Portrait Gallery: Jamie Roeber
Jamie Roeber always knew she wanted to be an art teacher, but a sculptor with chicken wire? Well, that was a surprise.
Within the past year, Roeber, the art teacher at Hotchkiss High School, started sculpting Western-themed items from scrap chicken wire she found in Delta County.
Among the items she’s built are: a 6-foot-tall guitar, a 5-foot-tall cowboy boot, and a life-size cowgirl in a bear-claw bathtub.
“Each piece I create brings the country to life,” the Paonia artist said. “The best part of chicken wire is how it is able to transform from a ranching material to icon of the West. It came to me as a surprise when I first sculpted with the medium, but then I loved the visual and physical texture.”
The process of making a chicken wire sculpture begins with finding the wire. “I’m looking for old wire,” Roeber said. “New is too shiny.”
Then she layers the chicken wire to the thickness of whatever she is building. She stretches the wire and folds it. There is a lot of cutting and bending, Roeber said.
“Chicken wire likes to be flat,” she said, sarcastically, to emphasize how time-consuming her sculptures are.
Although she is relatively new to sculpting with chicken wire, she is not a newcomer to working with her hands thanks to a father who taught industrial arts on the Front Range.
“I love working with metal,” Roeber said. “I’ve been welding since kindergarten.”
Roeber will be the featured artist during in a show at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, in the Churro Gallery of the Creamery Arts Center in Hotchkiss.
“This is my first show,” Roeber said with enthusiasm. “I’ve been so driven at being an art teacher and doing everything for my students, that I’ve never taken time to focus on my own art.”
Are you an artist, or know a great artist, interested in being profiled in Portrait Gallery? If so, email Melinda.Mawdsley @gjsentinel.com.