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Mineral art a gold mine for local artist

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By Sara Miller

Word on the street is that people aren’t buying as much art. With the downturn in the economy, art — often considered a luxury item — can be one of the first purchases to go.

Victoria Thomas, artist and owner of Kaleidoscope Gallery, hasn’t felt the pinch, though. In the last year, Thomas has seen a steady stream of sales of her unique found-mineral artwork, has opened her own gallery in Evergreen, and continues to expand her business in new directions.

Perhaps it is the diverse nature of Thomas’ business, Kaleidoscope Designs, that has allowed her to buck the economic trends. Thomas started her business as an interior faux designer, creating hand-painted faux finish treatments for the walls of her clients’ homes. She soon expanded to include more of her artistic interests. Her online and word-of-mouth business included handmade jewelry, interior design consultation services and her trademark mineral art.

Thomas’ passion for the outdoors runs through all of her art. Raised in Colorado, Thomas spent hours discovering natural treasures during her youth. As an adult, Thomas began incorporating these natural wonders into her artwork. Whether it is an impressionistic daisy created with Colorado amazonite and pyrite or a wall mural made to look like the shimmering surface of a pearl, Thomas’ art is truly inspired by nature.

In early 2009, after seeing interest in her “encaustic” mineral art increase, Thomas decided it was time to expand her business.

“I decided to follow my heart and open a gallery,” she says.

Kaleidoscope Designs shares a retail space with Rocky Mountain Log Furniture in Evergreen. Thomas has her own gallery area and has incorporated her art into display vignettes with the log furniture.

“We decided that our ‘artistic’ styles were so synergistic, why not try to combine them? We currently have an aspen log coffee table that incorporates my mineral art into the tabletop, and I’m working on an armoire that is accented with my art,” says Thomas.

Thomas also decided to invite several other artists who share her artistic vision to become part of the gallery. She represents an oil painter, a watercolorist, a photographer and an artist specializing in kinetic art. Thomas hopes to find a sculptor and a glass artist whose work complements the gallery’s body of work.

Meanwhile, Thomas has perfected her one-of-a-kind mineral art style. In addition to her impressionistic pieces, Thomas is creating mineral art address signs for homeowners and is accepting custom commissions for residential art.

“I just completed an art mirror for a client that lives in Evergreen, and I’ve signed on to do several large wall murals in several high-end homes,” says Thomas.

Thomas is also eager to share her love of the outdoors and Colorado’s mineral treasures with others. She recently started offering personalized rock-hounding and off-road tours.

“In all my years of rock hounding, I’ve made friends with several landowners,” says Thomas. “I’ve obtained permission to take my clients digging for amethyst, topaz, tourmaline, aquamarine and other minerals in Colorado. The tour makes for a fun day for a family. It’s a chance to get out in nature, hear a little Colorado history, and maybe find some natural treasures along the way.”

For more information, visit the gallery at 27945 Meadow Drive in Evergreen or online at www.kaleidoscope-designsonline.com.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.