2018 Winter Carnival button design inspired by Olympics, mandala | SteamboatToday.com

2018 Winter Carnival button design inspired by Olympics, mandala

Frances Hohl For Steamboat Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Lauren Ehrlich says she's still kind of "freaking out" seeing her artwork pop up on buttons that will forever be a part of Steamboat Springs history.

The Steamboat Springs High School sophomore's Asian-inspired art earned her first place in the Winter Carnival button contest. This year's theme was "Lighting the Flame," a tribute to the Olympics and Steamboat's Olympic heritage.

Her design was chosen out of 27 submissions from Routt County students. The buttons are sold to help raise money for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and must be worn during Winter Carnival activities.

"I knew it (Olympics) was being held in South Korea, so I kind of went with the Asian theme,"  Ehrlich said.

A stroke of genius on Erhlich's part, and maybe just pure fate, is that the young woman's favorite art happens to be the Buddhist-inspired "mandala," which is drawn within a circle — the main criteria for the button art contest — with elaborate designs, and sometimes, quite colorful.

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Judges loved two other button art submissions as well, which included Olympic flames, but they didn't have as much detail as Ehrlich's design.

"Lauren's work had a vibrant beautiful flame that a hand is holding. It had a very Oriental feel to it, which reminded us of where it was being held in Korea. And she had a skier and snowboarder on either side of the flame," said Rory Clow, the Winter Sports Club’s director of marketing.

"It was vague enough to be all encompassing but also provided a new medium," Clow said.

In her Olympic mandala, Ehrlich used gold India ink on water color and black pen for the outline.

Ehrlich has been drawing since she was little but never thought she’d see her artwork become a part of history.

"It's really cool. I'm gonna see everybody wearing my art, with my expression of what it is. Maybe I can have a future in art or something," Ehrlich said.

In the meantime, Ehrlich credits her mom for encouraging her to enter.

"I didn't know it was a contest at all,” Ehrlich explained. “My mom cut it out of the newspaper and put it on the fridge."

Her parents were thrilled to see her win.

"I love her art," said dad Mike. "I think it's awesome her button was chosen. I've seen them (Winter Carnival buttons) in the museum, and I know they become part of history. It will be there forever."

In the contest, three finalists are chosen by a public vote, and another three finalists are chosen by Winter Sports Club employees. Then a final panel of judges from Winter Sports Club management chooses the winners.

The artists who tied for second place this year were Brandon Temple and Taylor Kreissig.