Every year in August, Fort Collins has a wild and wonderful few days called New West Fest.

Billed as a community festival, it’s part carnival, part concert series, part art show and so much more. The whole shebang is free.

How cool is that?

Ayn Hanna's "Cowgirl with Polka Dots"

This year in the Creative Garden, where a select group of amazing artists were showing their art, I met a talented textile artist named Ayn Hanna. The best way to describe her work is that she creates fabric collages.

Think painting with fabric.

Her subjects range from humans to abstract designs.

The cowgirl series especially caught my eye.

Of course!

I bought a set of note cards that I’m thinking of framing, though I may also send one or two as cards to lucky recipients.

They’re whimsical, colorful and just plain fun.

I am completely thrilled with people’s creativity. It’s mind boggling really to see the breadth and depth of what we humans can do.

If you want to do a total “feel good” act, support a local artist.

Go to a show in your area and buy something. It doesn’t have to break your bank. Most artists have smaller versions of their large work. Ayn Hanna's "Ropin' Rita"While you’re there, strike up a conversation. Get to know the artist you’re supporting. Ask about how they got started, what thrills them about their work, why they got into this particular medium.

Most artists are delighted to talk about their art.

Most artists need people to appreciate (and buy) their art. Creating art is usually a solitary experience. Artists hang out in their studios, doing what they love. But then the studio gets crowded and it’s time for an art show.

Seriously, where would artists be without art appreciators? Buried under mountains of unsold artwork.

If you’re inclined, check out Ayn Hanna’s textile collages. She has an amazing body of work in her portfolio.

It surprised me to learn that Ayn has also been a horse wrangler in another part of her life. It puts her in a cowgirl category far above me.

See what you can learn when you take the time to talk with artists!

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