Thank you for sharing your artistry with the Common Climber audience! You are an artist that creates with a variety of media, from painting to climbing ropes. We will get to your climbing rope art in a bit, first tell us about your paintings.
Do you have a favorite painting media and why?
Do you have a favorite painting media and why?
I love acrylics because they’re a more forgiving medium. Plus I love that you can really build up the vibrancy!
When did you start painting?
I’ve always been interested in anything art. It’s one of those things that’s always felt natural! However, a big bike crash last year shattered my dominant hand. After that I was pretty nervous to do anything artistic. I got back into painting with no expectations during COVID after a year hiatus and was pretty surprised by the results!
You are a landscape artist. Tell us about that
I have a master’s degree in landscape architecture and that’s really what speaks to me the most. I specifically love looking at light in snow! How “white” is really so much more than white. Plus I live in Telluride, CO, so I’m essentially surrounded by inspiration. I love looking at things and thinking, “I can’t wait to paint that!”
You have brought your landscape-artistry eye to creating rope art. Are these usable floor mats/rugs or wall art? (They look too beautiful to step on!)
They can be both! Right now I am only creating custom pieces. It’s totally up to the commissioner on what they use them for. I tell everyone I will literally make them a banana rug if that’s what they want... I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’re too nice to step on. Ha! But they’re grimy old climbing ropes. Dirt approved!
Right now you are only creating the rope art by commission, and you have a pretty long waitlist. Have you made this a full-time job
I actually have a full-time job as a landscape manager. I try to fit in as many pieces as I can when I can, but I’m still working on balancing all of this. I recently hired a friend to help me organize everything and coordinate.
Have you considered re-using your patterns and getting more of a standard production line going rather than the commission-route?
I’ve definitely thought about it. But I’m not sure I have the precision to do so. Plus I think what makes them special is having my clients input when designing each individual piece.
You are using old ropes for this. Some must come in pretty dirty. How do you clean them?
I soak the ropes in the tub with Dr Bronners. It generally gets the job done but it’s not super effective on the aluminum. But I actually welcome aluminum oxide stains. I’ve found that the aluminum oxide will work in a shading effect that I’m in love with! It can be a pain but I appreciate that the ropes have stories!
What’s something that you have learned in this rope-art process?
I’ve gotten some input from other people for making rope art. One suggested an electric hot knife. But I just read “electric knife.” So the first few rugs were actually created with a turkey carving knife... there’s definitely been some blood, burns, and things glued to me. But mostly I’ve learned to just trust myself. There have only been a few pieces I’m not completely happy with.
Are you a climber? If so, tell us the basics – how long have you been climbing and do you have a favorite style of climbing?
I am a climber! I’ve been climbing about 4 years but a serious bike accident kind of knocked me out of the game. I’m about to get my fourth and fifth surgery on my right hand, so I haven’t climbed much in the past two years. And more likely than not, I can expect my thumb to pop out at some point which is pretty frustrating. But I primarily climb sport! I was way more fearless before my accident, which is something I’m still working through.
You live in Colorado. Do you have some favorite crags you go to?
I really love the Piggy Bank at Shelf Road! And pretty much anything at Devils Head.
I take it you sell your paintings as well?
I don’t sell paintings at the moment. However, I do plan on eventually setting them up to make prints. Hats are also in the works!
What’s next for you? What are your goals in climbing and life?
Unfortunately the next thing on my agenda is another surgery. Hopefully this one will actually get this thumb to stay in its socket! I also want to start taking things easier so that I can enjoy the outdoors without feeling the need to have to constantly push my limitations. Eventually I would like to do a big vert challenge or another ultra-marathon. But my next climbing adventure will all depend on how I heal. As far as life goals I am just looking to make the most of it as we get through this pandemic!
Any last words for the Common Climber readers?
This whole rope rug thing blew up right before my eyes when so many bad things were happening around me - personally and globally. So if you can take anything from me and my story, it’s to remember that the next good thing could be waiting right around the corner. That doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles, but keep that chin up!