Valley Art Co-op’s featured artists for October are Jeanette Amlie, painter and art-therapist, and Wanda Couzens-Smith, fiber artist and nurse. A public reception for Wanda and Jeanette will be held at Valley Art Co-op Gallery and Shop on October 16, 2015 from 4 to 7 pm. Light refreshments will be served.
Jeanette Amlie is originally from Minnesota, but her life has led her to Asia, Santa Fe and now Del Norte, Colorado. She holds a BA in Art from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in ceramics and paper-making, but her first love has always been painting.
Wanda Couzens-Smith is a fiber artist who grew up in Center, Colorado, and, like many other people, moved away from the San Luis Valley only to return. She came back eleven years ago and has a studio south of Monte Vista. She says of her love for fiber and making beautiful, wearable pieces by hand,
I started spinning fiber into yarn in 1998, learning from a friend when I lived in California. I loved the colors and feel of natural fibers, spinning them and working with them. I eventually raised angora rabbits in order to obtain their fiber. After learning to spin I decided I also wanted to learn to weave and to knit.
I learned to weave from one of the top weavers in the Southern California area, Janice Martin. I also learned to knit while living in Southern California. I entered many items in the Los Angeles County Fair and won a number of First Place ribbons. I also participated in spinning contests and won a number of prizes.
In 2004, my husband and I decided to raise Huacaya alpacas. At one point we had 19 alpacas on our farm south of Monte Vista. We also raised angora rabbits again. After my husband died, I gave the alpacas to the Navajo Nation through a donation program, and sold the rabbits. BUT I still have lots of fiber to spin.
I spin alpaca fiber and most any other natural fiber. I also blend my alpaca with other fibers. I have learned to felt using my fiber and enjoy making scarves or small items. I weave scarves and shawls. I knit a number of clothing items, including hats, scarves, shawls, socks, mittens and whatever else looks interesting. I mostly use natural yarns, many that I have spun myself.
I enjoy being in an artists’ group in the beautiful San Luis Valley.