Colorado's blue, blue sky.
These handsome baskets are from the Darien Rainforest in Panama.  The Smith's gallery is full of beautiful pieces ranging from Indian jewelry (Ronda had a striking bracelet on that evening that was made by Ben Nighthorse Campbell), Navajo folk art, Zuni fetish animals, home accessories, hand woven scarves and much more.  A great place to shop and right in Cherry Creek!

West SouthWest Gallery
257 Filmore St.
Denver, CO
Open daily with free parking in the back.
Check out their website,  

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