In late January 2022, The Sopris Sun gained a new member to the team. She brings with her a passion for photography, textile arts and many other forms of creative expression. You may have noticed our slightly shifting style as we settle into a new flow — welcoming the strengths and insight that Hattie Rensberry has to share.
She’s no stranger to the Roaring Fork Valley either, having grown up in Rifle. “We have the benefit of the way people are looking at these communities,” she said. “We see this valley as a unit.”
Ten years ago, in a feature written about Rensberry, incidentally by former Sopris Sun editor Will Grandbois working for the Post Independent at the time, she aptly predicted future work in graphic design. “I have a bit of an affinity for visual arts, so I’m planning on it as a minor at UNC Greeley. It’s something that could contribute toward a career as a graphic designer or something later in life.”
In fact, Rensberry double majored in graphic design and drawing at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). After graduating, Rensberry remained in Greeley, until a pandemic and lay-off inspired her to return west. She insists that, although unfortunate, Swift Communications did its “paring down of creative staff” in as good a way as those things go. Plus, her lease was ending and family beckoned.
Back in the Roaring Fork Valley as an adult, Rensberry is establishing her networks. “As an adult, I know a lot less people,” she said, “it’s taken almost two years to make new friends or reconnect.” Albeit, the past two years have been limited for connection. “Most people I know already moved on or are at the stage of having children,” which, she said, she is not.
Recently, Rensberry did manage to reconnect with a passion for theater. She appeared in Colorado Mountain College’s Sopris Theatre Company’s rendition of “Silent Sky” and is already rehearsing for a role in their next play, “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.”
Rensberry appreciates theater as “a community form of artistic expression,” bringing together similar-minded folks. Other free time is spent learning new crafts, reading fantasy novels, traveling, hiking, trying new foods and testing video/board games with her fiancé.
Rediscovering the Valley, Rensberry is motivated to join a board or council, to help steer decisions that make an impact. Her experience returning to the nonprofit sector, after a stint in the corporate world, has been refreshing. “I forgot how radically different nonprofit work can be,” she said. “After the first week, I was gobsmacked. Everyone was so relaxed, no one treats anything high stakes besides getting the information right. There’s an attitude of ‘we can fix it.’ I was raised like that, but it’s not the way corporate America is.”
She appreciates about The Sopris Sun “the emphasis on delivering pertinent but also uplifting information,” saying it seems that standard applies between everyone involved and in the paper’s interactions with the community as a whole. “Everyone treats each other kindly, with respect. Criticism is constructive, not malicious.”
During her time at UNC, Rensberry interned with Stain’d Magazine, a nonprofit in Denver. “It was a really great introduction to the world of publication,” she said. “Especially nonprofit publication.” She sees opportunity to introduce more of a “magazine-leaning approach” to The Sun’s aesthetic. Not to worry, she assures, “nothing immensely drastic — but interesting lay-outs with bright colors; working with what we have to the fullest extent.”
Rensberry also looks forward to joining Everything Under The Sun, our weekly show on KDNK at 4 p.m., regularly as a host — applying her theater charm and sharp wit to bringing another layer of life to our colorful pages.
Outside of producing a weekly newspaper, Rensberry continues to take clients as a freelance graphic designer and photographer. “It’s a nice way to connect with the community and better familiarize myself with the valley I grew up in,” she said. Rensberry especially enjoys portraiture for couples, individuals and families. You can find samples of her work at:
What is she most excited about? “I get to help make a difference. I’m excited to do that and excited to see where I can make changes and be impactful, and I just want people to be excellent to each other.”
It takes community support to keep The Sopris Sun shining.