In October we headed from Idaho to Boulder, Colorado, through the beautiful plains of Wyoming.
We arrived in South Boulder late at night and landed the Gypsy Caravan at Celine’s place. Celine is an old friend from NYC that I hadn’t seen since the 90s. Seeing her brought back memories of my first fashion show. Celine was backstage giving a hand. She always carried her camera to capture the moments. She gave me a batch of photos from that fashion show, including some photos from that runway that I didn’t have. You can see some of my design work at www.violetavillacorta.com.
I’ve been to Boulder many times, since my brother moved there from NYC to go to college. It is always inspiring when we get to experience it for more than a few days. Boulder is a wonderful city surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountain views with vast blue skies, innovative architecture and a conscious demographic.
Boulder is family friendly, with beautiful parks, hikes, good public transportation system and delicious restaurants that offer yummy vegan menus for those of us who opt to eat a plant-based diet for environmental, humane and health reasons. Fresh Thymes has some really tasty dishes. I got hooked on their yummy gluten-free pizza dough and vegan horchata.
Another spot that we enjoyed was Ras Kassas Ethiopian Restaurant. I love eating all those veggie delights with my hands and their delicious spongy injera bread. Though they have relocated to a new location, Ras Kassas is worth the drive.
Boulder is also home to the University of Colorado Boulder campus. UC Boulder is in the top 10 for aerospace engineering, atomic/molecular/optical physics, ceramics, education policy, environmental law, geology, physical chemistry and quantum physics. It attracts an international student body that adds to Boulder’s rich culture.
A sought after home base, many people from Los Angeles and New York have moved there in search of a better lifestyle. House prices are still on the rise there, and Google has chosen this beautiful mountain setting as their new headquarters, which will add a new dynamic to this idyllic city.
We did not expect snow to fall so early in the fall. But we caught a couple of days of snow fall and had to make due in a non-winterized trailer. We’ve been chasing warmer weather since we left Canada. Nature always surprises!
The trailer and truck covered in snow at Celine’s.
On some of the warmer fall days, I skated a few times all the way from south Boulder to my brother’s place near downtown. It was such good exercise with gorgeous scenery. I loved passing by the university campus. Though, at one point I was going so fast on a downhill turn and went down. Luckily, I just dusted the grass off and kept going. I avoided that curve the next time around! It took about an hour from south to downtown Boulder on skates. It was so fun to use skates as my preferred mode of transportation.
I hadn’t used skating as transportation in a very long time. Since the rough and hilly roads in the mountains of Idyllwild were not ideal for that. Though, I often skated at the park with some Idyllwild friends and their kids from spring through fall. I used to skate, walk or bike allover Manhattan from the East Village when I lived there. In Los Angeles, it was a great way to beat traffic. I also skated to work when I was senior designer at Patagonia in Ventura, CA. Opting for my old school quads, instead of my Prius.
On arrival, after catching my breath, I’d play with my nieces, jumped on the trampoline, while Dylan worked back at the trailer. I put everything on the back burner to spend time with the family. Children grow up so fast. I want to savor every moment. Especially, while I can join them and play like a kid with them. I get to be “fun aunty,” as they call me. I am honored by it.
My brother, nieces and their friend did a live “jib jab” – as the girls called it – when they came to visit us at the trailer. So fun being playful!
Seeing my sister-in-law (or sister-in-love, as I rather call her) reminds me of the vast amount of work a mother juggles in a day – by far more work than any paid profession. Megan is a phenomenal mom and talented artist, whose work we sold at our store in the past. My brother Abel is the the principal at Sol Brandesign, focused on guiding the growth of start-ups and young companies through innovation, strong design, branding strategy and effective marketing. Currently, he works as the director of marketing for The Farm, a vertically-integrated cannabis firm that operates multiple cultivation facilities throughout Boulder County. He is also the Dojo director and lead instructor of Boulder Ki Aikido.
I finished a big painting back in British Columbia and asked my brother and Megan to hang it at their place while I listed it for sale. They had the perfect wall for this 6 ft wide by 5 ft tall painting. This one stayed in the family! They loved it so so much they did not want to see it go to another buyer, so they bought it. Family can sometimes be a tough sell. I’m grateful they appreciate my creativity.
I also completed a collection of smaller paintings themed Trophy Hunter. A commentary on trophy hunting. Using recycled canvases, lace and acrylics, these majestic animals are paid homage in this series, while being an ode to the sacred feminine and Pan, God of the wild, flocks and shepherds. They are available for sale at the Sage & the Butterfly.
We were fortunate to be in Boulder during the two weekends of Open Studios, where we got to tour a number of artists’ studios and met talented locals from around the country and the world, who have chosen Boulder as their home.
Eva Maier is a multimedia artist from Switzerland, whose paintings, clay and fiber collages are whimsical and full of light. A bear wearing a tribal skirt, a crochet dress on a clay sculpture, tiny clay shoes, and brightly colored paintings are pure magic. We talked about doing a collaboration. So, stay tuned for that.
Eva shares her studio with other artists. They feed of each other’s creativity. Each artist with very unique styles. Julie Ireland is a fiber artist that uses quilting as her creative expression. One particular quilt made of upcycled denim jeans that was mounted on the wall reminded be of antique Japanese indigo textiles. It was exquisite.
A few blocks away was Carolyn Douglas. Her almost life-size clay sculptures are beautiful and enchanting. Every corner of her home studio told a magical story. At one point, I sat on a couch and was surprised by the sculpture sitting in a lotus pose that for a moment I thought was a real person. Here’s the artist and the sculpture below.
Further away, we drove to Daev Finn‘s studio. Daev is a multifaceted artist and game developer who moved with his family to Boulder from Los Angeles. His rich landscapes of the Rockies stood out with bold angles and color. This one below, particularly, was my favorite.
Last on our list, among the many studios to see, was Bunny Rosenthal-Rubin’s studio. Bunny’s paintings and illustrations graced her studio and their stunning 1970’s designed Granite Drive house in the mountains, just 20 minutes from downtown. The home itself was a treat to see. Designed in a circular style, the kitchen dining and living area wrapped around a center fireplace that met a gorgeous ceiling. Her husband gave as a tour of the home. They kept the original 1970 decor, which was in impeccable condition. I wish we’d taken pictures of it. But we didn’t want to impose. It was wonderful that we were given a tour of this architectural gem.
You can see my Facebook album with more photos of our time in Boulder and by clicking on the f icon on the right below .
We love discovering new places and artists. Check out our previous stories. Stay tuned for Santa Fe, NM next!