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James Haas

Jim Haas jewelrySavage Spirit! features the final works of the late Moab jewelry artist James Haas (1958-2012). Jim’s passion was the stones, which he cut & polished. He taught himself silversmithing and kept the settings clean & simple to show off Mother Nature’s art.

Jim grew up in the Denver area. As a young boy, he loved exploring nature. He would find cool rocks and share them with his friends. He attended Western State University in Gunnison, CO to study geology. Circumstances did not allow him to complete his degree, and he spent many years logging in the summer and working at Crested Butte ski resort in the winter. As he realized that he would not be able to continue that lifestyle indefinitely, he went to Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Santa Monica, CA where he graduated at the top of his class and became a Certified Gemologist. After a few years appraising jewelry, Jim realized the suit and tie life was not for him and began creating his own jewelry which he sold at art festivals. For the past 20 plus years, Jim pursued his passion; cutting and polishing the stones he loved, creating beautiful jewelry where the stone was the focus, traveling to art festivals where he could talk about the stones he loved and educate people.

Jim met his wife, Cathya Savage-Haas (owner of Savage Spirit!), at an art festival in 1998 and they settled in Moab, which Jim thought was the most beautiful place on earth. They opened a store, Cave Dreamers, selling their work & handcrafted items made by friends. But Jim missed the open road and the adventure, so they closed the store and returned to art festivals. He developed an international clientele that love the clean, classic lines and impeccable workmanship of his Stoneage Jewelry. Jim participated in many prestigious art shows and received awards for his jewelry at the Indian Wells Arts Festival & the St. George Art Festival.

Jim Haas jewelryThe first and most crucial step in the creation of Stoneage Jewelry was the selection of stones. Jim sorted through tons of rough gemstones to select only the highest quality and most beautiful stones. From there, he cut the rough chunks of stones into slices or slabs. Jim would carefully study each unique slab and cut it into smaller pieces to best showcase the distinctive beauty of each stone. Each piece was then hand shaped by coarse grinding on a flat lap machine. Through a process of successively fine grinds, Jim polished each stone to perfection.

Jim Haas jewelryJim then handcrafted sterling silver settings for each stone. Since each stone was individually hand cut and polished, no two are the same. Therefore each stone required a custom made setting. These were then made into pendants, earrings, and rings. Jim produced a line of jewelry where his classic, sophisticated styles showcased the natural beauty of the stones.

Jim died on June 4, 2012 at age 53 after a brief illness. It appears that the major culprit was undiagnosed, untreated diabetes which lowered his immune system. After successfully surviving a severe bacterial infection, Jim developed pneumonia and sepsis. Despite valiant efforts by the ICU staff at St. Mary’s in Grand Junction, Jim’s immune system was unable to combat the infections and eventually everything shut down.
Jim’s guiding principle was to do what he loved and share that with others. He was fulfilled that he had found a way to make a living doing what he loved.

Stop by Savage Spirit! 87 N Main, to check out Jim’s Stoneage Jewelry.

Big Horn Gallery Displays the Moab Studio Tour

The Moab Artists Studio Tour celebrates its first decade with a special group show at the Bighorn Gallery at Dead Horse Point from July 4th through August 24th. The opening reception for the exhibit is July 4th from 2-5 pm and the community is invited to join the party and help celebrate our community of creativity.

The Bighorn Gallery exhibit will include all 24 of the 2013 Studio Tour artists. Participating Moab artists are Robin Straub & Phil Wagner, Sarah Hamingson, Helen Becker, Nick Eason, Jacci Weller, Bruce Hucko, Bob Ridges, Jonathan & North Frank, Gail Darcey, Eleanor Inskip, Scott Anderson, Tim Morse & James McKew, and the Moab Pastel Guild whose exhibiting members are Larry Thomas, Mary Collar, Peggy Harty, Thea Nordling, Margie Lopez-Read, and Marsha Modine. The tour continues in Castle Valley with Michael Ford Dunton, Adele Alsop and Yrma van der Steenstraeten. The exhibit will include a diverse array of media including watercolor, pastel painting, oil and acrylic painting, stained glass, fabric creations, photography, sculpture (wood, stone and steel) and gourds!

“If we show it, you should come!” quips Bruce Hucko, one of the tour organizers and chief rabbit herder. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the community to see all of our work in one place. You can use the exhibit as a live mini tour and decide which artists you want to visit on a more lengthy and personal basis during our main event.”

North FrankThe original 3-artist, 3-site event has steadily grown and now includes 23 artists at 15 different sites. These sites are home and professional studios that the public is invited to visit during the annual studio tour August 31 and September 1 from 10 AM until 4 PM. The Studio Tour has an educational focus. Participating artists have work in progress and visitors are encouraged to enter the process by observing and asking questions. “There are many, many people making art in Moab,” says Hucko, “while the working artists of the tour may be some of the most visible, I’d venture to say that everyone in Moab has an artist on their block or in their family.”

The Studio Tour artists are a persistent lot. While sales are certainly gratifying there are other reasons why the tour continues to grow. “I started out attending the Studio Tour in its early days,“ said artist Sarah Hamingson. “Then I exhibited with the Moab Pastel Guild, and now, I’ll be showing at my home studio. You just never know where the studio tour might lead you. It’s a lot of fun however you’re involved.” To which Robin Straub adds, “Why do I participate in the Tour? “ Of all the events in Moab, the Artist’s Studio Tour is my favorite - it provides an opportunity for me to share and sell my paintings where I live and work. What could be better than that!?”

The only thing that could possibly be “better than that” is YOUR ATTENDANCE at the Dead Horse Point Moab Artist Studio Tour Exhibit. See you there!

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