Meet Your Merchant: The Snowmass Artisan Market
Makers, curators to sell art and other work at The Collective this weekend
For most of her life, Aspen-based artist Leah Potts wasn’t convinced that painting was a venture that could also be a way to make a living.
Potts decided to study graphic design in college; she was in the interview process for jobs in the field three months after graduating when a ski accident paralyzed her from the chest down and she lost the ability to use her dominant right hand. Art of any kind got “pushed aside” for nearly two decades while she worked through rehab, she said.
But four years ago, she realized “something was missing” — art. She learned to paint with her nondominant hand, took classes at the Art Base in Basalt and this summer applied to be a showing artist there. At a show in July, she sold more than 30 original watercolor wildlife paintings.
“I always thought that you couldn’t sell paintings,” Potts said, “and then I found out 20-some years later that you actually can sell paintings, and people love art.”
She’ll be proving that with a selection of originals, prints and cards for sale alongside at least eight other vendors at the Snowmass Holiday Market, which runs Dec. 17 and 18 from 3-7 p.m. in The Collective Hall.
The list of merchants includes a slate of artists, artisans and product curators based in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Makers will share products they’ve created — think jewelry, paintings, pottery and accessories — and curators will offer a selection from their shops, which also are stocked by artists and artisans. Angela DeFillipps, who runs the online lifestyle shop Inmiko, said she’ll have cocktail kits from Aged and Infused; Amanda Tanaka, who owns Ro + Fern in Aspen, said she plans to bring quilts and children’s clothes and accessories that are either Colorado-made or have a tie to skiing and snow.
For curators like Tanaka, it’s a chance to not only sell products but source them, too, she said; she has attended all of the markets held at The Collective in Base Village.
“I think that really inspired me to carry more local artisans and artists in the store, and so it’s really a great opportunity,” Tanaka said.
It goes both ways. Kelly Peters, who owns Straight Line Studio in Base Village and paints mountain landscapes, said the market offers a different way to connect with potential customers who might otherwise spot the work online. Peters will be selling giftable grab-and-go items like prints and hoodies and also helped introduce event organizer Sarah Sanders to artists who could be good candidates for the market, Peters said.
“I think it’s good to have (a) face-to-face connection with people, you know?” she said. “You’re always gonna remember meeting someone over (seeing) an Instagram post, so for me word of mouth, and just actually meeting my customer, that’s probably been the best way to sell.”
Mineral and Mine’s Kate Flynn, a self-described “one-woman show” and jewelry artist who has participated in all The Collective’s holiday markets as well as one of the summer markets, likewise said the events can be a way to introduce her work to new people.
She’s a resident artist at the Red Brick Arts Center in Aspen and said the markets helped her meet more folks who are staying in Snowmass. But it’s also a way to connect with her fellow artists, she said. Last year’s holiday market helped rekindle a community who hadn’t been able to meet as much during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a great way to kind of get back just that fun feeling of getting out of the house and being around other makers, which was gone for so much of last year,” Flynn said.
Potts, the watercolorist from Aspen, sees it as a community event — one she thinks will be “alive and exciting,” she said.
And while she has discovered that yes, you can indeed sell paintings, Potts finds that the meaning in sharing her art isn’t in closing a deal.
“I find art is healing in so many ways,” Potts said. “I believe art saves lives, and it’s brought more to my life and changed my life for the better. Just to have, you know, some place to express yourself. Pain, joy, things that you’re trying to overcome, and so I just feel grateful that it’s back in my life.”
As of Dec. 13, the lineup for the Snowmass Holiday Market includes the following merchants:
– Adam Ting (pottery)
– Inmiko (mixed drink kits and other curated products)
– Ironic Dilemma Designs (fringe purses and jewelry)
– Kelly Peters (paintings and prints)
– Leah Potts (paintings and prints)
– Lume (handcrafted candles)
– Mineral and Mine (jewelry)
– Ro + Fern (children’s clothes and baby accessories)
– two+two (reusable kitchen accessories)
Know a local business or maker who you think should be spotlighted in our “Meet Your Merchant” series? Email email@example.com.