‘Two daughters’ celebrate special connection to Aspen
July 17, 2009
BASALT – Two long-time locals who come from families that infused Aspen with artistic flair after World War II are celebrating a special anniversary Friday.
Jess Bates (Hayes) and Lynne Mace are carrying on traditions started by their families 60 years ago. Mace’s family relocated to the Castle Creek Valley in 1949. Her parents, Stuart and Isabel Mace, opened the Toklat Wilderness Lodge and Husky Kennel. The lodge included gift shops and, later, a gallery, known for its unique handcrafted art.
Bates’ dad, Jim Hayes, moved to Aspen in 1949 and established himself as a silversmith. His silver aspen leaf belt buckles soon became a status symbol for locals and frequent visitors. Bates’ mom is Mary Eshbaugh Hayes, a journalist who chronicled Aspen’s transformation from a sleepy village to a thriving ski resort and, ultimately, a playground for the uber-wealthy. She has written the Around Aspen column from more than 50 years.
“Creativity was unavoidable both at home and at school where I was placed in an experimental classroom,” Bates said. Her artistic side blossomed. She apprenticed with her dad and has been a silversmith since 1982. She returned to Aspen earlier this decade to help her dad run his business when he experienced health problems. She didn’t want to see the family business fade away. Ultimately she became the owner of Hayes Gold and Silversmithing.
The family business was also central to Mace’s upbringing. “Growing up, I shoveled a lot of dog poop, brushed a lot of dogs to capture their fur for yarn, drove a small racing sled, fended off four brothers, helped my father make jewelry for a short spell and always worked in the gift shops we had,” she said. After graduating from the Aspen High School class of 1964, with 12 classmates, she left Aspen for 30 years. She returned when her father died in 1993 and managed Toklat Gallery. She became owner of Toklat when she and her mother moved it to Basalt in 2005.
Bates and Mace are teaming to present “Two Daughters,” an exhibit celebrating 60 years of handcrafted art at Toklat and 60 years of aspen leaf jewelry from the Hayes. An opening reception will be held from 6-9 p.m. Friday at Toklat Gallery in Basalt. Mace’s ad promises “yummy munchies, superior wine, average beer, sparkling cider and a special musical treat” from a trio of students at the Aspen Music School.