Squash Blossom is a pillar of the Colorado Springs art and small business community. The long-standing storefront has a long and interesting history, borne from the curiosity, spirit and tastes of owners Patrice and John Cogswell.
Fifty years ago, the Cogswells wondered how to transform their passion for art, jewelry, and Native American culture into a business. Equipped with a basic business plan and $1,500, they took the first step in making their dream a reality, touring Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni reservations in the Southwest, purchasing one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry. They then set up shop in a kiosk in downtown Colorado Springs, circa 1973, and Squash Blossom was established.
The Native American jewelry collection at Squash Blossom is still specially curated and hand-picked to represent the best in quality and authenticity. Every piece, whether vintage or contemporary, must meet the highest of standards.
A lot has changed in close to five decades, but the Cogswells’ commitment to hard work and dedication to building relationships remains the same. These admirable traits are what enabled Squash Blossom to grow – to a 2,000-square-foot showroom with something for everyone – and thrive, becoming a beloved fixture in Old Colorado City.
Ethics and principlesciples lead at Squash Blossom
Every product at Squash Blossom – from Southwest-rooted contemporary and designer jewelry and fine art to home goods, furniture, and décor – are ethically sourced and produced with the best materials and artistry.
People are always prioritized above profits, from the artists represented to the customers-turned-friends. The Cogswells have made it their business to keep a finger on the pulse of the local art scene, providing a platform for up-and-coming artists and rising stars, and introducing regional and world-renowned jewelry designers.
“When you give, you get,” said John Cogswell. “We have been fortunate to be able to curate collections you will not see anywhere else in Colorado and have been rewarded with a loyal following that lets us live our dream. We know we are where we are because of our customers, to whom we are eternally grateful.”
Everything old is new again in Old Colorado City!
The historic district where Squash Blossom resides has undergone a renaissance, drawing crowds of locals and tourists to its art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. The brick building’s West-facing wall features a mural by Colorado Springs artist Phil Lear that depicts its provenance in colorful paint, displaying:
- A native Ute girl wearing a symbolic squash blossom necklace.
- A Prohibition-era young man raises his glass to commemorate the building’s incarnation as speakeasy, saloon, and soda shop.
- A woman scandalously flaunting her knee as a reminder of the structure’s onetime use as a bordello.
- A native American bust in homage to sculptures on display inside the gallery.
- A Navajo rug design pattern.
- A clock, to tie all the imagery together.
Squash Blossom is proud to have Lear as one of its long-standing local artists.
“We love representing Phil Lear’s work,” said Assistant Gallery Director Ravan Clark. “He is a natural storyteller and the perfect choice for our mural.”
Lear stands in good company with. . .
More than 20 artists local to Colorado
The designers and artists whose work is featured at Squash Blossom often have a long-standing relationship with the Cogswells. Two examples of decades-long gallery representation include the works of Peyote Bird Designs, Gurhan and Sarah Graham. Others have a new relationship, forged within the past two years, thanks to the admirable eye of Gallery Director Kenny Idleman, whose passion for jewelry design and craftsmanship led to the introductions of Ryan Gardner, Alex Boyd and Baleigh Acebo. However long the gallery-artist relationships, all have helped bring a wide array of styles to the public.
“The innovation, quality and craftsmanship of hand-fabricated jewelry is something that cannot be rivaled by large brand-name designers and production jewelry,” said Idleman. “There are so many fresh, new artists and designers who are investing the time, effort and intention to create one-of-a-kind work; and I feel it is important to connect those artists who are local to the community, and the market through which they can share their art. Squash Blossom provides the platform on which these connections are built.”
Gardner, a two-time Saul Bell Design Awards Finalist (in the Silver and Jewelry Collection categories in 2020), works in metal and stone. He favors less valuable, imperfect stones, most notably quartz with natural inclusions, fashioning them into pieces of fine jewelry, in addition to his work with precious stones like diamonds and emeralds. His work, out of Ryan Gardner Designs, is displayed in galleries across the US
Boyd knew from boyhood that he would be an artist. He creates powerful talismans in oxidized sterling with hinges and swivels in unexpected places. His work displays craftsmanship that is at once technical, creative and artistic. His sublime, beautiful, and sometimes whimsical work is available through the Alex Boyd Studio.
Graceful geometry, clean lines and industrial elements find their way into Acebo’s custom, bespoke jewelry and other fine pieces made with ethically recycled precious metals, diamonds, and conflict-free colored gems, available from Acebo Jewelry.
“All of the artists represented in the Squash Blossom gallery are wonderful in their own ways,” said Clark. “We are blessed to have the opportunity to showcase so much talent!”
Squash Blossom is also proud to carry the works of sculptors who work in carved stone, bronze and turned wood, bringing a wonderful collection of the 3D visual art to the community.
Uncompromising quality and service
The fact is jewelry and art are an investment – in the past, present, and future! These items allow owners to share a story and leave a legacy for generations to come.
The quality of products at Squash Blossom is uncompromising. To this end, the handmade Native American jewelry is ethically sourced, with pieces going through vigorous quality control. Designer jewelry collections also focus on ethical, sustainable production. You can count on the same accountability whether looking for a custom bracelet from an international icon, custom wedding band or anniversary necklace, or vintage Squash Blossom necklace, sculptures or paintings.
Mark your calendar!
Squash Blossom will be participating in Black Friday on November 25 and Small Business Saturday on November 26.
Additionally, we invite you to participate in a First Friday Art Walk on November 4 and December 2, where you will find live demonstrations from artists and jewelers, free snacks and refreshments and live music!
Check out the Mason-Kay Jade Trunk Show on November 19, and bring your necklaces, pendants, earrings, rings, bracelets and cuffs, vintage bolo, belts and buckles, pins, keychains, money clips, hair accessories or fetish carvings to the December 3 Native American Jewelry Evaluation Day (where you may have the opportunity to sell or consign your collection)!
Visit Squash Blossom in person at 2531 W. Colorado Avenue from 10 am to 6 pm Sunday through Thursday, and 10 am – 7 pm Friday and Saturday, with extended weekend hours after Thanksgiving until 8 pm, or online. Your holiday gifts, and more, await! Tell the team – who are always happy to guide! – what you are looking for, and they will help you find it. . .or craft it for you – happily, skillfully, and responsibly. Phone Squash Blossom at 719-632-1899 or send us an email).