The members of Real Art Works gather periodically throughout the year to plan events and share creative ideas.
Donald M. Jones is a Montana based Wildlife Photographer specializing in all forms of nature. Don's images are created from his overwhelming passion for being outdoors with his camera in tow. What began as a young boy with binoculars swaying from his neck and a bird book wedged into his back pocket in suburban Chicago has now transformed into a living dream. All of Don's Wildlife subjects are just that, wild. Don refuses to photograph any subjects that are pets or confined to Zoos or Game Farms. His work is authentic and his message is clear: "Keep the Wild in Wildlife".
As a full-time Professional Wildlife Photographer since 1993, Don has established himself as a driven individual in a saturated market by continually offering his clients new and refreshing images and subject matter year after year. His more than 600 magazine covers, which he has been credited with over his career are a testament to this. Some of Don's clients include Audubon, Sierra, National Wildlife Federation, Field & Stream, Time, Outdoor Life, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Columbia Sportswear, Sports Afield, Canadian Wildlife Federation, Frontier Airlines, and LL Bean. Don currently resides in the small town of Troy, Montana with his wife and soulmate, Tess.
Chris and Clint Oster have been making pottery since 2006. They live 35 miles North of Troy in the Yaak Valley. Their work is influenced by the beauty that surrounds them in the mountains…the budding larch, the ferns on the forest floor for impressions, the silhouette of trees on a high ridge, all combined with the blues, greens and earth tones of nature.
Their mugs, plates and platters, vases, and drink cups are made in small batches, with each piece given lots of attention from the forming, trimming the bottoms, to the unique glaze combinations that they have developed. They make each piece as if it will become your favorite mug, cup, or plate for years to come.
The Osters are retired teachers, hailing from the mid-west, who have come back to Clint’s birth state to enjoy the bounty that Montana has to offer. Their pottery is one of many joys of living in Montana.
Recently retired from teaching, a career that spanned from Montana to Alaska, Sherry Hingley has returned home to Iron Creek in Troy Montana.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, Sherry lived at a zoo while she was a child, thus her love for nature was rooted in her daily activities with the animals. From there she was transplanted to Montana where she graduated from High School in Columbia Falls, afterwards attending college in Kentucky where she eventually furthered her studies with a Masters of Education and a K-12 Administrative degree.
CurrentlySherry and her husband Monty are working on “reclaiming the land”. There is much to do when you own a house and have been gone for 11 years. Her artwork is watercolors with details created with pen and ink pointillism.
She has compiled a series of fish nature prints, striving for the colors and details that are evident in the wild.
Monty and Sherry have 8 children between them, 11 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren that they enjoy spending time with. They are looking forward to fishing, gardening and taking drives to soak in the Montana countryside.
Throughout Allyson’s fly fishing, hiking and rafting adventures across the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains, she was inspired to collect conks as a reflection of the times and places she has visited. These unique canvases are the fruiting bodies of the much larger, living forest. Each conk is unique, unpredictable and cannot be reproduced. Allyson uses different mediums dependent on the characteristics of the conk. Among many other interests, Allyson also enjoys pyrography, watercolor, oil and acrylic painting.
Find her on Instagram @cartermtncreations
Tess Jones’s admiration for the natural beauty that surrounds us, a passion for gardening, an appreciation for artists and their work and her own passion for art led Tess to explore the world of gourds. Gourd art, Tess’s obsession, all started with a big gourd that she bought at a pumpkin farm in Ohio. She took her little sister, Ildiko, to a pumpkin farm in Ohio after her mother died, to try to comfort her. It was here that she spotted a mound of moldy gourds. Tess found one that was still green and mailed it home to herself in Troy. Thanks to the internet, she began researching about what to do with a green gourd that was beginning to mold. After many hours researching and no straight forward answers Tess just jumped right in…cut the top off with a saw, cleaned the inside and took the seeds out. Tess planted those seeds and began to grow her own gourds. Tess enjoys the entire process from seed to creating. Crafting with gourds combines her love for gardening and all of nature (the greatest artist) with an art form that allows her to combine each with her appreciation and love for art. Tess creates bird houses, musical instruments, jewelry, ornaments and decorative pieces for the home. The sky is the limit for what can be created with gourds! I thank my mother, husband (Don Jones) our sons Jake and Luke, and friends at RAW for encouraging me to create and display my artwork at this lovely shop!
Since eight years old when he first pulled a piece of thick rebar, yellow-white hot, from a fire, and saw how he could so easily twist it around a pipe, Scott Rodich has been fascinated by the properties of hot steel and the ease at which it could be shaped and worked.
Years later, when Scott was wandering around at a barter fair, he stopped to watch a blacksmith pull a hot bar of steel from his coal forge and start drawing it out on the face of an anvil. After observing for a while, he said to the smith, “I always want to try that.” The Smith, now working the piece of steel with a hammer at the tip of his anvil’s horn, paused for a second, looked up and said, “Well.” That’s it, just that one word.
Well that, “Well,” built a fire under Scott. He returned home, and in the ensuing weeks, he bought a few books at used book stores, scavenged up some basic tools, built himself a small shop and pretty good coal forge, and beggared the family by buying an old, almost worn-out, used anvil. At first, the metal work was just a hobby; then the hobby became a sideline business. Eventually, as he acquired more skills in the trade, the one-time hobby, and his long time passion, became a full-time profession.
That was thirty-four years ago, and there have been changes. Scott has retired his coal forge and replaced it with a propane one, built a bigger shop, and now works with other metals and materials as well. One thing hasn’t changed; he is still up in the Yaak bending steel and making things, doing just what he is meant to do.
We found Michael Conte, hiding in his beautiful shop flattening a birch plank with his 130 year old wooden hand plane on his 175 year old workbench, as if no one would know where he was. Michael loves to restore and use antique tools. As a boy, all he ever wanted to do was make things, mostly out of wood. His first actual shop class was in Jr High School in 1957. Michael is self-taught and has built everything from large barns to the smallest jewelry boxes that fit in the palm of your hand.
Michael’s main career was in the metal fabrication industry. He ended up being self employed as a welder/fabricator with his own fabrication shop. With his love for custom cars this grew into custom car fabrication. Michael specialized in designing and building custom chassis and suspension for street rods, car shows and race cars. Michaels work has been featured in many national magazines from covers to feature articles. All of that peaked in the 1980’s and 90’s. The time came to move on to something new, or maybe something old. Something he loved doing.
Michael married his childhood sweetheart, Bette, in 1964 after he was discharged from the US Navy. In 1992 they bought 75 acres in the upper Pine Creek Valley, 17 miles out of Troy, here in Montana. Together they built the Curly Horse Ranch, and spent the next 18 years as registered breeders of American Bashkir Curly Horses, a special breed. They built most everything on the ranch themselves. They bought their own sawmill so everything started from scratch, and from the land. It proved to be quite a challenge but they had a great time doing it together. Now into their 70’s, they are still at it. After all, Michael is still building, something.
A health challenge in August of 2012 forced Michael to make some changes in his life. He had to slow down. No more big projects for a while. That put him back in his wonderful workshop where he started making those smaller projects again like you see here at Real Art Works. ENJOY!
With an insatiable desire to learn how things are made and grandparents who “made” everything Deanise has dabbled in many art forms, creating since she was a small child, and loves them all.
As a young person she spent a lot of time with a grandfather who enjoyed “rock hounding.” Going out into the wilderness camping to collect stones specimens for jewelry making was what she enjoyed most. That inspired her desire to live in the “woods”, ultimately moving to beautiful Troy 32 years ago with her husband Doug and three children.
Working with stones and beads to create jewelry led to her need to know how beads were made, and the love affair with all things glass began. Lampwork bead making, glass fusing and stained glass are all part of her repertoire of artwork.
Being creative in his own way, building hot rods and working with metal, Doug, upon his retirement, became interested in working with stained glass and has been a part of their Glass Cabin Studio for the past four years.
Much of Doug and Deanise’s inspiration comes from their beautiful surroundings in northwest Montana. They love bringing the arts to their community by being a part of RAW and are always willing to perpetuate their craft through teaching others.
“It may be that our cosmic curiosity is a genetically-encoded force that we illuminate when we look up and wonder.” Neil deGrasse Tyson
“It is said that when a tree dies,
it’s spirit may be released and depicted only through the hands of a carver.”
Milli Beal has always had a passion for creating; bringing new life to old, discarded items. But it wasn't until she moved to Troy in 2007 and fell in love with the breathtaking beauty of her wilderness surroundings that her passion for creating transcended into art.
Shortly after her arrival in Troy, Milli was introduced to woodcarving by Canadian artist Robert Kirk, and immediately discovered that she had a natural ability to transform a discarded piece of tree into what is known as "the spirit of the tree" in ancient folklore. Nothing is ever drawn on the piece beforehand, instead, she allows the piece itself to dictate what it will look like as she carves. That introduction has morphed into all types of woodworking and creating art from natural elements as seen in her beautiful birch baskets, Woodland Ornaments and Magnets, and Antler Jewelry.
Milli enjoys hiking through the dense forest with her husband Gary and their Shih Tzu Rusty, gathering raw materials that can be crafted into art; birch bark, antler sheds, moss, vines…. to her, the forest offers up a myriad of natural elements just waiting to be transformed, and nothing is more gratifying than releasing the beauty veiled beneath decades and even centuries of decay.
Each of her designs come solely from her mind’s eye and reflects how the individual piece speaks to her. They are as unique and mysterious as the forest itself, thus no two creations will ever be exactly the same.
Tammy has never been part of the norm. She enlisted in the Navy in 1985, learning to drive large ships, cranes, and masters small boats. From there she worked moving furniture and packing peoples belongings with United Van Lines, afterward moving on to work for Cincinnati Gas and Electric and is the first female Senior A Lineperson ever to work in Cincinnati. She ran her own crew of 18 people there. She volunteered to go to North Carolina to work on restoration during hurricane Fran.
Tammy has always been interested in learning new things, constantly on the move from one hobby to another. She taught herself about soapmaking 23 years ago because she is allergic to sodium laurel sulfate, the harsh detergent used in bar soap found in grocery stores.
Tammy moved to Montana in 2009, and in 2012 married her bootcamp sweetheart Rick! She started Yaak River Soap Company during the beginning of the Covid Pandemic and now sells her soap through several local outlets including Real Art Works.
A retired fabric and quilt pattern designer, Jackie Robinson ‘found’ machine embroidery a few years ago when an embroidery company asked if they could digitize a Christmas fabric collection she had designed. Knowing that she would need to provide samples, she jumped in. Since that time, 10 of her many fabric collections have been digitized. Jackie decided she wanted ‘more’, and has been steadily improving her own digitizing abilities, creating designs of her own to embroider.
Jackie and her husband, Jerry Wyatt, reside in Eureka in the winter, and primarily in the peaceful Yaak in the summer.
With a passion for sewing that began at an early age, Kathy Jones grew up making much of her own clothing and home decor, and was always hemming jeans for everyone in town. It wasn't until she took an Art Quilting Class in Lake Tahoe, that she was introduced to the world of non-traditional sewing.
In her Art Quilts you will find original hand dyed or silk screened fabrics, creating exciting scenes and interpretations of nature which inspire her daily in her beautiful Northwest Montana surroundings.
Kathy believes that living in Montana is all inspiring in itself, and being around creative people is infectious.
Paul Stark began his interest in photography at an early age as a member of the Cub & Boy Scouts earning merit badges. His interest continued throughout his work life which covered much of the western United States. He took several classes in photography along the way, using this expanded knowledge to do wedding photography, graduations, and portraits in his off work hours.
Paul has always looked for interesting things to record with photography and is inspired by beautiful landscapes, moving water, stunning sunsets, wild animals, wildflowers, and most of all his family.
Phone: 406-291-2012 - 406-291-0026
Mary's love for drawing and painting began as a child: sitting on her father’s knee, coloring and drawing; drawing paper dolls and designing clothes for them with her older sister; making posters for school projects. At several jobs she volunteered to illustrate for brochures or articles. When she went to college she did not major in art, however she did work in as many art classes as she could. Mary also took several art workshops along the way. As an employee at Salish Kootenai College, Mary wrote and illustrated an infant curriculum, Circle of the Infant and a brochure: Children of the Salish and Kootenai Indians which the college published. Her main media is watercolor and colored pencil.
Mary considers it an honor to be part of the RAW gallery, and is available for consignment work - landscape art, and portraits of children and pets.
Becky has been creating jewelry since 1995. Her inspiration comes from many sources, from a spectacular stone that nature has spent thousands of years molding, an exquisitely hand-crafted glass bead, vibrant color combinations, and other artists' endless creativity. Her techniques include fused glass, fired-silver clay, wire-wrapping, mixed media, soutache, quilled paper, zipper art, and enameling. Each piece has been individually designed, so no two pieces are alike, which is what keeps her going in pursuit of her obsession. Exploring new methods will be her never-ending quest.
Becky is also a needle felting artist working with wool to create several collections including Wild Birds, characters from the Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz, Irish Gnomes, and Egg Carton Critters. Each needle felted character she makes takes on its own personality. Her felted wool and paper quilling projects have extended into creating framed pieces. She extends her heartfelt thanks to all of her customers!
Holly and Morgan Coyne are the definition of an artistic team when it comes to wood working. Morgans creativity knows no bounds as he builds beautiful coat and gun racks, serving trays and wall plaques, which Holly then brings to life with her skillful, wood-burned interpretations of Montana's wildlife.
Born and raised in Mesa, Arizona, Morgan has always loved the arts, a love that propelled him into the world of graphic design at the Art Institute of Seattle. Falling in love with the breathtaking beauty of the northwest, he moved to Montana in 2016 to be closer to nature and the simpler life it offered.
Holly has always loved working with children, and her creative abilities were unleashed when she engaged them in various art projects. A desire to be closer to her son who was attending the University of Montana proved to be the incentive she would need to step out and start a fresh new life, leaving the Sunshine State behind and moving cross country to Montana in 2013. She continues to work with children as a Special Education Paraprofessional.
Holly and Morgan met shortly after he arrived in Montana. They were a perfect match, sharing a deep love of nature and various outdoor activities. It wasn’t long before their love of the arts began to mesh, and Into The Forest Art was born. Most of their creations come to life on recycled barn wood, pallet board, and any aged wood with character that they can transform into works of art. Holly and Morgan exchanged vows at a beautiful outdoor ceremony in July of 2019, and now live in Kalispell with their 4 dogs, Nico, Koda, Roxy and Summer.
David inherited a wood lathe from his father's uncle, but never used it until he built a workshop in 2006 and began making wooden spatulas to give to family and friends. He soon realized that what he remembered from his eighth grade shop class wasn't going to get him very far, so he signed up for classes at the Woodcraft store in Spokane. That move changed his life. He bought a new lathe, then another, then another, and went to workshops taught by Russ Fairfield, Trent Bosch, and Mike Mahoney. David's style is evolving from utilitarian to artistic as has the name of his business. It started as Eagle Woodcrafts, and is now Yugen Woodcrafts. Yugen is a Japanese word that has been described as meaning an awareness of the universe that evokes an emotional response too deep and mysterious for words.David hopes that you find yugen in his work.
Woodworking Phone: 406-293-9686