Telluride Arts: Gallery 81435 Features Trommer & Sabella

Telluride Arts: Gallery 81435 Features Trommer & Sabella

Opening October 6, 5 – 8 p.m., in concert with Telluride Arts’ First Thursday Art Walk, Gallery 81435 presents “In Three Lines,” a joint art and poetry exhibit by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and Jill Sabella. The show runs through November 29.

Over two years, artist Jill Sabella and poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer experimented with simplicity—a leaning toward less and the more that blossoms out of that. The artists took turns sending each other work meant to elicit an aesthetic response.

The result?

Forty-five intimate pairings, in which three-line drawings and three-line poems reflect one another. Some are framed individually; others are framed as triptychs. They are all elegant, provocative, inviting, and poignant.

the house on fire

the house on fire

The artwork began with charcoal thoughts. Later the same drawings were done on rice paper with Sumi ink and brush.


In addition to the framed artwork, the pairings have been made into a book, “even now,” ($20, Lithic Press, 2016).


“At the opening, I will be doing 5-minute readings on the half hour, accompanied by cellist Kyra Kopestonsky,” adds Rosemerry.

Here is the intro to “even now”:

As every artist knows, something magic can happen with collaboration—it becomes a glorious illogical equation in which one plus one equals much more than we might expect. It doesn’t always work this way, but when it does, oh! 

In the summer of 2014, we met via email. We’d both been invited to participate in a collaborative show, 12 x 2, curated by Jill Scher to be hosted at the Art Center in Carbondale. Though we were strangers, we quickly discovered a common appreciation for simplicity—a leaning toward less and the more that blossoms out of it.

And so came the concept of three lines. For over a year, we devoted ourselves to exploring collaborative threes in poetry and visual art. Half of the pieces began with three-line poems that inspired three-line images. Then we played with having the images come first with poems emerging from the art.  

We were surprised, delighted and humbled by these intimate, creative heart-to-hearts. And we were thrilled to learn how much others enjoyed them, too, when we finally shared them in the summer of 2015. The original 12 poems were done with a letterpress on rice paper and paired with brush drawings done in Sumi ink on rice paper. These were placed in three 4-foot-long, horizontal frames with four “conversations” each. All three of these pieces sold on opening night.

Though the show was over, we knew our exploration was just beginning, and we spent the next year creating a total of 45 pairings. 

This book you are holding is in some ways the culmination of the project, but what you will perhaps see or feel as you turn the pages is that something much more than a book evolved out of this process—a deep friendship. A willingness for two hearts to open more than they thought they could so that they might meet each other in new and unpredictable ways. 

We hope you enjoy this additional journey into three, in which the poem is one piece, and the image is another, and you, dear readers, are the third. 

Gallery 81435 is located at 230 South Fir Street in Telluride, Colorado. Open daily from 12-6 p.m. or by appointment.

More about Rosemerry:

Rosemerry Trommer, credit, Real Life Photographs

Rosemerry Trommer, credit, Real Life Photographs

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poetry has appeared in O Magazine, in back alleys, on A Prairie Home Companion and on river rocks. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope (2015-2017) and co-directs the Talking Gourds Poetry Club. Since 2006, she’s written a poem a day. Favorite one-word mantra: Adjust.

Rosemerry’s launch into three-line poems was first inspired by her dear friend and mentor James Tipton. The collaboration with Jill transformed her understanding of what three lines and two hearts can do.

More about Jill:

Jill Sabella & child.

Jill Sabella & oh so adorable child.

Jill Sabella has been involved in the visual arts all her life, finding expression through handcolored photography, drawing, painting and sculpture. She lives in Old Snowmass, Colorado.

“This body of work with Rosemerry was the beginning  of a new form of visual expression—which came with a brush, sumi ink and rice paper—as a call for or a response to a ‘haikuling’ of Rosemerry’s. The magical interface of her words and my images took us both by surprise and amazement.”

Gallery 81435 is a project of Telluride Arts. Telluride Arts promotes a culture of the arts within the Telluride Arts District, which contains a remarkable concentration of arts and cultural activity that engages artists from around the region and across the globe. 

For more information, go online at, or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at Telluride Arts or call 970.728.3930.

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