Jeff Sailors & Patricia Carroll
Enchanted at Enchanted Mesa – Oct. 2019
By Kathryn R. Burke
[October 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage]
There’s quite a story in that painting on the cover. It began 25 years ago, when Jeff Sailors from Montana was participating in an art show in Sedona, Arizona. He spotted that painting in another booth. The artist (and booth vendor) was Patricia Carroll. “I took one look at that painting, and I knew I wanted it,” he said. “I took one look at her, and I knew I wanted her, too.” Patricia wasn’t available, but the painting was, so Jeff traded one of his hand-hitched horsehair pieces for the painting. He still has it.
Nineteen years later their paths crossed again— another unexpected encounter. Jeff and Patricia were both living in eastern Colorado and were only about 70 miles apart. “I had been on one of those dating sites for a long time,” Jeff said. Unexpectedly, he found himself “matched” to Patricia. She had posted some of her paintings on her profile. “The artwork looked familiar,” Jeff said. “I looked at the signature on that piece and compared it to my painting. The signatures matched, and I knew I’d found Patricia again. I joined the site and connected with Patricia. This is a story with a romantic twist, isn’t it?”
Five years later, Jeff and Patricia were no miles apart, living together—working, telling stories, laughing, and making art together in their studio (a converted turkey barn), and showing their art in their Enchanted Mesa Gallery, in Cedaredge, Colorado.
Before and during those in-between years, Jeff, who’d spent the most part of 50 years on a horse (buckskinning, packing, and later, re-enacting, and appearing as an extra in Hollywood movies—more about all that later), was making and selling hand-hitched horsehair belts and bridles. “It took me 13 years to find someone to teach me how to do it,” he explained. His work is in collections and museums around the world including the Smithsonian. “It takes weeks to make one and only minutes to sell it. I’d go to those big shows and sell them all so fast, I’d have to pay people to let me keep them for the duration of the show and deliver them afterward!”
Although horses are his passion, and he’s done his share of cowboy-ing, in those “in-between years,” Jeff was also working a buffalo ranch. “I called myself a ‘buffalaro’, ” he explained. “That isn’t the same as a cowboy. It’s not exactly a job, but it can be hard work. It took 60 days to gather 1,200 buffalo together. You only have to handle buffalo once a year, but when you do, you have to be careful.” While Jeff was hanging out with his bison and having some interesting alien encounters on that ranch (more about that later), he was also traveling back and forth to Guadalajara where he had a factory that produced his hand-hitched horsehair items.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Jeff is a storyteller—an art form in and of itself. (More about that later.)
While Jeff was dividing his time between the Colorado buffalo ranch and his business in Mexico, Patricia was painting and managing galleries in Sedona. “I can paint anything, on anything,” she said.
And she does. The Enchanted Mesa Gallery features her work on canvas, gourds, handmade paper, leather, wood, and metal. Patricia’s talent is enormous. She has a degree in Interior Design. When they got together, Jeff gave her a buffalo robe (not your traditional bouquet of roses), and she painted it. When they moved in together, and Patricia unpacked some of Jeff’s things, she found one of her paintings of Sedona, which he had bought long before he ever met her!
Back to the horse stories. In the early “before Patricia” years, Jeff spent years packing (as in pack horses). “I got a horse and taught myself,” he said. “Packed my way from Mexico to Canada.” He tells a story about a 3-legged bear. “That bear about got me. He really cut me up. Figured he’d got hurt, chewed his foot off, still was pretty p#$$% off about the experience. When he went after me, I shot him.” Jeff points to his necklace, “See these claws here? They’re from that bear.” Jeff has a whole slew of horse stories. You could spend hours listening to them—kind of like sitting around a campfire telling tall tales (and a few true stories, too).
Today, Jeff and Patricia create and display an amazing array of artwork with and on a variety of media. They collaborate on art projects, including horse mask lamps made of handmade paper (Jeff) and painted with Native American designs (Patricia.) Their latest project is painting Indian scenes on handmade paper attached to wooden display boards.
If you want a taste of the Old West—and we mean really “old” west, as in pre-1876—stop by Enchanted Mesa Gallery in Cedaredge. Enjoy the art and the creativity. Pull up a chair to the woodstove. Get ready for some stories.
Oh, about that more about that later, you can see and hear Jeff telling his stories on YouTube. To find him, Google YouTube Jeff Sailors. You’re in for a treat.
To see their incredible display of artwork, visit Enchanted Mesa Gallery, 145 N Grand Mesa Dr., Cedaredge. Be sure to ask to see their Studio (a converted turkey barn) next door to the gallery. If distance and logistics preclude an in-person visit, check out their website: enchantedmesagallery.com/
Enchanted Mesa Gallery/ 145 N. Grand Mesa Dr., Cedaredge CO. 970-852-9440
Enchanted Mesa Gallery
Featuring Fine Art, Unique Western, Lighting, Gourd Art, Hitched Horsehair, Sterling Silver, or handmade paper.
— is a master horsehair hitcher whose works are in museums worldwide. He also creates sterling silver bolo ties and necklaces.
— creates gourd vessels, masks, and ornaments. She paints still life, landscapes, portraiture, seascapes, animals, and a variety of other images, using a variety of media.
Jeff & Patricia
— collaborate on unique Horse Mask lighting celebrating the Native American horse culture. Available as floor lamps, table lamps, wall sconces, and chandeliers.