Coal Creek artists sell creations, support peers


By Jeffrey V. Smith
A group of mountain-based artists and crafters living in Gilpin, Boulder, and Jefferson counties have joined forces as Tri-County Mountain Crafts. Group members present their creations for sale, Sept. 19-20, at their annual Autumn Arts Sale at the Coal Creek Canyon Improvement Association Hall.

The groups 10 members live and create in the mountains and were assembled for their diverse talents by Coal Creek Canyon resident and machine embroiderer Linda Caldwell. Members meet monthly, present seasonal arts and crafts shows of their own, attend other arts sales and support each other and their work.

“I was interested in getting a group of friends together to form a craft group that would have diversified talents, so I started discussing it with some of my very talented friends who knew other very talented people, and our group was formed,” Caldwell said. The first meeting was in January 2012 and they have been active since.

The group was purposefully assembled to include members with diverse skills and without overlapping artistic skills. According to Caldwell, “We are a very eclectic group with entirely different talents from each other, but we all help one another in various ways such as ideas for craft shows that are not Tri-County sponsored, where an artist might find supplies for his/her craft or suggestions for an object or piece.”

Caldwell, the group’s president, is owner of On the Verge Machine Embroidery and has been doing her craft for 14 years. “I make almost anything that is made from thread and can be made on a embroidery machine,” she said. She creates items such as free standing lace bowls and doilies and embroideries on cloth, wood and almost anything that will fit in an embroidery machine hoop.

Other group members include Omayra Acevedo, a photographer specializing in wild-life and the outdoors; Beth Demming, a tye-dye shirt specialist who “takes this form of art to a whole new dimension;” Dede Downing, who makes quilts, purses and many other fabric-related items; and wood worker Ryan Henderlong, who creates unique wooden bowls.

Tri-County Mountain Crafts also consists of jeweler Kim Holloway, who creates “very unique and eye-catching pieces;” Helen Keen, who makes mittens from recycled sweaters and aprons from antique tablecloths; Yelena Lavrinenko, a potter who makes clay pieces such as bowls and vases; Cindy Riegel, a fused glass creator and potter who created “Flood Mugs” that arose from the Sept 2013 flood; and Eliza Zimmerman, who makes “soothing” soap from goat’s milk and one-of-a-kind, hand-made greeting cards.

Caldwell said the group tries to keep its membership limited to 12 people, “so we are looking for a couple of artists who don’t overlap our current members.” She suggested a glass blower, candle maker, painter or sketch artist would be good additions. “We look for talented, dedicated and dependable people,” she said. “We meet once a month, and attendance is a strong requirement.”

Members of the Tri-County Mountain Crafts group display their art at the Coal Creek Coffee Shop, 30509 Hwy. 72, and sponsor the annual Spring Fling show in April or May and the Autumn Arts Festival each September at the Coal Creek Canyon Improvement Association Hall, 31528 Hwy. 72. They also participate in various other crafts and art shows throughout the year.

This years marks the second annual Autumn Arts Festival as it was canceled in 2013 due to the flood and all the roads to Coal Creek Canyon being closed.

The 2014 event takes place Sept. 19, from 6-9 p.m. and Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the CCCIA Hall, 31528 Hwy. 72 in Coal Creek Canyon. Admission is free including door prize drawings. Food and beverages are provided free to anyone attending on Friday and for a nominal fee on Saturday.

If anyone is “seriously interested” in group membership and has an artistic skill unique to the group, contact Caldwell at with “TCMC membership” in the subject. Visit for more information.

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