March Featured Artists: Cary Aloia and Wanda Couzens-Smith

Light Through Aspen
Light Through Aspen, Cary Aloia

Cary Aloia, Photography —

Cary Aloia is originally from Michigan and moved to the San Luis Valley 15 years ago.  She is a wetland biologist that works throughout the SLV, Colorado, and the US.  Her work allows her to experience many different landscapes and wildlife that she captures through her photography.

Photography for her is a means to translate a moment that strikes a feeling; whether it’s moody and dark, full of adrenaline, or peaceful and contemplative. She carries a camera with her through all of her outdoor adventures, in work and play, but has only recently put her work on display.

Crane courtship, Cary Aloia-4x6
Sandhill Crane Courtship by Cary Aloia

Most of her photos have some aspect of motion and movement. They are usually not crisp images but blurred in some way to show a different perspective, instill a feeling,  ask a question.

She enjoys working with her photos to bring out new and slightly different perspectives to give it a unique quality, such as highlighting a certain color that shows the motion of the feathers in a bird’s wing.


Hand-knit Wool Shawl, Wanda Couzens-Smith

Wanda Couzens-Smith, Fiber Artist —

Wanda Couzens-Smith grew up in the San Luis Valley, lived various other places during her life, and now has a studio south of Monte Vista.

She started spinning fiber into yarn in 1998. She loved the colors and feel of natural fibers, spinning them and working with them. She eventually raised angora rabbits in order to obtain their fiber. After learning to spin Couzens-Smith decided she also wanted to learn to weave and to knit.

Couzens-Smith learned to weave from one of the top weavers in the Southern California area, Janice Martin, through the Tri-Community Weavers. She also learned to knit while living in Southern California. During that time, she entered many items in the Los Angeles County Fair and won a number of First Place ribbons. She also participated in spinning contests and won a number of prizes.

Hand-spun Yarn by Wanda Couzens-Smith

In 2004, back in the San Luis Valley, Couzens-Smith and her husband decided to raise Huacaya alpacas and had as many as 19 alpacas on their farm south of Monte Vista — along with angora rabbits. When her husband passed away, Couzens-Smith gave the alpacas to the Navajo Nation through a donation program, and shesold the rabbits. BUT she still has lots of fiber to spin. She sells finished items such as scarves, mittens, hats, shawls, socks, un-spun fiber and hand-spun yarn in the Valley Art Co-op Gallery and Gift Shop. She uses natural fibers, many of which she has spun herself.

A public reception will be held on March 18th from 3 – 6 pm at the Valley Art Co-op Gallery and Gift Shop, 925 1st Avenue, Monte Vista CO. Light refreshments will be served.




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