Donna Merchant-Crooks Wins Prestigious Arts Award

*Donna Merchant-Crooks Wins Prestigious Arts Award

This article was in the “The Pagosa Springs Sun” Sept 12,2013.

Donna Merchant-Crooks wins prestigious arts award

By Michael McCoy
Special to The PREVIEW

“Pagosa Springs artist Donna Merchant-Crooks has won the Western Spirit award at the 21st annual Western Design Conference (WDC) in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The award includes a cash prize of $1,000, sponsored by Lora A. Sandroni.

The artist’s winning piece is a carved cherrywood chair embellished with bronze and upholstered in leather.

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Chosen by a panel of six judges, the WDC winners were announced Friday, Sept. 6, at the Design Excellence Awards Ceremony and Celebratory Reception at the Snow King Center.

A signature event of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, the WDC takes place this year Sept. 5-8. Hosted by Teton Home and Living magazine, the event has brought in hundreds of crafts people, scholars, collectors, interior designers, architects and fashion designers with an interest in the West.

The WDC’s Exhibit and Sale is a one-of-a-kind showcase for museum-quality functional art. Many of the nation’s finest western-influenced designers and artists applied to be included among the nearly 100 exhibitors displaying their work.In all, more than $22,200 in cash will be awarded for handcrafted works in leather, metal, accents, woodworking, jewelry and fashion.

The WDC has become known as the world’s preeminent exhibition of western furniture, fashion, and accessories. Not only does it serve as a venue for the current state of western design, but also as a catalyst for the genre’s evolution. The event was established more than two decades ago to perpetuate the best traditions of western design and craft through education, economic opportunities, and the exchange of ideas.”

**Above I’ve attached a few pictures of the award and a few others of the event and family who came to Jackson Hole with me… :)

Saturday Sept 14th a slideshow of the Western Design Conference and other Jackson Hole highlights was released in the travel section of the national, creatively linking it to Fashion Week in New York both in timing and its high-end designs.


Carved Cherry Chair | Donna Merchant-Crooks

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Cherry Carved Custom Chair

Donna Merchant-Crooks

 Picture this, two outlaws have just robbed a bank. they hurriedly ride to the bottom of a mesa where they have tied up their getaway horses and are now scurrying up the rocks to find the hidey hole to bury the loot.

Three things they aren’t aware of is the posse riding over the top of the mesa in search of them. 2nd is the hole in one of the bags that has been leaving a trail of gold nuggets all the way up the climb. Third and dire is the cougar up in the tree above their now “about to bust loose” ponies.

This entire story is being carved into this entire chair even as you read this. The chair you see in this photo is made out of cherry and is currently dry fitted so it can be taken apart to carve.

More pictures to come. Stay tuned.

Custom Art Bronze Mantle Inlay | Donna Merchant-Crooks

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The Artist Donna Merchant-Crooks has finished a custom bronze inlay fireplace mantle. This bronze inlay was inserted into a much larger wood mantle. The bronze piece is 5’ long and 10 inches wide. The finished wood mantle is 14” inches wide and 10’ long. The bronze has been carefully centered in the mantle. Shown is two sections of the bronze completed. Enjoy the photos of the finished mantle in this remarkable setting.

Wood Carved Custom Doors | Donna Merchant-Crooks

For the past year artist Donna Merchant-Crooks has been carving 7 bedroom doors and Two front doors for a big house outside of Pagosa Springs CO.  Below are some of the drawings and photo’s of these doors being carved. The finished product is nothing less than amazing.

The front exterior doors measure 9’ high and 42” wide each. All of the custom carved doors are alder. Donna said “This was a huge bunch of fun working on this home”.

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After posting the finished door photo’s on the site, Donna received a number of “kuddos” from fellow artists and associates. We thought we would share this one:

Hi Donna,

Great to talk to you today and to share the pictures of your artistry this year. I really was blown away by them and remembered seeing them on your work table this summer. I remembered seeing the sketches. It really is astonishing how all of these visions and insights and intuitions organize themselves into art under your hands. It is as though you summon them out of the wood and bronze and into themselves. As you carve and sculpt these pieces, bears and wild horses are set free to live in the imagination of all who see them. How lucky are the patrons who commissioned them because now they get to live with them everyday.

When I see work like this, it transcends craftsmanship. It changes the way I see the world!




Traveling Art Presentation | “Can You Hear Me Now!” | Donna Merchant-Crooks

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Traveling Art Presentation

“Can You Hear Me Now!”

“Can You Hear Me Now!” is a traveling art presentation unveiling powerful insights reflected through female form presented by the Artist herself. This show is emotional, empowering, educational, and humorous.

Weaving stories through speaking, showing actual artwork, and slides, award winning Donna Merchant-Crooks is a natural at bringing you into a world you’ll remember and recognize through your own life’s experiences. Check this site for upcoming shows.

Please contact Donna to set up a show in your area.

Phone: 970-264-5092
Cell#: 970-903-3405

Bronze Artwork | Donna Merchant-Crooks | The Bronzing Artist

Donna Merchant-Crooks

The Bronzing Artist


Bronzing is a fascinating worth going to a foundry and taking a free tour. Visiting will give you an actual virtual tour of the bronzing process. I create my pieces in clay beginning with a wire armature or “skeleton.” This structurally holds the piece together while the clay is being formed. Wax can also be used to create the piece. When done , off to the foundry it goes. A mold is made of the piece, a ceramic cast is made from the mold, and into this is poured the bronze. When cooled the cast is broken off and there is the original, now in bronze.

More of Donna Merchants-Crooks Bronze Art Work:

Moon River

Reaching the Top… They Express Their Joy Bronze Art

A Shoulder To Lean On Bronze Art

Bronze Art Donna Merchant-Crooks | Reaching the Top They Express Their Joy

Reaching the Top They Express Their Joy


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Bronze Art by Donna Merchant-Crooks
Life can be very challenging. Why go at it alone? “Reaching The Top…” is all about the joy of friendship. It is the friendships we surround ourselves with that not only support us in our climb, but also celebrate the journey.

For this piece I chose obvious challenges women deal with, weight, getting older, breast cancer. Those are challenges we see on the outside. But who knows of the pain, loss, fear, loneliness, etc. we may carry inside. Having friends to share and confide in is a gift. Having friends you can laugh, yell, scream and jump for joy with is everything.

In honor of all those friendships “Reaching The Top…” was born.


Other Bronze Art by Donna Merchant-Crooks

Moon River

A Shoulder To Lean On Bronze Art