RIDGWAY – Ted and Katie Moews have been making art related to the era of the mountain man for decades, but this week’s show of their work at the Ridgway Library (opening reception Saturday, Aug. 14) marks the first time they have exhibited together.
“Katie’s stoked,” Ted said. “It’s usually just me. She’s going to be showing some of her beaded bags and buckskin clothes. It’ll be fun, and a little different than the usual ‘art event.’”
Ted is a painter, well-known for his dramatic and historically accurate high-mountain scenes. He will have some original paintings at the show along with a number of prints, sketches, bronze sculptures and wrought-iron pieces. He is probably best known in the area, though, as a log builder and designer. In 1977 he and Katie built the cabin they still live in off Last Dollar Road high on the flank of North Pole Peak. They cut the logs themselves and hauled them to the site with their horses.
Ted has built or remodeled log structures all over the country, including for Ralph Lauren and most recently for Vince Kontny’s Last Dollar and Centennial ranches. “Ted’s been so involved in designing, he’s looking forward to getting back to painting soon,” Katie said.
Katie’s art has always had to do with the family’s passion for Rendezvous, the annual get-togethers around the Rocky Mountain west that seek to replicate, or approximate, the mountain-man rendezvous during the beaver-trapping days of the 1840s. This year they attended the event in Creede. “There were 460-some encampments. You have to dress 1840s,” Katie said. “Either Eastern dress of the time, or buckskins, or Indian trade-cloth dresses. We outfitted 13 people this year. And we sat around making moccasins and Indian dresses.
“Ted still wears his buckskins. I will have some painted and beaded buckskins in the Library show, including a Ghost Dance dress I made for (daughter) Megan years ago.”
You won’t have any trouble recognizing the Moewses if they show up wearing buckskins. If they don’t wear them, you still won’t have a problem picking them out. Ted is a mountain of a man, well over six feet tall with a mountain-man beard. Katie is tiny, like a mythical Indian princess.
“The Art of the Early West” runs through Sept. 7.