Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Bear Witness Stickers Are Here!

Here are my first ever stickers! They are the thick vinyl die cut stickers often seen in National Park Gift Shops. I'm a notorious road tripper and a park visitor and I just LOVE getting stickers on my travels - they are my go-to souvenir! I could not be more excited to be releasing one of my mosaics as a sticker for you all to enjoy and to help spread wildfire awareness with. Purchase stickers here: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/bear-witness-set-of-both-stickers/

Both versions of the Bear Witness sticker are 4"x4.75" in size
These are perfect for any surface – stick one on your water bottle, growler, car, bike, helmet, other gear, laptop, etc. They are durable, dishwasher safe and weather resistant. A UV laminate protects the stickers from the sun and scratches, keeping them from fading.

5% of the Artist’s profit will be donated annually to Colorado State Forest Service‘s Restoring Colorado’s Forests Fund which “provides tree seedlings that will be planted on lands most severely impacted by wildfires and other disasters”.

Here I am holding the actual mosaic which I photographed to become the sticker - it changes color in the light so I am releasing two versions for a limited time.
Bear Witness, a stained glass mosaic silhouette, 27"x33",  2018
Available for Sale: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/wildfire/
I worked on this mosaic, while numerous wildfires raged here in Colorado. Surrounding wildfires burned thousands of acres of forest in mountains to the East, West an North of the San Luis Valley where I live. My bear is s a metaphor showing the reality and the danger of forest fires which the Mountain West faces every summer. 
 
This is the regular version of the sticker when the light reveals the deep purple of the trees in the foreground.

Here the wildlife lives in a fragile landscape and has to find its way out when it is faced with the flames and the smoke of their habitat burning away. My Bear is their representative. It is walking though the burning landscape, being the much needed voice of its wild friends. 

This is the special edition of the sticker when the light catches the glass in the foreground to reveal the iridescent quality of the deep purple glass.
Naturally many people are are also being displaced and loosing everything. There is nothing light about the issue of thousands of acres of land burning without containment. I hope that my recent work sheds some light on an issue many people don’t understand. Here in the West you really have to practice fire safety when the fire danger is high. We don’t get much rain and the danger to us all is very real. In the hot summers, we have to be cautious and hope for rain, low wind and send strength to the brave firefighters when the flames ignite.

Purchase stickers here: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/bear-witness-set-of-both-stickers/ 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Art Sale

I'm currently having an Art SALE! My small to medium pieces are heavily discounted as I'm working to clear space in my studio. Visit my art shop to see all available work: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/


Above is a nice size comparison of  'Blue Lotus on Purple' a custom framed mosaic, 23"x23". This week it is only $595 ($1,100 regular price). This actually includes shipping within the US so its an extra sweet deal!. Visit the listing for this mosaic: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/purple-lotus-on-blue/

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Great Wide Open Sculpture Valley

My art and life partner Kyle Cunniff are embarking on our most ambitious art collaboration yet - a 40 acre sculpture park in close proximity to the Great Sand Dunes National Park near where we currently live and create our art. This latest project will combine all of our talents, passions and push our imagination to the next level and beyond! Below is part of the view from our property - pretty wild!


We have called the San Luis Valley home for the last two years. The landscape here is unlike any place we have lived before. It is more vast than the unfamiliar eye can grasp. It is surrounded by mountains in every direction - the Sangre De Cristo Range to the East  and the San Juans to the West. Most incredibly, it is home to one of the most unique natural wonders I've ever experienced - the Great Sand Dunes which are the tallest dunes in North America.


Here in the valley is where we began creating outdoor sculpture, something we've been wanting to dive into for years but were only able to begin experimenting with in our spacious art studio in Alamosa. When it came time to photograph our first collaborative sculpture, it seemed only natural do do it among the brush with the majestic 14,344ft Blanca Peak in the background. This mountain is the landmark feature in this part of the valley and is so close to where we live.



We've been busy cleaning up the property and creating a small road. Progress has been slow, but steady. Right now its just Kyle and me working when we can but probably the biggest factor in our timeline is actually the smallest - our beautiful nine month old son who only allows us to work on the property for a couple hours a day. This will of course change once we build him, his very own sculptural playground but lets not get ahead of ourselves ... yet ... Despite some limiting factors, we are determined and with each hour we are getting closer to start adding sculptural accents to this lovely patch of land.


With the completion of each new sculpture, we've been taking more photos in the great wide open landscape of the valley. During each photo-shoot, we were mesmerized by how incredible the colorful sculpture looked set among the earth-tone landscape of the high dessert of the valley. My mind began to race with possibilities. Quickly the idea of a sculpture park evolved during our conversations of what is next for the K&K Team!



Being out in this kind of great, wide open landscape is unlike other experiences in the outdoors. There is something unique in the desert air that calls for the creative juices to flow. We heard the wind call upon us and set into action! No idea big or small was ever realized with out effort and enthusiasm. We have both. The gears are in motion as we work to sprinkle colorful sculpture among the lovely and very hardy brush.



We've began work on the property and have preliminary plans of the first 10 sculpture that we'll be adding to the park by the end of 2018. I will post updates here as well as on the Enchanted Valley Sculpture Park website (name to be determined yet). Sculpture Sponsorship will be available as well as other opportunities to contribute to this truly unique project. 

Meanwhile if you would like to help support the park, purchasing my art via my online shop is the best way to help propel this project forward: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/ 

To entice support, I will be having a HUGE SALE next week to help raise funds for the first stages of the park. If you'd like to help in other ways, please email me at kpolkowska@gmail.com

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Bear Witness

Bear Witness, a stained glass mosaic silhouette, 27"x33",  2018
Available for Sale: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/wildfire/

This bear is s a metaphor that shows the reality and the danger of forest fires which the Mountain West faces every summer. The wildlife lives in that fragile landscape and has to find their way out when they are faced with the flames and the smoke of their habitat burning away. My Bear is their representative. It is walking though the burning landscape, being the much needed voice of its wild friends. 

Naturally many people are are also being displaced and loosing everything. There is nothing light about the issue of thousands of acres of land burning without containment. I hope that my recent work sheds some light on an issue many people don’t understand. Here in the West you really have to practice fire safety when the fire danger is high. We don’t get much rain and the danger to us all is very real. Let’s all hope for rain, low wind and send strength to the brave firefighters.

Close Up - the glass looks spectacular when the light hits it just right!

While I worked on this mosaic, surrounding wildfires burned thousands of acres of forest in mountains to the East, West an North of the San Luis Valley where I live.

View of the rising smoke from my daily walk along the Rio Grande. Recently the mountains were actually fully engulfed by the smoke and are no longer visible.


A close up of the fire East of Mt Blanca.

I hope that this mosaic helps to increase forest fire awareness as each year so many people, animals and forests are touched by the effects of fire, often wildfires that were caused by people which is the most devastating part.

The beginning of the project. Here I am working on my copyrighted bear silhouette. This is a special template I've created for my bear related projects.


Initially I was considering creating a pink sunset under the bear's back. But while testing my color palette, the orange glass screamed wildfire and this bear took a turn toward becoming a forest fire awareness piece.

 The stained glass is all cut, arranged and taped for gluing!

A close up of the glass shapes - each piece is hand cut to perfectly fit against its neighbors.

 My grouting set up.

Grouting the mosaic to give it a finished look and to protect the glass edges along the silhouette.

Another look at the finished mosaic. Here the light hits it a bit differently, showing a different characteristic of the glass.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Chipeta-Mai ~ A Handcrafted Glass Matryoshka Sculpture

This collaborative outdoor sculpture created by artist team Kasia Polkowska and Kyle Cunniff will be displayed for the year starting on June 14, 2018 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Chipeta-Mai, a stained glass mosaic sculpture, 48"x24", 2018 by Kasia Polkowska and Kyle Cunniff (photographed in the San Luis Valley in front of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado)

Chipeta-Mai is a cross-cultural matryoshka doll. Historically, the first Matryoshka Doll was made in Russia and has since become a symbol in Eastern European Culture where Kasia was born.


This doll was sculpted by hand by Kyle who worked to inspire the nostalgia one often feels when laying eyes on the form of a nesting doll. The doll is adorned in a bright, colorful, hand cut stained glass mosaic pattern created by Kasia. 


To give her a sense of place, she was named to honor the people who's ancestral land we inhabit, focusing on Colorado where the artist team lives. Chipeta was a famous Ute woman known for diplomacy while Mai (Navajo for bright flower) was added to the end of her name for the flower she bears on her belly as many traditional matryoshkas do. 


The warm southwestern colors of the doll further reflect the state where she was realized. The bright orange that wraps around her belly mirrors the sedimentary beds of deep-red and pink sandstone seen jutting out of the soil along the front range of Colorado. 


Her headscarf was inspired by the bright blue sky that's so often filled with sunshine and hangs high above the mountains. 


This doll is a modern artifact emulating the artists' interest in the landscape they inhabit as well as the people that roamed that land long before them.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Trouvaille

Trouvaille has been accepted into the 2018 Alamosa Artscape Public Art Program. It will be installed in the beginning of September and will be on display for a year. 

Trouvaille, a stained glass mosaic sculpture, 84" x 22", 2018

Going back to childhood, many people may recall the excitement of finding a feather on the ground. It was a magical moment and it seemed that the feather was a gift from above. 


People may not realize but various cultures around the world also believed that feathers had a connection to the heavens. Some believed that they carried messages from the gods. Stumbling upon a feather is believed to be a good omen, a sign that you are on the right path. It is a message to soar above where you are spiritually and to look at the world from a higher perspective. 

 
This mosaic feather was created with that in-mind, to be a good omen for the passerby's. It aims to be an uplifting landmark and to delight visitors and residents a like, to provide a sensory experience of whimsical patterns, a warm welcoming color palette and a spiritual connection to its location. 

Concept Sketch for the proposed sculpture prior to completion.


Both sides of the sculpture were decorated with a handcut stained glass mosaic designed by Kasia.


Kyle Cunniff, Kasia's creative and life partner, assisted in the gluing and grouting process. He also did the technical drawings for the fabrication of the steel structure as well as created and atached the wedi parts to the steel. Kasia and Kyle often work very closely on their individual sculpture projects, each offering their unique expertise in the arts.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hiking to Grinnell Glacier

I am holding my new painting to show scale. It is 32"x24" in size. I have not actually painted since 2006 but have recently been inspired by watching my life and creative partner Kyle Cunniff work his magic with the paintbrush. You can see Kyle's work on his Instagram account KyleCunniffArt https://www.instagram.com/kylecunniffart/

The painting was inspired by my trips to Glacier National Park in Montana. Hiking up the trail to Grinnell Glacier was a beautiful introduction to the splendor of the park. As we came up towards Lake Josephine (seen in the above photo), it was a jaw-dropping moment. The vegetation was so lush and green but there was enough of a clearing along the shoreline to reveal the surrounding landscape while framing it out beautifully. 

 Detail of Lake Josephine.

 Detail of the trees and Mt Gould.

 Detail of the tree covered foothill inf front of Mt Gould.

 Detail of the beargrass and my signature.

Hiking to Grinnell Glacier, watercolor on board, 32"x24", 2018 
Available for Sale:   https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/

Monday, March 12, 2018

Green Hills

Electric Peak Reflected in Swan Lake, a framed stained glass mosaic 25"x49", 2018 ~Available

This mosaic was inspired by my first visit to Yellowstone in 2012. One day while driving to go hiking, this view caught my attention - Electric Peak prominently standing beyond the brightly colored foothills. To add to the beauty the scenery was perfectly reflected in Swan Lake which felt as clear and still as glass. We pulled over at a look out to admire the reflection of the picturesque landscape in the lovely lake. We walked around and marveled at the serenity while little songbirds flew around us.

 Photo I took at the lake.

The beginning of the mosaic. I used a light print our of my photo as a composition guide, while the rest of the map for my mosaic was in my head.

Phew ... the trees in this piece got to be pretty small which required a ton of time. It felt really good to be moving onto the sky.

The sky was my favorite part of this mosaic. I love this blue glass. With it and the pattern I created, I worked to capture the feeling of the bluebird sky wrapping around the mountain.

 After peeling the tape, prior to grouting.

 Grouting in black to accentuate the pattern in the sky.

 Grouting detail.

Electric Peak Reflected in Swan Lake, a framed stained glass mosaic 25"x49", 2018 ~Available