Hello my friends,


It's been a while since I sent a Newsletter.  Looking back over the last twelve months, I muse that I have been living in three parallel universes.  The first being the wonderful "new" look of the gallery unveiled last June.  The second is what I believe to be the final tanking of the Basalt economy as refers to the old town and subsequent real signs of "rebirth."  The third is that I came unglued - the body, that is!  Three surgeries in the last twelve months (meniscus, partial new knee (October) and new hip (March 4).  The other knee and hip are fine - so I am DONE. Suffice it to say that whilst recovering again and again, I had plenty of time to scheme and dream, about which you will hear a lot during subsequent weeks. In the meantime, here is a teaser.


 "Homage to the Last Whopping Crane" 




This jewelry chest was created by Chris Chapman, whose extraordinary leather art (yes this chest is covered in leather) will be in the gallery, is breathtaking.  And here is Chris's story about the chest:


For 18 years, one lone male Whooping Crane had flown with a large flock of Sandhill  Cranes that migrated back to the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge in Southern Colorado  every spring from their wintering grounds in Texas. He never had a mate.  Several years ago on the 10 o'clock news between some mass murder and another car  wreck I heard a 10 second bite about this beloved Whooping Crane that did not come  back that spring. The end of a species in Colorado got no more attention than that.  I loved this bird and followed the stories about him for years. He was magic to me. He  was so famous down there that his much larger-than-life image, I found out later, is painted on the side of a giant concrete silo outside of Monte Vista. When I heard the  news of his passing, I wept. I have always loved birds and have been a collector of 
feathers-often road kill-for many years. I became obsessed with thinking of this bird: did  he die of a heart attack and fall from the sky or just lay down one night with his adopted  family and not wake up. I had dreams of him at night, of finding his feathers. Finally one  night I dreamed of him rising up, like the Phoenix, his spirit flying through the clouds to  a heavenly place. I knew I had to make an art piece honoring him and the last remaining  birds of his species which number only about 470 in the world right now--up from 16  back in 1941-42 when they were hunted to near extinction.  This collector's/jewelry box is that honoring piece. I wanted to portray him happy-they  are known to break out into spontaneous, hopping, wing flapping dance. I made him with  a family, as it should have been. The silver leaf lining the lid is symbolic of his spirit  rising up through the silvery clouds. And then the last footprint in the sand, symbolizing  the question for all of us: are they a dying species or is there hope for their future, and for 
ours?  Currently there is only one self-sustaining population of migrating Whooping Cranes in  North America. They breed in Wood Buffalo NP in the Northwest Territories, Canada  and winter in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Texas.  While past attempts to establish Whoopers in Idaho failed, there are currently two  projects in the country that are re-establishing Whooping Crane populations. One of  these established flocks is a permanent, non-migrating, population in Florida close to  their historical grounds. Another flock has been established in central WI, at the Necedah  NWR. To re-establish a migration route that has genetically been lost, chicks are  conditioned to follow an ultralight aircraft from Necedah, 1200 miles, to Chassahowitzka  NWR in Florida. They return on their own in spring. As of 2006, this Whooping Crane  population had reached 60, with a world total of wild and captive birds at 470.   Whooping Cranes are the largest flying birds in North America, standing 5" tall,  weighing 14-17 lbs. with a 7-8' wing span. They are pure white except for black primary  wing tips and a red crested head. A black feathered streak comes off their bill which is  greenish-yellow in color. Chicks are born with blue eyes that change to golden yellow as  they mature. 

Go online to the International Crane Foundation to learn more.

Chris Chapman
Chapman Design, Inc.


Toklat Gallery, on Two Rivers Road at Riverside Plaza

(intersection of Two Rivers Road and Midland Avenue)