There was an entry at this year's Mesa County Fair that not only got Dixie's attention, it took her to Fruita to learn more about the man who created it.
His name is Steve Hindman, and he's always loved working with wood. Then a few years ago after retiring from the Navy and raising a family, he and his wife Peggy discovered a centuries-old Italian art form that really magnifies his talents and wins him awards.
"We've been back here in Fruita about nine years now, since I retired from the Navy," Hindman explained.
Since then, he's had more time to develop his creativity. The art form he chose had many folks asking what it was and how it was done.
"Intarsia (as it is called) is an ancient Italian artform that originates back to the fifteen to sixteen hundreds. Varieties of different wood for the colors are used to make an image," explained Hindman.
Steve started his prize-winning creation last fall, entered several competitions, and lucky for us, the timing was right to enter open class at the fair.
"We won the first place, best in show, people's choice, and fair theme," recounted Hindman.
So how does this whole process start? And if you don't stain the wood, where do all the colors come from?
"We go to Denver occasionally and we buy some exotic woods over there that are not indigenous to the United States. Some of them we use as purple heart and it's really a purple; deep, dark purple. The piece for the fair we used, we used some yellow-heart in it, which is yellow," Hindman explained. "It's just amazing the different varieties of color you can find in wood."
So has he thought about next year?
"It'll be a nature type, you know, garden, I think, is what we decided," Hindman revealed.
Steve found his passion that's adding real joy to his boomer years.
"It's a real enjoyment to be able to do something I love to do and I always enjoy doing," he explained. "So I look forward to actually getting up each day."
Peggy takes great pride in helping her guy.
"I'm actually the one that gets the fun part. I get to see the wood actually come to life," she explained. "Because the coloring that he has is not the same as what I'm going to see once I get top coat on it."
His work, that includes pieces of various sizes around the area, around the country, and around the world.
"Just recently we have several pieces at Alida's down on Main Street, and he's displaying that now," Steve explained. "We also have our own website as well."
To see Steve's prize-winning Mesa County Fair entry and for more information on where you can purchase his work, Click here