Thursday, September 4, 2008

Milagro Jewelry on the Front Page.

Check it out, Rachel and I are on the cover of The Denver Post today. The Your Hub section Editor interviewed us last Friday. Enjoy!

Workshops offer creative freedom

Kerry Feiman, left, and Rachel Hanson work on jewelry pieces during open studio time Aug. 29.
Kerry Feiman, left, and Rachel Hanson work on jewelry pieces during open studio time Aug. 29.
Provided by: Kristin Morin

Contributed by: Kristin Morin/ on 9/3/2008

Decades ago the house on the corner of East Simpson Street and South Finch Avenue was a center for learning. Not much has changed.

What once was the first kindergarten in Lafayette, the blue building at 600 E. Simpson St. is now The Helen Parker Art Studio, where skills are being taught to an entirely new generation through its recently reinstated open studio time twice a week.

The Helen Parker Art Studio serves as the home of Milagro Jewelry, a business run by Rachel Hanson, of Lafayette, and Kerry Feiman, of Superior.

"We work three days minimum and we're open at least two (days)," Feiman said.
What started out as just friends stopping by to see their work and doing some shopping has grown into numerous classes for students 13 and older.

"There's hardly ever classes for adults," Jacqueline, of Lafayette, said as she worked on a small pocket mirror Aug. 29. "A lot of adults, I don't think, have a chance to be kids."

Open studio time began a few years ago, and after a summer-long hiatus, recently re-opened the studio to the public.

Hanson and Feiman, both mothers, said the open studio largely follows the Boulder Valley School District schedule. After the summer break, the studio is gearing for what is usually its busiest season.

"We usually have at least a couple people in here each Friday," Feiman said. "In the fall we definitely have more, doing their holiday shopping."

Handmade pendants with family photos are often a popular gift idea at the studio.
"It's just nice to be a part of someone making something for someone else," Hanson said. "Instead of buying a gift, this has a little more purpose and intent behind it. Hopefully that trend is continuing to grow."

Drop-in open studio takes place Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Hanson and Feiman offer a variety of workshops like collaged candles, beaded servers, collaged journals, pocket mirrors, card making, collaged pendants and gypsy bracelets.

"People don't realize what a skill we have just using our hands," Jacqueline said. "It's an extension of your feelings."

The studio is a small workshop behind Hanson's house that the two friends renovated and decorated for their work space. Open studio participants get a cup of coffee and basic instruction from Hanson and Feiman. Then, they are given creative freedom to look through books, talk with other studio-goers and peruse the shelves of art for inspiration and conversation.

"It's a comfortable place," Hanson said. "People seem to enjoy being here."
Hanson and Feiman started Milagro Jewelry about five years ago and sell their work in the studio, at various venues and online.

A milagro is a charm that the women import from Mexico. The charms originated in Europe, each carrying a religious connotation. Hanson and Feiman have put a modern interpretation on the charms, labeling each one with a unique message of good fortune or happiness. Hanson and Feiman are often working alongside studio attendees to fill online orders that ship around the country and to Europe.

Most studio projects take only one session to finish and the studio provides all the supplies. Open studio time is free, but the material fees vary depending on the workshop. Some workshops require materials to be pre-ordered. Groups are welcome to attend open studio, but are asked to call first so Hanson and Feiman can make the necessary accommodations. Private workshops are also available.

For more information on workshops or The Helen Parker Art Studio to go or call 720-840-1170.