This is 2nd in a series about artists within the Outdoor and SnowSports industries who create art outside of their day jobs.
Leslie Howa has as much energy as a hummingbird; she never seems to sit still. She’s an experienced apparel technical designer, a dedicated Nordic skier and trail runner and an accomplished artist. According to Howa, the three disciplines are all synergistically related, “I could not design technical apparel without my knowledge and commitment to sports.” A Fine Arts degree from San Francisco University doesn’t hurt either.
Howa has dedicated twenty-five years to the Outdoor Industry. After founding and selling American Hardwear (which was re-named Mountain Hardwear) Howa continued to put her stamp on the brand with her technical designs. From there her client list has evolved to include brands such as Adidas, The North Face and Patagonia.
Finding time to be creative at work and to create art “after hours” is not a problem for Leslie. Many of her ideas come while she’s skiing or running. “The truth of breathing really hard, brings a tremendous amount of creative energy to the brain,” she says.
Recently Howa has put her sewing skills toward creating creatures rather than garments. She’s not quite sure where these little muslin beasties sprung from, but she feels there are more on the way.
Catafly is a morphing caterpillar sprouting maple leaves for wings. 20”
MadBall – Howa’s “anger management mentor” 7”x7”
FrogDog – Half frog, half dog 12”
Roxie – Homage to healing from a vicious pit bull attack
When asked where the inspiration for her work comes from, Howa replied, “I always consider, and become inspired by materials. I then pursue transforming these materials outside their intended use.”
Leslie has done just that in BumBulldog, an amusing life sized sculpture she created for the Dogs of Bark City Fund Raiser benefitting Mountain Trails Foundation, Friends of Animals Rehab Ranch, and Center of Performing Arts Foundation in her hometown of Park City, Utah. BumBulldog garnered $4,500.00 for the Foundations.
BumBulldog – Mixed media stainless steel fiberglass, automotive chrome paint
Howa recently completed another piece of sculpture, BurdYurt that took 1st place at ‘For the Birds’ a juried fundraiser for Ogden Nature Center.
BurdYurt – Recycled copper, aluminum, duct materials
New works are evolving in Howa’s studio – she’s currently working on a pierced steel weather vane and a 10’ by 30’ mixed metal ‘quilt’. And with a softer touch she’s been working on draping garments for her own personal exploration and wardrobe.
Let’s hear it for the natural dopamine provided by exercise that boosts Leslie’s creatively and inspires her to create her fanciful and eclectic art!
I will be blogging about more “closet” artists within the Outdoor & SnowSports industries in the upcoming weeks. I think it will be a fun way to learn about the people that we do business with. The criteria is that they work within these industries, and that they don’t make art as part of their full-time job. If you are an artist or know someone who is, please drop me a line.
“Like” Poppy Gall Design facebook page to see what sorts of projects we’re working on and to become an interactive part of the studio.