Wild Fibers on an Old Sheep Ranch

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The high mountain grasslands of Colorado’s South Park have a rich history of sheep ranching, perhaps best captured by Myron Wood’s classic photograph above: Sheep Storm, South Park, 1967. Buffalo Peaks Ranch, the Land Library’s headwaters site, shared in that ranching tradition.

We’ve reported in the past about our plans to convert the ranch’s eighteen corral stalls into artist studios and maker-spaces of all types:

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With Buffalo Peaks Ranch’s historic ties to sheep ranching, and the recent donation of a fully-equipped weaving studio, we are especially excited about creating a space for Fiber Arts. We’ll have plenty of space for looms and classes, plus a dedicated library devoted to books such as these:

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The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius, and The Book of Looms by Eric Broudy.

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We also have many books on dyes, such as:

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And one of our favorite sections features textile traditions from across the globe:

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As soon as possible, we’ll have a regular schedule of workshops and demonstrations, inspired by new traditions and old. We would love to start next summer by constructing a warp weighted loom, an ancient craft (dating back to 7000 BC) captured in one of our favorite film clips from Norway’s remarkable Norsk Folkemuseum. This short 1947 clip is silent, black & white, and truly wonderful to see  from start to finish:

For much more on the slow craft of Norway visit Norsk Folkemuseum’s YouTube Channel — there’s many more vintage film clips!

We hope that each corral stall will be a nesting place of creativity, but then, there’s just so much anyone can plan. And maybe that’s a good thing. Here’s what happened to one artist open to change:

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In 1972, when the packing and crating for a major exhibition made it impossible for Henry Moore to work in his sculpture studio, he retreated to a small shed that looked out on a sheep meadow. Over the course of several months, Moore captured the scene from his window, and upon completion of his Sheep Sketchbook, it was presented as a gift to the artist’s daughter, Mary.

Who knows what artists will see out their windows at Buffalo Peaks Ranch?

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The Great Clean-up!

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Hi Everyone,

 Sorry for the short notice, but we just received a confirmation from the City of Aurora (the owner of Buffalo Peaks Ranch) that we can add as much ranch debris & old tires as we like to the nearby ranch dump, this coming Saturday, Sept 16th — that’s our last opportunity before the dump is removed.
 We’ve been clearing & cleaning all summer long — now we can do a bit more, and move decades of accumulated debris off the ranch (except what we can glean for future use!).
SO what we need are about 10-12 volunteers. We’ll provide a hardy ranch lunch!
Please let me know if you can make it….
Coincidentally, 9News called and wanted to film a volunteer work day at Buffalo Peaks Ranch, so they’ll be there too!
We can really make the ranch shine — hope you can make it — and any of your friends too. In fact, feel free to share this with anyone you think might enjoy the day in South Park (the leaves started turning this past weekend, and Kenosha Pass should be approaching it’s peak very soon).
Hope you can make it!
all the best,
Jeff & Ann
Rocky Mountain Land Library
Please RSVP to Jeff Lee at jeff@landlibrary.org. We’ll be sending out directions and a start time by Wednesday afternoon!
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Let’s make this old ranch shine! photo by Carl Young

A Spiral of Books and the Sky Above

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This past month, the Rocky Mountain Land Library was honored to be part of a new exhibit at Denver’s RedLine Gallery. Closing this past weekend, the Land Trust exhibit featured socially engaged art exploring land and place. What we brought to the mix was a spiral of books, and the launch of the Land Library’s first nature-in-the-city outreach, the Cloud Atlas Project.

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Land Trust was curated by RedLine’s Libby Barbee and Kirsten Walsh, thoughtfully pulling together the work of artists  Ryan Feddersen, Megan Gafford, Brian House, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Daisy Patton, Becky Wareing Steele, and Tory Tepp.

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The Book Spiral was assembled from a diverse array of ladders stored in the Puritan Pie Factory (the Land Library’s future urban branch). The hovering Book Cloud consists of old fencing wire from Buffalo Peaks Ranch, holding aloft pages of books rescued from the recycle bin.

And the spool of barbed wire? That’s on loan from Buffalo Peaks Ranch!

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We’ll be talking more about the Cloud Atlas Project (CAP) in the month’s ahead. The RedLine show was just the start of an ongoing celebration of Denver’s cloudscape. (For more information, take a look at CAP’s new website!).

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The RMLL cairn marked the start of the Book Spiral,

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with a diverse assortment of books along the way — all focused on people and the land,

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ending with a small reading area, and a table where gallery-goers stacked books to browse through. Who knows what new connections were made in the middle of the spiral?

The morning after the August 11th opening, artist & Land Library board member Eileen Richardson, spoke to a gathering at RedLine. Eileen spoke about the power of the book:

A book is a cultural object. The physicality of the pages, the spine, the indelible glyphs, the weight, the front cover, the texture of the paper, could indeed be called a sensual experience…. 

Books don’t require swiping or scrolling, they don’t allow pop-up impediments to your concentration, they don’t try to sell you things you don’t need, and they do not require electricity.  We feel that readers become more invested in books, and are more likely to absorb information and develop long term relationships with them. With the intersection of place, land, ideas, and the natural world occupying a larger part of our attention, actions, and conversations, the historical dialogue the books offer,  is particularly necessary in our loaded, inflammatory present.” — Eileen Richardson

Thanks to RedLine, and curators Libby Barbee & Kirsten Walsh for inviting the Rocky Mountain Land Library to be a part of the Land Trust exhibit!

And thanks to Wes Magyar for his wonderful photos of the exhibit. All photos above (except for the first) were taken by Wes Magyar.

Under the Cottonwood Tree

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This past Sunday we held our 3rd Annual Summer Book Club discussion at Buffalo Peaks Ranch. We all gathered by the Main House’s cottonwood tree to discuss Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, widely considered one of the most influential conservation books of the 20th Century.

Leopold describes the need for a land ethic, seeing the natural world “as a community to which we belong.” This classic book is also a beautifully written story of one man coming to know the land on which he lives. As the Land Library continues to learn more and more about our immediate surroundings (Buffalo Peaks Ranch) it seemed like a perfect book club selection for this summer.

Special thanks goes to Candice Hall for kindly sharing these beautiful images from our 2017 Summer Book Club gathering!

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Under the cottonwood tree, an inviting array of Leopold books, sitting atop one of the Leopold Benches Land Library volunteers built a couple of summers ago.

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After his long career in the National Park Service, and a lifetime of reading and being out on the land, Tom Wylie always adds an interesting perspective….

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along with offering up illuminating passages, copied into one of Tom’s notebooks.

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True to Aldo Leopold’s amazingly observant writing, Candice Hall spent time roaming across the ranch on Sunday. Taking photos out by the Lambing Barn….

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amidst the high sage by the Bunkhouse, and looking up valley too:

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What a perfect setting to experience the always evolving thoughts of Aldo Leopold, and to contemplate the need for a land ethic for our own time.

“All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, water, plants and animals, or collectively the land.”  Aldo Leopold, from A Sand County Almanac

Wood, Water & Rock: Present every moment, and with every brushstroke

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What a summer it has been! We are excited to have artist Meredith Nemirov at Buffalo Peaks Ranch on September 9th, for our last artist workshop of the season.

Here’s more from Meredith on what’s planned: Painting under the influence of such great watercolor artists as Homer, Sergeant, Burchfield and others we will create works that focus on different aspects of the natural landscape. We will paint in the ranch’s makeshift studio, and outside, weather permitting. This is a great class to improve your painting skills and learn more about color and composition.

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Meredith Nemirov’s work has been featured in several galleries across Colorado, in addition to galleries in New York and Massachusetts. Meredith was recently the focus of an Artist Profile in Plein Air Magazine.

For much more on Meredith Nemirov’s work, be sure to visit her website, along with her blog.

Wood, Water, Rock: Painting Trees, Rivers and Mountains in Watercolor

with Meredith Nemirov

Saturday, September 9th, 10am to 4pm,  $50 class fee

Click Here to Register!

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“…the more Nemirov explains her process, the more one realizes that there is a complicated dance going on between abstraction and representation and between plein air and studio paintings in her work. Her studio paintings are usually abstractions of what she sees on location. Yet she never works from photos, but rather from drawings and paintings done in the field. ‘I can’t let go of the plein air landscape because I love it so much and because it feeds the abstract work,’ says Nemirov. ‘Outside you have to be so present, every moment, with every brushstroke. It’s a very different and intense experience.'” — Bob Bahr, PleinAir Magazine, April-May 2016

Field Sketching at Buffalo Peaks Ranch

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Pages from Sherrie York’s sketchbook, Buffalo Peaks Ranch

Field sketching is a valuable tool for artists, scientists, gardeners, and anyone who wants to know more about the world around them. Even if you think you can’t draw a straight line, you can keep visual field notes.

We are thrilled to have artist Sherrie York return to Buffalo Peaks Ranch for the third summer in a row. The ranch is a wonderful place to explore, observe, and sketch. You will practice several basic drawing and observation skills including contour, memory, and gesture drawing, plus explore ideas for filling the blank page. Non-artists welcome and encouraged! (Ages 14 to Adult).

For much more on Sherrie York’s work, be sure to visit her visually stunning website!

The Illustrated Journal with Sherrie York

Saturday, August 19th, 9am to 2pm,  $50 class fee

Click Here to Register!

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Sherrie York leading a class through figure drawing exercises, Buffalo Peaks Ranch.

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And the day will include plenty of time to sketch across the ranch.

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Join us at Buffalo Peaks Ranch on August 19th!

 

Join us at Denver’s RedLine Gallery!

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Join us for LAND TRUST, a new RedLine Exhibit
 

The Rocky Mountain Land Library will be part of an exciting new exhibit at Denver’s RedLine Gallery, 2350 Arapahoe. Land Trust features socially engaged art exploring land and place. It’s an attempt to slow down and get our feet back on solid ground, to explore the cultural practices that connect us physically and spiritually to the world, and to look squarely at the human effects of environmental change, The exhibition includes artwork by Ryan Feddersen, Megan Gafford, Brian House, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Daisy Patton, Becky Wareing Steele, and Tory Tepp.

 Come see the Land Library’s book spiral with hundreds of books from our collection, and join us for the launch of our first nature-in-the-city outreach, the Cloud Atlas Project. This will be the start of an ongoing celebration of Denver’s cloudscape.

 Often overlooked, the daily procession of clouds gives us an ever-changing glimpse of the natural world. As Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society writes, “Clouds are nature’s poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them.
August 11-27, with an Opening Reception on August 11th, 6-9pm
RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe.
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Clouds rolling in Denver’s direction, from South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch