As I walk into the Smokebrush Gallery, the staff is busy unpacking boxes. They reveal Indian imports, ranging from large teak armoires to festive wooden cowbells. The handwoven rugs haven't arrived yet, but the photos of Indian weavers, working three to a rug, are impressive.
"When we had these sales in Cleveland, people would park their trucks all around the night before, waiting for the sale to start," says Stu Fishman. "They would come from as far away as Baltimore and Boston to get their hands on these items."
It's in this fashion that Smokebrush continues its celebration of mystic arts this month. Its Asian Marketplace includes the furniture, rugs and historic relics of Fishman's import company, New Niches Imports, and selections from Jacqueline Lundquist's collection of clothing, jewelry and accessories.
In his hometown of Cleveland years ago, Fishman met Lundquist, who is married to Richard Celeste, former ambassador to India and current president of Colorado College. They shared a love of Indian art.
After both relocated to Colorado (Fishman now lives in Vail with his wife, Sue), they reconnected and decided to expose the foreign works they admired to local audiences.
The sale they've put together features astoundingly low prices, with proceeds benefiting artists in India and the Smokebrush Foundation.
"Some of the palaces in India are hundreds of years old. People can't live in them anymore, but in India, everything is reused," Fishman explains, holding up some beautiful ink stamps and candelabra holders. "The beams and the building materials are used in new constructions, but these are pure works of art."
While some of the larger pieces of furniture are incredibly detailed featuring three-dimensional carvings of Ganesh and other gods, and precise ornamentation others are more utilitarian.
Fishman laughs as he displays a tiered oblong object.
"See this? It's a camel saddle. But at home," he says, flipping it, "we use it as a towel rack." capsule
First Friday Art Walk and Open House: Mystic Arts Asian
The Smokebrush Gallery and Chapel of Art, 218 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 102
Friday, March 3, 5-8 p.m.
Call 444-1012 or visit
smokebrush.org for more.