The "Forest Flower" pendant by Park City-based artisan metalsmith Melissa Skarsten was inspired by nature and symmetry. Skartsen will be one of
The "Forest Flower" pendant by Park City-based artisan metalsmith Melissa Skarsten was inspired by nature and symmetry. Skartsen will be one of 19 Park City Professional Artists Association members that will show her works during the Park City Kimball Arts Festival next week. (Photo by Michael Skarsten)
Since the late 1970s, the Park City Professional Artists Association (PCPAA) has helped Park City and Summit County artists connect with each other.

The organization is a social networking resource that not only helps and supports its members through local exhibits and activities, but also helps up-and-coming artists find mentors in established artists.

The PCPAA has worked closely with the Kimball Art Center during the Park City Kimball Arts Festival and every year accepts and features up to 20 PCPAA members in the artist lineup.

Like other shows, the artists are required to send in applications and a jury, comprised of PCPAA board members, select who will show in the arts festival.

The list is then sent to the Kimball Art Center for the final say.

"River Ring," by metalsmith Melissa Skarsten, balances organic and what is known as chemical lines. (Photo by Michael Skarsten)
"River Ring," by metalsmith Melissa Skarsten, balances organic and what is known as chemical lines. (Photo by Michael Skarsten)

This year, two PCPAA members, Melissa Skarsten and Jennifer Terry, will show at the Park City Kimball Arts Festival for the first time. And they are honored and happy to be a part of the event, which will run from Friday, Aug. 1, through Sunday, Aug. 3, on Main Street.

For full list of PCPAA members participating in this year's Park City Kimball Arts Festival, see story titled "Park City Professional Artist Association members who will participate in the 2014 Park City Kimball Arts Festival."

Melissa Skarsten, artisan metalsmith

Melissa Skarsten is looking forward to showing her jewelry during this year's festival.

"I started doing my own work in 2007 and it was a dream of mine to be in the festival," Skarsten told The Park Record.


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"I've volunteered at the festival before, so I'm excited for the opportunity be on the artist roster."

From an early age, Skarsten has had a desire to create.

"I sewed my own clothes and did stained-glass work and I was always interested in the craft end of creative arts," she said. "I never did sculpture or paintings, but I liked working with my hands."

In high school, Skarsten made two rings during a jewelry class.

"One was a 14-karat gold ring with a bow in it and I loved it and have always been drawn to that since then," she said.

Jennifer Terry’s "McPolin Barn" shows the painters love for color. Terry, a member of the Park City Professional Artists Association is
Jennifer Terry's "McPolin Barn" shows the painters love for color. Terry, a member of the Park City Professional Artists Association is looking forward to showing her works in this year's Park City Kimball Arts Festival that will open on Friday, Aug. 1. (Image courtesy of Jennifer Terry)

After working briefly as a production jeweler, Skarsten decided that type of profession wasn't for her.

"I wanted to design my own jewelry and that's when I opened my own studio and looked for my own distinct style," she said.

After attending the Revere Academy in San Francisco and through varying techniques Skarsten created a necklace that featured an innovative, organic and contemporary style that utilizes granulation and fusing melted gold. It has since become her trademark.

"The theme was nature," she said. "The subject is a flower and once I made that piece, I knew it was the style I wanted to stick with."

After exploring a bit more, Skarsten began using another technique — oxidizing the metal.

The aspen forest in "Fall Fantasy" by Park City’s Jennifer Terry was inspired by one of the artists hikes along the area’s many
The aspen forest in "Fall Fantasy" by Park City's Jennifer Terry was inspired by one of the artists hikes along the area's many trails. (Image courtesy of Jennifer Terry)

"When you oxidize bright silver, the metal turns black, but the gold doesn't, so the gold really pops out and I love that look," she said.

Skarsten also handpicks her gemstones for their beauty and character.

Since the jeweler works with metal, she doesn't want her pieces to become literal copies of nature.

"It's a representation because there are some organic lines, but I also like to incorporate symmetrical lines," she explained. "I like to use perfectly round faceted stones, because I like the symmetry, so there is a balancing of organics and the chemical lines."

Skarsten is attracted to metal because it involves small and detailed work.

"I like using the torch and the different tools," she said. "I also like the engineering that goes into it, because there's a balance of the left brain and right brain. You're being creative with little things that you need to figure out."

She also likes projects that take time to finish.

"I'm never in a hurry to do something," Skarsten said. "I like the intensity of working on something for a long period."

Skarsten began working on her pieces for the arts festival a year ago.

"I'll have about 100 pieces and 50 or 60 of them are one of a kind," she said. "There are a few pieces that I call featured pieces that I do have multiples of. I want to offer pieces from different price ranges that appeal to everyone."

Melissa's jewelry is usually sold through trunk shows, art festivals, such as the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, or by appointment. 

She is also involved with other small shows with the PCPAA, including its exhibit at the Park City Visitor's Information Center twice a year at Kimball Junction.

"That's fun because it's a little more casual," Skarsten said. "The Kimball Arts Festival, on the other hand, is a big deal and I take all the shows very seriously."

After the festival closes, Skarsten will take the next step in her career.

"I don't have gallery representation, yet," she said. "So, I will start looking."

For more information about Melissa Skarsten, or to make an appointment to see her works, visit www.jewelrybym.com.

Jennifer Terry, visual artist

Although a member of the Park City Professional Artist Association, Jennifer Terry is returning to painting after a few years off.

She put the brushes aside to focus on her family, but shortly afterwards faced another life-changing experience.

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2004," Terry told The Park Record. "I had multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation early 2005."

After all the complications, different chemotherapies and more surgeries Terry ended her treatments in early 2011.

"The ordeal went on for six years," she said. "It changed me, but I am a survivor."

The artist realized how precious and short life is and decided to get back to her art that includes encaustic, pen and ink, block prints, oils, photography, ceramics and mixed media.

"My inner art-self told me to go do this," Terry said with a smile. "It was telling me that it was time to start again and when I got into the studio, it said, 'Well, it's about time.'"

Terry will be showing her paintings during the Park City Kimball Arts Festival this year.

"They require at least a minimum of five original works," she said. "They aren't looking for prints. They are looking for originals. So that changes the game and I have been painting like crazy to get ready."

Terry's works are usually landscapes, which are inspired by the surrounding area.

"As we all know, Park City is absolutely stunning when it comes to the outdoors," she said. "I walk my dogs almost every day on all these trails we have up here. I'm just taken by the unbelievable beauty that I see."

Many of the artist's works are scenes from Park City's trails.

"When I'm walking on the trails and see a potential painting, I see it in dots and my color palette already," Terry explained. "I'll look around and say, 'Oh! That's it!'"

Terry does take photos of the areas that she wants to paint, but things start to change when she begins putting pigment on canvas.

For example, her McPolin Barn work is quite different than what people usually see.

"One thing that people like about the painting is that the McPolin Barn images that are seen around town are more realistic and have muted colors," Terry said. "I did the opposite. I went crazy with the color and have heard from people who love it.

"I love encaustics," she said. "I love rich vibrant colors. I love organic shapes in nature. I love having fun with different patterns. I love texture, I love twisting reality just enough to make the real unreal. This all make painting images fun and exciting to me."

In fact, Terry is doing another larger barn painting for the festival.

"With the art festival, I'm trying to get to the next level with my art," she said. "I've been doing Christmas boutiques and I've been ramping up myself slowly, because I still have two small children. But the Arts Festival is a huge step up for me. It's the big leagues and very excited about that."

Like artisan metalsmith and fellow PCPAA member Melissa Skarsten, Terry will look for gallery representation after the arts festival.

"My goals don't end at the festival," she said. "I want to find a gallery and show naturally.

"I'm so grateful for the PCPAA," Terry said. "They support local artists in this area. We get a chance to apply for the Park City Kimball Arts Festival and I was lucky enough to get in this year."

For more information about Jennifer Terry, visit jennyterryfineart.com.