January Featured Artists — Amity Nicholson and Kay Harris-Risdahl

Featured Artists for January, 2016 at Valley Art Co-op Gallery and Shop are Amity Nicholson and Kay Harris-Risdahl. A public reception will be held for them at the shop, 925 1st Ave, Monte Vista, CO on January 16 from 3 to 6 pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Beadwork by Amity Nicholson

Amity Nicholson was born in Phoenix Arizona, but has been in and out of the San Luis Valley her whole life. She graduated high school from Sangre De Cristo in Mosca, Colorado. She has three beautiful children who bring so much joy to her life.


Of her beadwork, Nicholson says:

“A few years ago I bought some beading supplies and taught myself how to make Southwestern Style (Native American Inspired) beaded jewelry, as I have always wanted to learn this beautiful art. Turns out I have a knack for it and I really enjoy it, so when I am not spending time with my growing children and my husband, I take time for myself to make jewelry. I really enjoy the work and sharing my art with others.”


Knitted Shawl by Kay Harris-Risdahl

Kay Harris-Risdahl says she inherited her love of fiber art from her grandmother who taught Kay to embroider and knit before she was ten.”I am reminded of her every day as I look around my house at her beautiful work in rugs, needle-point pillows and other items. These works of art and memories of watching her work continue to inspire me.”

Kay’s interest in wool and spinning took off in Montana where, as she pursued her Masters Degree in Animal Science, she had the opportunity to “…handle thousands of fleeces during shearing at some of the large sheep ranches throughout the state. This included tying, throwing, skirting, grading and sorting as well as setting wool aside for my own use. I learned to work with wool from animal to finished product. I fell in love with spinning and attended many spinning, dying and felting workshops.”

While living in southeastern Montana, Kay taught many spinning  and basketry workshops. Before returning to the San Luis Valley — where she grew up — she was part of a group of women who started a wool processing mill in Broadus, Montana.

Kay returned to the San Luis Valley in 2004. Since then, she has,
“…enjoyed spinning and weaving while raising two daughters and working full time in Special Education throughout Valley schools. I’m now focused on caring for my mother, my horses, spinning and knitting fiber fro my huge stash and enjoying the fiber art community.”

Woven Shawl by Kay Harris-Risdahl

Valley Art Co-op Gallery and Shop Winter Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10 to 4 Closed: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Valley Art Co-op is looking for new members. If you’d like to find out more call (719) 298-0266 between 10:00 am and 4:00, Wednesdays through Saturdays or email: valley.art.coop@gmail.com


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