2 Westside locations on Art Studio Tour
New medium for ‘07: Keith Roberts’ body-casting

       Westside artists Deb Komitor and Jane Roberts will participate again this year in the fifth annual Artists' Studio Tour and Sale Nov. 10-11. Keith Roberts stands with his body castings of a mother in
three stages of pregnancy. They will be on display for the
Nov. 10-11 Art Studio Tour at the gallery he shares with his wife, fine-jeweler Jane Roberts. 
Westside Pioneer photo
       The tour, which will include several studios and possibly some artists at work, will be Saturday, Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
       There will be 12 locations and 18 artists in all, in an area that takes in Manitou Springs, the Westside, downtown and east as far as Union Boulevard.
       The tour is free and open to the public.
       Komitor, located at 741 Panorama Drive, specializes in “mystical landscapes and animal spirits captured in oil-painted clay sculptures, wall reliefs and oils on canvas,” according to a statement about her in the Studio Tour brochure.
       Roberts, at 610 Pioneer Lane, designs jewelry using silver, gold, enamel and stones. Glass and wool artist Petra Bigger will also show her creations in the Roberts studio.
       Jane will be joined by her husband Keith for this year's event. Also a prenatal massage therapist, he works in an unusual art form called body casting. His show will feature casts he's made of a woman's front (neck to mid-thigh) at three different stages of pregnancy (17, 23 and 29 weeks).
       It's a type of art that he said few people here are aware of. But Roberts is used to being different. He was also the first male doulah (a type of birthing assistant) in the country. “I'm easy to find at national conventions,” he quipped.
       He began learning the body-casting art from Denver instructor David Parvin about three ye ars ago. It's a time-consuming and expensive process, involving the placement over the body of multiple layers of alginate (chiefly seaweed kelp) and cheesecloth (as a kind of binder). From this a master cast is made, followed by a rubber mold that can be used to create cold-cast copper sculptures from the original, Roberts explained.
       The person being cast needs a certain kind of patience as well, standing unclothed and motionless for about a half-hour while the initial cast is being formed.
       The fascination for Roberts is the bodily accuracy that the casting allows. “You can actually see the pores of the skin, so the accuracy is perfect,” he said. “The detail is so faithful that if you have a tattoo, it will show.”
       For example, the pregnant model (Amanda Pearce, who later bore a daughter, Jayden, now 14 months) had a belly-button piercing that is visible in her cast.
       A fourth casting, which Roberts has since given to her, was done of Pearce at 37 months, just before giving birth.
       Roberts has a standing invitation to anyone who wants to have a cast made of themselves. The cost is $490.
       Overall on the Art Studio Tour, a dozen or more types of media can be observed, according to a tour press release. People can go to artists' studios “and see first hand where their amazing art is created and talk to them personally about their art,” the release states.
       For more information, call 685-1828.

Westside Pioneer/press release