Buying local in South Routt | SteamboatToday.com

Buying local in South Routt

Leisure Mountain Studio brings local work, tasty coffee to Yampa

Margaret Hair

At the bottom of the notices she sends out about receptions for art openings at Leisure Mountain Studio in Yampa, the coffee shop/gallery space’s co-owner Debbie Johnson has started to write, “Buy locally, not globally.”

It’s that philosophy, accompanied by a “the more, the better” approach to filling the coffee shop with local art, that leads to shows like the one featured throughout December. A collection of paintings, photographs, jewelry, glassware, hats and etchings by 16 Colorado artists, the show largely is the result of those artists coming into the store and talking with Johnson.

“We find them just by word of mouth – most of these have either been a guest artist, or they’re going to be,” Johnson said.

Oak Creek artist Patsy Stewart, who has hand-decorated wine glasses, jewelry and pastel prints on display at Leisure Mountain, said the store’s local appeal is an inspiration for her work.

“You really get to meet all the people from Yampa – it’s a great place for people to come and sit and talk,” Stewart said. “Every time I’ve gone in there, we’ve really talked about all sorts of different things.”

That reliable diversity often is the beginning of Stewart’s art projects, such as the wine glasses she started decorating so they would be easier to keep track of.

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“I have a hard time doing the same thing over and over,” she said.

The people she has met at Leisure Mountain can come from anywhere, Stewart said. The same goes for finding inspiration for her projects.

“I was jogging along one day, and I saw these leaves – it was totally still, and I saw these leaves coming out of the sky,” Stewart said. “It was such a beautiful experience to just be out there.”

That experience was more visual than the connections she draws on from Leisure Mountain, but Stewart said it had a similar effect.

“You never know where you’re going to get inspired or get information – there’s such a wealth of creativity and old knowledge,” she said.