This Sunday, art enthusiasts can get an inside look into the lives of CSU-Pueblo instructors and artists, Richard and Vicky Hansen, in a new documentary titled “Art in the Elements.”
Sam Ebersole, a professor at CSU-Pueblo, spent the last two years documenting and filming the lives of the Hansens. The half-hour documentary, “Art in the Elements,” features information on the couple’s artwork, their teaching and their environmentally conscious life in the country.
The Hansen’s live at the base of Pikes Peak in Penrose, Colorado, immersed in the land around them. The documentary explores their sustainable lives and their art, which is created out of clay, water, fire and stone.
“I thought it was great to do a documentary about some great people who have a very interesting lifestyle. In 30 minutes, I really try to capture that,” Ebersole said.
After Rich and Vicky graduated from the College of William & Mary in Virginia, they moved to Penrose. They were inspired by the adobe homes in various other locations and got to work constructing their own homemade living quarters. Being lovers and teachers of pottery and clay work, constructing this home seemed like an easy decision.
“In retrospect, I don’t know if we could or would do it now, but when we were 21, we thought we could do anything,” Vicky said about their ambitious project.
The documentary explains why the couple have been passionate about living ecologically friendly. Their home includes solar panels for energy, along with green water systems and compactors.
Although the couple drives 70 miles round trip to teach at CSU-Pueblo each day, they explained that you can’t be overly sensitive about your ecological footprint, but doing what you can to reduce it is important.
Ebersole said he knows the Hansens are very careful with their water usage. They are very insightful about what it means to live in Colorado, and they try to make a minimal impact all-around.
“Living like this has been a wonderful challenge and opportunity. We get to live in the country and have a wonderful, inspiring landscape and a great place to work,” Vicky said.
In the film, Vicky represents the elements of clay and fire, showcasing her many beautiful pots and ceramic works. The documentary also shows how some lucky students get to visit the Hansen’s extraordinary home and spend time firing pots in the couple’s kiln, something Vicky does with her ceramics classes each year.
Rich, representing the stone and water segments of the documentary, creates beautiful sculptures that blend running water with stones and rocks. He explained that he has a love for the beauty of the water and stone mixture. He said he is a lover of poetry, and creating these sculptures is another medium for him to express his poetic reflections.
Along the River Walk in Pueblo, Rich’s work can be seen in several benches and fountains that he has created.
The Hansen’s are excited to see the compilation of their achievements in Ebersole’s film. Vicky said, more than anything, they are grateful for everything he has done for them. She said Ebersole was very sensitive to their input in the story, and it has been a very humbling experience.
The couple said that the few shots of their dog, Haiku, and their cats are show stealers and are bound to get the viewers’ attention. Vicky’s brother also plays his harmonica throughout the film.
“Art in the Elements” will air this Sunday, Oct. 12, at 1 p.m. on Rocky Mountain PBS.