Denver art & craft fair jury members

Meet the jurors for our Denver Summer 2017 Fair!

Helen Rice: Willow Founder and Owner

Tell us a little about yourself & your background in the arts & crafts world: 

Twelve years ago I started a small art consignment shop in a tiny side-street space in downtown Littleton.  My little business grew steadily over the first few years and when I had an opportunity to move into a prime space on historic downtown Littleton's Main street, I jumped at it.  I started as more of a fine art gallery, but when the recession hit, I had to quickly restructure, shifting my focus to gift items.  I figured people would still buy gifts for other people before they'd buy an expensive piece of art for themselves, so I stayed focused on handmade items and it proved to be a good fit!  I believe that was when the handmade movement gained momentum, as well.  People turned to "making" things themselves, flexing their entrepreneurial muscles and selling their work directly to the public, who readily embraced and supported them in a big way.

What / who is your biggest inspiration?

Any woman who has or had the courage to make her way (and a difference) in this world! 

What do you love most about the handmade movement?

The return to basics - realizing that we can be innovative with common materials and make things with our own hands that are functional, fresh and beautiful! 

Tell us about a few favorites of yours; food, color, animal?

A nice, big, juicy burger - loaded!

Any shade of BLUE is my favorite color!

DOGS, Dogs, dogs....I love them all!

What are you most looking forward to in being a part of the Jackalope Arts jury? 

Seeing new, fresh work from our local makers!

What is the most important feature in an artist's application for you?  

Innovation and originality

Where can we find out more about you?

Besides owning and operating my store, I also produce an 3-day annual urban art retreat in September.  The retreat is called Art Makers Denver and you can find out more about that and ME at

Marlene: Caboodle Gifts Founder and Owner

How did you get your start in the handmade community?

Even though my mom doesn't think of herself as artistic or crafty she is.  When I was young my mom often made gifts for friends and even sold a few things.  My favorite was candles.  My mom made molded candles and the room she made them in always smelled so good.  Back in the 60's there was a lot of macrame going on and my mother did that also.  Hanging planters, wall art and gods eyes were done a lot.  In the summer we took art and craft classes at the school.  When I started teaching preschool and kindergarten I came to love crafting with things people would typically throw out: kleenex boxes, toilet paper tubes, boxes, etc.  When I started my store I really wanted to focus on handmade and local.  There are so many "closet crafters" out there who didn't have an outlet for their crafts other than doing fairs.

What/Who is your biggest inspiration?

I can't really say there is one person or thing.  I feel like I get different kinds of inspiration from different people and places.  Inspiration comes from connection.  When you connect on a real level with something or someone you become inspired!  Love, beauty, heartbreak, adventure, challenge.  If the world touches you, you will find a way to express it in some way whether it is a poem, song, story, painting, jewelry etc., etc., etc.

Tell us a few favorites of yours?

My favorite color right now is probably a teal shade.  

My favorite people are probably my kids.  They range in age from 18 to 23 and I am just loving watching them turn into adults and finding their passions and working to that end.  

My favorite dream is winning the lottery.  I love to think of all the ways I would use the money to relax and do good!

My favorite drink is a chai latte.

My favorite thing to do in any gathering is play games (of all kinds).

What do you love most about the handmade movement?

I think the thing I love most about the resurgence of handmade crafts is the peace and community it offers people.  Almost everyone I talk to who crafts does it because they love it, it is their stress relief.  It also brings people together.  Someone will always want to learn how you do something.  So you teach them, or you tell them.  You have shared your passion and excitement for life and that spark will spread like wildfire!

What is the most important feature in an artists application for you? 

In the application itself it will probably be the picture and description of what the artist does.  Do they take pride in their work and take care to craft an item of good quality not something that is slapped together and likely to fall apart?  The application needs to be thorough and provide all the information that is asked for.

What are you looking forward to the most in joining the jury panel with Jackalope?

I look forward to being a part of the reason someone comes to a craft fair and falls in love with crafting or handmade items.  I have always loved event planning (worked to put on conferences, weddings, bat mitzfahs and fundraisers a lot!) and I love it when a patron comes away saying they loved it.

Heather Okimoto: Editor in Chief and Cofounder of Denver Style Magazine

How did you get your start in the Denver fashion community?

By attending local fashion events and getting involved. I met local fashion icons that have created a foundation for a thriving community, helped with fashion shows, markets, and boutique openings, and started shopping local. When you surround yourself with people that are creating, you begin to create your own work. Community is the circle of creative life.

How is Denver’s fashion scene evolving?

Every apartment building filled with new residents, office tower filled with new commuters, and community workspace that invites creativity comes the experiences, travels, and style of new inhabitants. The inspiration of style between residents new and old changes the demand of products offered and creates opportunity for new trends.

What/Who is your biggest inspiration?

Denver. I am in constant awe of the support of the people in this city. Whether you’re starting a business, adventure, or new life path, you’ll be supported. The spirit of community and involvement is alive and well and I love seeing people believing in people.

Tell us a few favorites of yours (animal, tv show, weekend activity, food etc)?

School supplies. Side dishes. Dateline. Sundresses and wedges. Dinner dates with myself and a stack of new magazines. News anchors. Appropriate pockets. La Croix. Cooking more than I can eat. Documentaries. Puns.

What do you love most about the handmade movement?

It’s actually made. Most of us have grand ideas of projects we’re going to do and things we’re going to make with no follow up. These artists go beyond just the idea and make it happen. They take the time to create a product, build a brand, but most importantly put themselves out there.

What is the most important feature in an artist's application for you?

Passion for product. I love to be sold through a story. I enjoy knowing that an artist is creating a product that they believe in and want to share with others.


What are you looking forward to the most in joining the jury panel with Jackalope?

Shopping. I’ve attended quite a few Jackalope experiences and always walk away with finds from new vendors. Jackalope is full of treasures for friends and family, but it’s also the best place to find that ‘I’ve been meaning to...’ item. You know, the new candle for the bathroom or guest bedroom, Colorado tee you’ve been meaning to replace because the wine stain is just too obvious, or tote bag to carry all your goods. Find me shopping with my ‘I’ve been meaning to’ list.

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