Wrap sheets

Local First, local artists collaborate on holiday wrapping paper

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NANCY RICHMOND/Herald illustration

Durango's “buy local" movement is nothing new - just try to get through a Durango Herald without seeing the word“Holidazzle" this month.

But even the most diehard local gift givers haven't had a lot of hometown choices when it comes time to wrap the presents, other than the daily paper.

Enter Carol Clark and Local First, the Durango organization dedicated to keeping La Plata County dollars in La Plata County. Clark saw the incongruity of wrapping locally purchased gifts in mass-produced gift paper, and she did something about it. Working with six local artists, Clark created what seems to be Durango's first locally produced holiday wrapping paper.

“What it comes down to usually is that you don't have those choices, and the questions we ask are: 'What are we missing? What do we need to do or create to have more choices?'" Clark said. The paper, which was printed at the Herald's plant in Cortez, features designs by Durango artists Cindy Coleman, Heather Leavitt, Debra Greenblatt, Kris Hickcox, Tim Kapustka and Susana Wickstrom, a student who got involved with the project through the Durango Discovery Museum.

“Artists are so creative and fun to work with. If I had the choice to buy Kris Hickcox's paper or someone I don't know, I choose Kris. It's important for the community to embrace that mindset," Clark said.

Each sheet is 23 inches by 25 inches, which is the same size as an unfolded newspaper page. The paper will be sold in bundles of 12 sheets with two sheets of each artist's design. Three of the designs feature repeated images and three, including Greenblatt's, contain a single image.

“I thought a lot about what it would look like when it's folded, and I tried to design it that way," Greenblatt said of her holiday montage.

The pencil and marker drawing includes a Star of David, candle, Christmas tree and snowflake.

“I'm Jewish, but I'm not really very religious. But whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, it's a very spiritual and religious time, and they're why there's a holiday season," Greenblatt said.

The Local First wrapping paper is the second major venture by the organization, which recently published the Be Local coupon book. Clark said it's the first component of a larger holiday “shop local" campaign she hopes to roll out in 2010.

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““Artists are so creative and fun to work with."”

—Carol Clark, Local First, organizer of artist wrapping paper