Artists In Residence Program at the Catto Center at Toklat

Elena Gonzalez Ruiz, The Magic of the Zapotec Hand

Elena Gonzalez Ruiz is a master weaver from Teotitlan del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico. As a teenager, she accepted an invitation by Stuart Mace to represent her village at the Toklat Gallery. That was 1989.  Since then, Elena has been a long-standing Artist-in-Residence at the Catto Center at Toklat, traveling back to the Castle Creek valley nearly every summer for over thirty years. The Magic of the Zapotec Hand is a cooperative Elena founded which helps support over fifty families in her village through sales at the Catto Center.

The Zapotecs of Teotitlan del Valle have been sustainably practicing the art of naturally dyeing and weaving sheep’s wool for centuries. ACES is proud to support this model for environmentally-responsible textile production and to support the traditions of this indigenous community.  Elena contributes to ACES’ mission by providing educational opportunities related to traditional and environmentally-responsible textile production.
Through interactions with visitors at the Catto Center at Toklat and presenting daily Cochinilla Color Demonstrations, Elena teaches the art of weaving and dyeing as her indigenous community has sustainably practiced for generations in the Oaxacan region of Mexico. Elena’s community has successfully fostered a thriving textile industry while protecting and nourishing its natural resources, specifically its vast and critical watershed.

Elena fulfills critical environmental education roles at the Catto Center at Toklat. Additionally, Elena and her family generously donate 5% of Oaxacan weaving sales to ACES’ Summer Camp scholarship program.

Trevor Washko, Cold Mountain Craft

Trevor A. Washko is a naturalist, a writer and a leather craftsman. An ACES Naturalist Intern from the Class of 1996, Trevor developed his craft during his several years dwelling at the Toklat Gallery in the Castle Creek Valley where he served as the Stuart Mace Naturalist in Residence and the unofficial “Mayor” of the historic ghost town of Ashcroft.

Trevor is currently ACES Toklat Steward and the sole proprietor of Cold Mountain Craft leather goods, which are hand-stitched and home-crafted at ACES Catto Center at Toklat in Ashcroft.

“I spent countless days hiking and snow- shoeing the area, guiding and teaching visitors from around the world, with my field journal in hand. After many journals failed to hold up to the harsh days, I designed and created a leather cover to protect my thoughts and observations.  Beyond a faint, winding uphill path, I escaped for quiet time on Cold Mountain. There, at a cabin perched at 10,000 feet, Cold Mountain Craft was slowly born.” – Trevor Washko

Trevor now creates a variety of fine and unique leather items using hand-selected oil-tanned hides, which are hand-cut, hand-punched, hand-sewn, and hand-sold.  Beautiful and functional, durable and personal, simple and authentic; his work is a reflection of him, emerging from the place that he calls home.

Trevor is currently collaborating with the Savory Institute’s innovative Land to Market program to source bison from grasslands managed with ecologically verified outcomes.

Eddie Running Wolf, Wood Sculptor & Painter

Everyone who has walked into ACES Hallam Lake Nature Center encounters the talent of Eddie Running Wolf — Eddie carved the iconic ACES wooden door over thirty years ago. Eddie’s romance with Ashcroft began when Stuart Mace discovered the budding young artist around 1980.

Eddie subsequently resided under Stuart’s wing at Ashcroft for several years and was well represented by the legendary Toklat Gallery. Collectors now prize Eddie’s work. The Catto Center at Toklat is grateful to host some of his extraordinary wood sculptures and paintings.

In 2020, Eddie Running Wolf passed away from complications due to Coronavirus. He will be deeply missed.

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Catto Center at Toklat

Closed for renovations until spring 2023

Catto Center at Toklat

The Catto Center at Toklat was once the family home of one of ACES’ most influential founders, Stuart Mace, and holds great meaning for the Aspen community. Toklat, an Inuit word meaning “headwaters,” was built by Stuart and and his wife Isabel in 1948 as a wilderness lodge and family...