This article originally appeared on cherrycreeknorth.com
With over 20 art-related businesses in Cherry Creek North, Show of Hands has been a staple in the community for 35 years. Co-owners, Mandy Moscatelli and Katie Friedland, talked “upcycling” and “spiritiles” with us, and shared a little about the family of artists they’ve come to represent.
Show of Hands is a gallery and a gift shop. Give us an idea of the scope of what you sell here.
Mandy: You can get anything from a $3 token or greeting card, up to designing your own furniture. Like the table and chairs we’re sitting at.
Tell me about this table and chairs. I’ve never seen anything like it before.
Katie: It’s made by a company called Sticks out of Des Moines. You can buy pieces on show room floors, or get something custom made. Each piece is made by hand. They have woodworkers, wood burners, paints, stainers…they also do leather upholstery. My 15 year old kitchen table was custom made by them. Their things are made to be used, and to tell a story.
Looking around, I’m guessing just about every item in here has a story. What are some of your favorite stories?
Mandy: I think I would go with the Spiritiles. Because that was our first big collection that we landed.
What is a “Spiritile?”
Mandy: They are wood blocks wrapped in copper and the artist, Houston Llew, uses ground glass to make the artwork. And he comes out with new tiles only a couple of times a year. They have quotes around them and who said the quote on top. They’re called Spiritiles because they’re all meaningful and uplifting and they’re about life and love and journeys. A lot of people collect them. Katie and I met the artist on our very first show we went on together and about six months later we landed the account. We’re always in the top five selling galleries for him. And we both have big collections at home.
Your turn, Katie.
Katie: I’ve got a few, but I will go with Alan Moore. He’s part-time in Colorado, part-time in Florida. I love his story because they have five kids. They homeschool their children. All the work is hand-done with bottle caps and his children actually create some of the pieces as well. They are just salt-of-the-earth sweet people. It’s a family business.
Describe one of Alan Moore’s pieces for us…
Katie: He takes recycled wood as the base of the wall piece. Then he uses bottle caps or cut out cans to make an image. He’s made all sorts of designs: a buffalo, a bicycle, a fish, a fox. They’re beautiful.
Alan Moore also works with your gallery to put on Upcycled Workshops for adults and kids, right?
Katie: Right. We offer these classes several times a year. Alan uses all kinds of unique items to make one-of-a-kind works of art…like vintage cans, antique buttons, piano parts, etc. The classes last about two hours. We supply all the materials, beverages and snacks. All the information in on our site at www.showofhandsdenver.com.
Is it hard not to take everything home with you?
Mandy: Oh yeah.
Katie: My house looks exactly like the store, colors and everything.
Show of Hands is 35 years old. How has it changed over the years?
Katie: It was started by a group of co-op members who sold their own art through the gallery. They worked at the gallery. They had shows. Little by little, the co-op members were bought out and it went down to two owners. It sustained itself for a really long time and then Mandy and I came in about five and a half years ago and took over the store. But the premise has always been handmade American art. Mandy and I have held really true to that, but given it our own twist. We’ve just really made it our own.
Why stay in Cherry Creek North all this time? There are lots of arts districts in Denver…
Mandy: The original co-op that started here wanted to bring art and fun to this little outdoor neighborhood. And now our customers know us here. Artists know us here. People throughout the country know of our store. It’s where our roots are.