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May 9, 2012     The Adams County Record
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May 9, 2012
 

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Page 12 Community Spotlight Wednesday, May 9, 2012 Jenni Ritch Works to Make Art Dreams Come True The Adams County Record By Deb Wilson Jenni Ritch, 28-year- old barista of the recent- ly closed Council Coffee Company, dreams artistic dreams. Her website "sol- creations.carbonmade. corn" and Facebook page show examples of her intricately-blown glass- work and jewelry. Her photography captures angles of -unique per- spective. She continues her plans to market her own creations, even while working multiple jobs in the day-to-day world of just making a living. lenni lived in McCall until age 7, when her parents moved to Mesa Hill. She enjoyed being the only child until age 8. She admires her younger )rother Charlie, a natural musician since he picked up a ukulele at age 3. He's in Boise pursuing his heavy metal dream with a rock band called Brawl. He's outspoken, she gets stage fright. They are both talented artists. Her parents have been her heroes, and helped her become an independent learner. Many may know her mom Myra Ritch, who is Nina Trainor's special education aide at Council Elementary School. Jenni admires her compassion and humor. "She has a way of getting through to the kids;' she explained. "She gives them respect, and helps them make their own right decisions" An artist and musician, her father David mastered sflversmithing, woodwork- ing, and casting bronze wildlife. She remembers the engaging aroma of warm clay he gave her for play while she spent child- hood hours in his work- After running out of gas shop. She recalls frequent trips to the Joseph foundry, and her dad's elegant jew- elry surrounding her. Her father died when she was 19, after a cou- rageous fight With cancer that kept him alive much longer than the doctors' predictions. Dad never told her how sick he was, but watching him fade she knew, and spent every possible day with him until the end. She'll never forget his excite- ment when she decided to pur- sue glass blow- ing. She wished she had shown more interest in art when her dad was around, but there was too much com- petition from friends and boys. At 17 she fell in love with her husband Julien Patrick, and they were married in 2005 in a beau- tiful outdoor ceremony on the Salmon River. "Julien is a man's man;' she said, %utdoorsy, honorable, and a woman's defender:' His mother is Chris Patrick, an organic gardener. His father, Bob, runs a local drywall company. "I couldn't ask for more fun in-laws:' she admitted. They celebrated their honeymoon travel- ing through Canada in a rebuilt 1960 VW camper. they trekked for miles through the snow, but for- tunately they were eventu- ally rescued. She and ]ulien still find the best camping and hiking spots, summer and winter, especially up Council Mountain behind their house. The Salmon River also rates highly, and then there's Botchy ball, creek fishing, hunting...all of the outdoor events that Idaho provides. They left Idaho in 2005 to start her art career in Bend, Oregon, where she worked a 7-month appren- ticeship with a seasoned glass blower. She. had already developed some skill with soft glass that provided super colorful and surrealistic patterns. Hard glass artistry requires a propane and oxygen torch to melt the tip of a glass rod into a big fiat disk, while spin- ning the rod to keep the disk on the end. The glass softens like toffee, and a masher is used to shape it. Melted colored glass rods, dabbed, shaped and but there were still lots of burns. She punched coated metal rods into the hard- ening glass to form bead holes. Metallic specks in the beads come from applying a material called "dichro" which must be swirled create the decora- heated very carefully to tive inner designs. "Each avoid explosion. rod has a mind of its own, The result: exotic and based on its composition; delicate hand-made jew- she explained, "It makes elry ... intricate caterpillars, each piece unique: Glass jars and vases require hollow glass rods, carefully blown and expanded. It's dangerous work, and hot siring in front of the torch. Quickly she learned to use a rolling chair for fast escapes, and to avoid wearing synthetic materials which retain the heat. Safety glasses and gloves gave protection from hazardous flames, mushrooms, flowers and tree branched pendants. She learned much of it onher own, and sold her wares in local shops. lulien want- ed to return to Council for his dad's business. They'd been back a year when she lost her dreams and tools on a dry August day in 2008. Someone threw a ciga- rette out a car window near her mom's home, set- ting fire to her mom's three outbuildings, including Jenni's work- shop. The building explod- ed when the flames hit. She was working on a river float trip that week, and came home outraged and stunned that it all could be *destroyed so quickly and so thoughtlessly. Still, with the loss she discovered other artistic outlets, and moved into photography. An employer had talked her into paint- ing landscapes on saws. She studied her photos and decided to paint them, which led to acrylics les- sons last winter with Kaye York in Cambridge. Now, true-life paintings of her beloved dogs Sage and Marley adorn her walls. She's hoping to develop more photos and paintings for sale. lenni pushes to stay employed. Summers she assists on the Hughes River Expeditions. 'Tm either cooking it, cleaning it or packing it every trip;' she laughed. "Just call me the river maid." She also substitutes for her mom at the elementary school, and cooks at" an organic restau- rant in McCall. She misses the coffee shop, but hopes she'll find another position at the river season's end. Her most important val- ues are honesty and the ability to walk in someone else's shoes. "Don't judge by the way someone looks;' she said. "Our community would benefit from less judgment and less rumor. Give people a chance7 She remembers how she felt judged upon her return to Council just because of her tattoo and body piercing. But she also appreci- ates how neighbors pool resources, especially when her friend Paula Schuck was injured. She's amazed how community members work together to give kids sports and field trips. Ultimately she wants to return to art as a career. As Robert Frost said, and she says as well, "I'd like to unite my avocation with my vocation." With her talent and drive, she just might succeed. Vote Gabbert for Adams County Prosecuting Attorney "Competent, experienced legal advice with uncompromised integrity equals one who has earned your vote." Adams County PrOsecutor since 2001 Licensed attorney for over 40 continuous years Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys' Association Paid for by Myron Gabbert for Prosecuting Attorney NAPA McCatt 634-2238 PAKT$ Councit 253-4234 t Find us on Facebook TOOL SALE! MAY IOTH IN COUNCIL Demo's by Schaeffer and AmerSeal Representatives Free Lunch 11:30 to 1:00pro 25% Off Entire BK Line! Trailer and Towing t;ie downs, gas cans, sear, covers, floor rnat:s- too t,o lis!