When you look at her art, the first thing that comes to mind is quirky. Whimsical, fanciful, unconventional. Like nothing you've seen before.
Rhonda Elwood is one of the newer artists at Artisans of Mancos. She admits to doing all kinds of art, but the one thing that you can count on with her creations is that it is original and expressive.
The pieces that she has in the Artisan's gallery are her hand-dyed scarves - silk scarves with colors and designs on them - and her handmade baskets that are made from fabric, thread and various decorations.
While most art is unique and one-of-a-kind, particular to the artist that creates it, Elwood's art is fun to look at and you wonder how it was made.
"A project has to scream at me that it needs doing," she said.
She dabbles in many media, from polymer clay, to beads, paper and water pencils, to fabric, wool and glass.
"I love design ... and being a little different," she said.
She was born in Oregon and grew up mostly in Seattle, Wash. She moved to the Cortez area less than a year ago to be closer to her mother, who also lives in Cortez. "This is a very different area," Elwood said. "It's different in climate, in the people and in what people like."
In Seattle, she said, there was a lot more disposable income and people were more inclined to buy things - such as art - that they wanted. Here, she said, she's seen a more practical side to people.
Plus, she said, she's had to learn how to promote herself as an artist. "I worked full-time in the corporate world there, until I got laid off. Now I'm trying to turn my hobbies - my art - into my living."
When you look around her home, you see parts of her creativity everywhere. From the paintings on the wall, to the beaded dolls and jewelry in her work space, her passion is anything to do with art, and her art is only limited by her imagination. Many of her Christmas ornaments are made from her whimsical ideas as well.
She is currently working on illustrating a children's storybook. She gets her ideas from watching people and incorporating animals into it and draws and paints the pictures to go with the stories She hopes to do more of that in the future as the ideas come to her.
Elwood continues to design and fashion her art as she learns what she loves. She can be reached at Rhonda.Elwood@gmail.com.