A passion for pots
Editor’s note: This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Red Cliff Studio Tour. In the 10 days leading up to the Aug. 25 and 26 event, we’ll profile each of the 10 artists participating in this year’s tour.
One night a few weeks ago, Marjorie Westermann awoke to the feel of cold clay resting against her face. As a potter, she’d been up late making teabowls – cups without handles held with both hands.”It was a great night, I just didn’t want to stop,” she said. “I’m totally immersed in (pottery). It’s a great habit – art is a great habit.”
Chances are if you’ve dined at Tennessee Pass Cookhouse or The Grill in Leadville, you’ve held some of Westermann’s art in your hands. She produces a line of pottery cups, along with pots, open baking dishes, bowls, salt and pepper shakers, platters and pitchers for a handful of area restaurants and cafes. The stoneware pots are fired to over 2200 degrees and are safe for the dishwasher, hand washing and daily use, Westermann said. For the past few weeks she’s been putting in even more time than usual at her wheel, making a new pieces of pottery for the Red Cliff Studio Tour, which takes place Saturday and Sunday mostly in the town of Red Cliff. (We use the term “mostly” because Westermann’s studio is located 11 miles south of Red Cliff on Highway 24). “I’ve just been blessed that Red Cliff has always included me because I am in the far reaches of Eagle County,” she said. Westermann has been throwing pots and firing up her kiln for over 30 years. She took her first pottery class at Colorado Mountain College in 1975, back when the campus was at Maloit Park in Minturn. When she’s not making retail pettery for clients, Westermann specializes in pastoral wilderness scenes and slickly glazed, naturalist designs.”I needed a diversion in my life,” Westermann said. “I never stopped growing once I started a clay class. I taught at CMC in Leadville for a number of years and all my students were wonderful, but I really cherished the ones that said ‘I can’t do art.’ Art flows through everyone’s veins, all you have to do is try – just do it. Get yourself a box of crayons.
“We’re all told, ‘you can’t.’ It’s the parents that say you can who are a blessing.”For more information about the Red Cliff Studio Tour, visit http://www.redcliffstudiotour.com.