It's not for the faint of heart: long hours; triple the workload with little to no steady income; and oh, those sleepless, worry-filled nights with the specter of the word "rent" flashing behind your eyelids. Yet Holly Garlow, like many young entrepreneurs, has cleared doubt's initial hurdles and prepared to open Ragged Print Co., a printmaking shop here in the Springs.
The story begins with Garlow, now 31, being first exposed to the art form while studying at James Madison University in Virginia.
"I took a class on printmaking and just fell in love with it," she says. "I thought to myself, 'I wish I could do this for a living.'"
For the unfamiliar, this is the practice of laying down one color — or blended ink colors — at a time, via such methods as relief printing or silk screening, to produce a series of one-of-a-kind images. It has nothing to do with simple reproductions by machine.
After college, the Springs native returned home and received her master's in education at Colorado College. As an art teacher at Manitou High School, she was given the opportunity to teach printmaking to students.
But last summer, while on a road trip with friends, the urge to realize a 10-year-old dream and expand her talents compelled her to start Ragged. "I wasn't ever much of a risk-taker," she admits, "but the schools have some censorship and I wasn't able to teach a variety of art. So I wanted to create a cool new place for people to learn the art of printmaking."
Concerning the name choice? "I always felt like my work was a little too ragged — rough around the edges."
What Garlow's done is create a space for the community to gather around the art form. Located directly in front of the Ivywild School, Ragged is a sharp venue that, along with printmaking classes, will offer live music and art shows. (A Kickstarter campaign, with a little over a week to go, seems on track as of press time to grant the project $6,500.)
"[It has] its own specific culture," Garlow says. "There are popular printmaking artists, and art such as rock 'n' roll posters. The entire culture is important to me."
The striking colors and textures are reminiscent of Southern Colorado and New Mexico. Lovely work.