Local artist Lisa Carlson looks forward to her festival return | ParkRecord.com

Local artist Lisa Carlson looks forward to her festival return

Scott Iwasaki

Collage artist and jeweler Lisa Carlson looks forward to her return to the Park City Kimball Arts Festival.

Carlson, a member of the Park City Professional Artists Association, has made only one appearance at the festival since 2008. Before that, she showed often between 1987 to 2002.

"I decided to retire, but wanted to come back because I missed it," Carlson said during an interview with The Park Record. "I also had a lot of clients that were wondering where I was."

Carlson, who shows her unique works comprised of upcycled materials, shows nationwide, but adores the Park City festival.

"We have established a great rapport with the Kimball throughout the years," she said. "This is a big deal to come back because my husband, Tom, and I helped develop the Park City Kimball Arts Festival into what it is today. It’s renowned throughout the country as being one of the best arts festivals these days and we really feel good about that."

Over the years, the event has become so successful is the quality of work.

"That, of course, has elevated, because of the festival’s reputation," Carlson said. "It’s up there with Sausalito and La Quinta, so it’s nice to be a part of it."

In addition to the festival’s reputation, Carlson had another reason to return.

"I want people to know that I’m still alive and cranking it out," she said with a laugh.

Carlson’s idea for upcycling material for her work germinated in the 1970s.

"I had been in retail since 1976 and was research manager for Casual Corner stores in the Twin Cities," she said. "I had 22 windows that needed to be decorated for display every two weeks."

Casual Corner used antique props for these displays.

"I had a budget and staff and we would go out and purchase antiques for these displays," Carlson said. "I saw bags of old and cool rhinestone jewelry, but the items would usually only have one of two earrings or a bracelet piece for two bucks."

That sprouted the idea in her head, but it wasn’t until she and her husband moved to Park City in 1980 where the concept of upcycling really took hold.

"My friends owned a boutique called Mountain Rose where 350 Main is now," Carlson said. "I remember unpacking a box at Mountain Rose and I saw a bolo tie that had pearls glued on it and a single stone in the middle. Before that, costume jewelry was just one thing."

When Carlson returned home afterwards, she dug through her rhinestone collection and added some shells to a bolo tie.

"I brought back three pieces and they sold in 15 minutes," she said. "The rest is history."

Her first appearance at the Park City Kimball Art Festival 1987 was a success.

"I made so much money that I knew this was the way to go,’ she said. "I was one-on-one with my customers so I could tell them about the items that I use. I use good-quality materials and it’s important for me to tell the customers."

Some of the items on her work are older than the United States.

"I travel to Europe to get some of my stuff and have found items that date back to 1770," she said. "Stuttgart is fabulous for these things and so are the Paris flea markets.

The biggest challenge for Carlson isn’t composition, but finding items that work well together.

"I start off by building a bead network below and then locate a center piece," she said. "Then I make sure I balance the brooch with the beads, but it’s difficult matching vintage metals with what I have.

"Remember, I’m working with found objects and sifting through myriads of buttons, rhinestone and watch parts," Carlson said. "The hardest part is going through all of that to find the correct metal."

She also has a hard time keeping her inventory organized.

"I sift through it and all of a sudden I have a table full of stuff," she said laughing. "I mean my desk was clean and orderly not 10 minutes ago."

PCPAA artists at the arts festival

  • Ron Butkovich — jewelry
  • Joyce Baron — paintings and jewelry
  • Lisa Carlson — jewelry
  • Kathy Cartier — fabric/mixed media
  • David Cornwell — stone art
  • Robin Cornwell — paintings
  • Naomi Doyle — leatherworks
  • Mike Hays — pottery
  • Willie Holdman — photography
  • Robert Johnson — paintings
  • Bruce Larrabee — pottery
  • Anita Miles — jewelry
  • Mary Perry — paintings
  • Dori Pratt — jewelry
  • Felix/Karen Saez – stone art
  • Jim Simister — pottery
  • Melissa Skarsten — jewelry
  • Jenny Terry — encaustics

Lisa Carlson will be among the 18 members of the Park City Professional Artists Association who will show their works during the 46th annual Park City Kimball Art Center this week. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityart.com.