Posts Tagged ‘Rope Baskets’

A New Life in Red

June 17, 2012 in Art,Art Gallery,Artists,Color,Custom Art,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Red | Comments (0)

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Colorado Rope Baskets

Embellished with Deer Horn

Not long ago these baskets were just a pile of lifeless lariats tossed aside without a purpose. After thousands of hours working on a ranch, doing dozens of jobs all cowboys and ranchers know about, the lariat just loses its life and is tossed aside.  What does a rope do then?  Like many things, it is given a chance for  a new life.

A sculptor and cowboy named Gary Campbell took one look at those dirty old ropes that just seemed to pile up and decided he had to find a way to breath new life into them. Being an artist  and working cowboy, the lariat had practically lived in his hands for 40 years and he knew how to handle it for ranching purposes.  Now he was going to take on the challenge to handle it in another way — a way that made sense to an artist.

If weavers can make baskets from reeds and fiber, he could make baskets from a rancher’s working ropes. After making a few baskets, he began to picture more elaborate designs and  in a more colorful way and started dying the ropes (with some coaching from  his wife) in shades of red and rust and soft greens and grays.  He wanted to stay true to the southwest color families and keep the colors rich and inviting.  Gary’s been making his baskets for a number of  years, not as long as he trained horses but long enough to have a strong following. Today he handles those lariats with as much expertise as he did when training horses in the corral. We think you will agree when you see his baskets in person. His work is found in fine retail stores and art galleries like Hunter-Wolff Gallery in southern Colorado.  Some baskets have open tops, while other baskets are lidded or embellished with deer or elk horns and bone.

No two baskets are ever alike; they come in all shapes and sizes. Sizes run from small to larger scale and based on complexity can run up to over a $1,000, although the average mid-size basket is closer to $400. It’s time to lasso one of these beauties for yourself!


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A Real American Cowboy

April 18, 2011 in Art,Artists | Comments (0)

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In case you didn’t know, cowboys are alive and well—and multi-talented!  There’s one cowboy, I’d especially like you to meet.  Gary Campbell.  He’s not your typical cowboy.  He’s a talented artist in well-worn cowboy boots and probably knows how to tie more kinds of knots in a rope than a boy scout.

Aside from being a modern-day American cowboy, he has a special creative gift and brings something unusual to his craft.  Maybe it is the fact that he trained horses professionally for 40 years; and for all those years, he handled the material that now is fundamental to his artwork.  Although he’s an accomplished sculptor and for years sculpted cowboys, horses, wildlife and Native Americans,  now his hands are busy molding rope. Gary has worked with rope all his life and can  lasso his target with precision. Today, however, he is doing something unexpected with this well-known cowboy’s tool. 

He’s making baskets. Based on a simple idea, he decided to repurpose authentic lariat ropes from working cowboys, cowgirls, and ranchers.  He collects used rope and artfully turns them into decorative baskets.  His idea flourished. His baskets evolved. From ordinary, natural rope, he twists and turns, and forms exquisite functional baskets. His wife, Sue, knew he was on to something special right from the start. She suggested dying the rope and adding other elements to the baskets or lids like elk, deer, or moose horns.  Gary’s ideas for new and unexpected designs continue to grow with each creation.  He recently told us that what makes his artwork special is, “Each basket or bowl has its own character, like the sturdy rope it was made with.  These ropes previously had a full life of their own and now they have a new life. That makes for an interesting story. ” I could not agree more.

From one cowboy’s hard-working hands, to Gary’s creative hands, to your hands, we are excited to bring these beautiful baskets to Hunter-Wolff Gallery—and pass on the legend of a real American cowboy.

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