Downtown Estes Park is known for all of their restaurants and shops. It seems like every few steps is a candy store with a taffy puller in the window. In addition to their assortment of edible delicacies they have some eye candy as well – art.
Earthwood Galleries has two storefronts in Estes Park, Earthwood Artisans and Earthwood Collections. The two locations are within walking distance of each other on opposite sides of E. Elkhorn Ave. Their regular hours are from 10am to 5:30pm, but on the first Friday of each month they are open late for their First Fridays event.
From 5pm to 7pm you can enjoy complimentary red or white wine as you browse their displays. Everything in their collections are handmade by American artists ranging in medium from glass to wood to metal and more.
One of the most intriguing novelties on display are the kaleidoscopes. These aren’t the little, plastic versions you might have played with as a child; these are works of art. They are aesthetically pleasing on the exterior with lots of colors making up their rhombus shaped scopes. At the end of the scope is a pen shaped piece of glass filled with liquid and glitter. When you look through the kaleidoscope, the liquid falls in the “pen” providing a show as the glitter swirls around. When the show ends, just flip it over to start it again.
Some of the art was humorous. Will Bullas’ paintings are captioned with clever quips that had us reading through the whole wall of his work from “Tequila Mockingbird” to “Sheep-faced” as we enjoyed the puns. His work proved that while a picture might be worth a thousand words, words and pictures work together beautifully for the best overall results.
There are functional pieces available for purchase as well. Dishes in a variety of colors, including sets with sponge holders to prevent water from dripping all over the counter. Mugs so you could take your coffee or tea to work in style. The wooden cutting boards are so beautifully crafted that they look too pretty to use and risk scuffing them up with a knife. You could deck out your whole kitchen with usable art.
In addition to providing wine, there is live jazz at Earthwood Collections performed by Max Wagner and Stu MacAskie. Wagner plays the saxophone and sings accompanied by MacAskie on piano. Their music creates a wonderful atmosphere and you might catch yourself swaying as you walk from display to display.
The gallery can be a little quiet in the winter months, but as the weather warms up and the crowds flock to Estes, the gallery fills with tourists and art lovers so the place is packed. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get some early Christmas shopping out of the way and support American artists at the same time. All in all, you’re in for a good time that will delight all of your senses at Earthwood Galleries’ First Fridays.