3rd Annual Gilpin Artist Studio Tour features new, veteran participants

Pastel by Virginia Unseld

Gilpin County artists are in the final stretch of finishing mosaics, firing pots, pouring candles, polishing jewelry, framing paintings and welding sculptures to prepare for art enthusiasts to visit their studios, Sept. 20-21, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The weekend-long Gilpin Art Studio Tour is free and open to the public. Enjoy the fall aspen leaves and learn about the artists living and working in Gilpin County.

The public is also invited to meet the artists participating in the tour and see a preview of their work, Sept. 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Gilpin Public Library.

The Gilpin Art Studio Tour, now in its third year, welcomes several new artists to the event while highlighting popular veterans.

The tour is proud to present new artists this year. Gabriellel Gerwitz will be exhibiting one of a kind ceramic pieces. She creates both functional work with patterned glazed textures based on things she sees in nature. Gabrielle learned her craft at Hunter College in New York and is one of the kiln masters at the Gilpin Clay Studio . Her prices range from $15 to $150. Last year Gabrielle was part of the Gilpin Clay Studio stop on the tour but this year she and her husband David Serrano will welcome visitors to their home studio. David Serrano is a surrealist painter from Barcelona, Spain. He moved to Gilpin County with his wife three years ago. He is inspired by the world around him. He will not be selling his paintings during GAST, but has opened his studio to visitors for the first time.

Julie Ikler has lived in Gilpin County on and off for the past 30 years. Her work is a form of mosaic called “Pique Asiette”, which translates to “broken plates”. Julie uses chipped pieces of china or pottery, along with found objects, glass and tiles . . . fitting things together like puzzle pieces and combining various shapes and colors into a pleasing design. Julie studied art at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, and says,”I feel like I have finally found a medium that really speaks to me. The possibilities are endless!” Julie’s mosaics range in price from $50 to $500 and she is beginning to accept commissions. So bring that broken plate that belonged to your grandmother and let Julie design a new life for it.

Artist Tom Cowherd is a retired electrical engineer who lives with his wife north of Black Hawk. After 20 years on a farm in Northwest, Mo, he recently moved to Colorado to live in the mountains. Tom has always enjoyed Native American art and began studying earth-centered spiritualties in 1999. He developed both a love and appreciation for Mother Nature’s elements of art. Using natural stones and minerals, Tom creates simple settings with sterling silver and copper, always aiming to enhance the beauty of the stone Tom learned his silversmithing at the Genevieve Flynn Studios in Kansas City, MO. Tom is excited to be living in Gilpin County and experiencing the energy of the stones and minerals in Colorado as he creates affordable jewelry .

Gary Kragenbrink is a Central City sculptor. He has lived in Gilpin County for 27 years. He welds whimsical sculptures, both large and small. “ Sophisticated repurposing is a fancy term for found or cast off metal items turned into art objects that bear very little resemblance to their former lives,” explains Gary. “My past regular careers of building Package Industrial steam boilers, building maintenance, HVAC Service Technician, and Public Works Operator for a small front range city (42 years experience) have given me the knowledge to fabricate with metal. And the skills to use the tools to do so. The rest is just imagination and a good sense of humor.” Gary-s prices range from $65 to $2700. Gary’s studio will be open Saturday only.

Violet Aandres returns this year after a one year hiatus. Violet is at the northern tip of the tour. She paints glorious Colorado scenes and wildlife in watercolor and collage. She is often inspired by her amazing garden. Virginia Unseld and Bambi Hansen share a stop on the tour. Virginia is a landscape painter who focuses on painting with pastels. She has won many awards for her paintings and she will have both framed work and studies for sale. Bambi is a long time member of The Environmental Group in Coal Creek Canyon and practices what she preaches about reduce/reuse/recycle by creating sophisticated earth colored candles from recycled wax. Her candles are shaped like pine cones, pyramids, cylinders and rectangles and come in a variety of sizes.

Gigi Lamont is a longtime Gilpin resident and ceramic artist who specializes in raku firing. Raku is a Japanese technique which involves adding combustible materials to the firing when the pot is red hot. This produces luminous glazes that are mysterious and gorgeous. Her long wall pockets and wall sculptures of bears and bison have been collected for years by Gilpin residents.

Forrest Anderson owns and operates Wabi Pottery on Virginia Canyon Road in Russell Gulch, just under 6 miles from Central City. Probably the longest Gilpin resident on the tour, Forrest began making pots at his studio under his house in the 1960’s. His functional mugs, casseroles, flower pots, tea pots and many other items have been favorite wedding gifts for decades. They feel good in your hands and look great on your counter. His studio showroom is a refurbished Victorian mining cabin behind his house. The furthest southern point on the tour is a stop not to be missed.

In addition to individual studios, there are three group stops on the tour. The Gilpin Library will be open Saturday to showcase a sampling of all the artists’ work. Gilpin Clay Studio at the community center will have the work of master potter and instructor Steve Briggs and 10 of his students. Finally, the Gilpin Arts Association features the work of its members at the historic gallery in Central City.

To get a free tour map, visit or pick up a flyer at any of the artist’s studios, Gilpin Library or the many sponsors. There will also be road signs with balloons to direct people to studios


September 11 • 5:30pm-7:30pm
Gilpin County Library, 15131 Hwy. 119

September 20-21 • 11am-5pm
Various Locations

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