I recently had the good fortune of visiting Terry Ludwig Pastels ( The Candy Store) and received a detailed and generous tour of the spot where artistic miracles begin. Terry has been making these bits of heaven since 1995. Currently available in 550 colors, these are some of he most consistent pastels available. They are uniquely handcrafted rectangular little bricks of goodness that offer artists many application options.
The tour started with the retail section which displays an unlimited rainbow of these fabulous pastels, neatly organized, with each stick calling my name much like when Santa reads your name on a package and then says it out loud.
From start to finish, it was clear that Terry and his staff care about providing quality materials to artists. The shop was so clean it was hard to believe pastels were made in the back section. Even the back section, where the real magic happens, was organized and virtually free of pastel dust. Except for some evidence of pigment stain (including some quinacridone embedded into Terry's forehead which you can see on the photo to the right), the whole pastel-making section was remarkably tidy!
You can almost hear them calling my name.
The pastel making tour began with discussion of the quality pigments that go into making these pastels. I'd be lying if I said I remembered everything Terry mentioned but it was clear that the pigments were thoughtfully sourced. There were canisters and containers everywhere with the richest and purest colors that ultimately combine to make these addictive pastels.
Pure beautiful pigments make Terry Ludwig Pastels so vibrant and potent! Terry doesn't use toxic cadmiums in his pastels but he still gets the richest of colors.
There are so many things I love about Terry Ludwig Pastels. The richness of the colors, the reliable feel of them, the ultra softness, and the way the shape allows versatility of use. No pastel collection is complete without them.
Pigment containers of powdery potential. This is better than donuts!
Terry's personal pastel box contains smaller handmade pastels. I was a little jealous.
Set of 60 Terry Ludwig Intense Darks. This is my favorite set for rich dark hues. Photo courtesy Terry Ludwig's Website
On the left is the lovely Marie Ludwig, the crowning glory of Terry Ludwig Pastels. Terry and Marie have been married for 50 years!
Just part of what's on display at the Terry Ludwig store!
Nope, not a skin condition. This is Terry's quinacridone-colored forehead. That's dedication!
Here I am receiving some patient instruction from the master pastel maker.
I think it's clear from the blob of pigment in front of me that pastel making should be left to the experts...
…but I keep trying.
As I mentioned above, the tour was so packed with information that I did not retain it all, but I do recall Terry talking about the final step in the making of his pastels…just before they get packaged and sent to my house. After the pastels have dried, cured, or whatever term he used, they have a little film on the outside of them which slightly distorts their true color. Well guess what he does? He takes EACH pastel and lightly sands it on all 6 sides! Can you believe that? Talk about labor intensive! The excess pastel dust falls into large buckets. I cannot tell you how many buckets I saw, but Terry and his team have been busy!
Nearly all pastels artists are addicts of sorts. We never see a color we don't need…and order. And no matter the brand, all pastels have a price that would surprise those who don't work in pastel. I've been known to gripe about spending $5 or more per stick. I confess that up until my visit to Terry Ludwig's place I had NO IDEA how much is involved with pastel making! To be honest, for the work involved they should be at least $10! It was a real eye-opener. I'm even more grateful someone cares enough to make quality pastels, and very grateful he was willing to share the pastel making process on a precious Saturday. Thanks to Terry (and Marie) for an entertaining and enlightening day! Not only are you spectacular pastel makers but you are wonderful human beings as well.
Here's the moment that made me appreciate Terry Ludwig Pastels the most, sanding each stick on all 6 sides by hand!
YES! YOU DO NEED MORE PASTELS!
Here is contact information for Terry Ludwig Pastels:
Terry Ludwig Pastels 8113 W Brandon Drive Littleton, CO 80125