We apologize if you find our website a little slow, or just a little glitchy while we carry out the addition of our new web-store. We are presently in the midst of adding a full online store within the Belvedere website with lots of well described beautiful images of each work of art that we offer for sale. The store will have a built-in shopping cart and will offer shipping options so that your purchase can be completed in one smooth, secure transaction. We are excited to make this change and will be announcing the web-store’s completion sometime in the next upcoming weeks.
We are sorry to announce a second Covid-19 store closure due to the rising rate of infection in our region. This upsurge has made it necessary to close our store to the public for the time-being. We will keep close watch on the current situation to keep everyone safe and prevent the virus from spreading. We want to thank you all for your patience and understanding, and we hope you and your families will be safe through the Holidays as we enter into this very difficult period. Just as soon as it is safe to open our doors, we will do so. In the meantime, we will be working behind the scenes to create new work to offer for sale and to make improvements in our workshop and store areas that will make your shopping and creative visits more enjoyable! Thank you so much for “hanging in there” with us while we navigate these very different times. STAY SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Here at Belvedere Arts Studio, we artists have the pleasure of testing out projects to offer as classes or private lessons. We often start with a sketch book, working up a design and mapping out the necessary processes, but sometimes we find projects that have been done before and we reinvent them, putting our own spin on them. Once we have a plan, one or two of us go to town making the project in the studio, taking notes and photos as we go so that we can review afterward what skill level the project is and how we can streamline any parts of the process for our students.
Below are seven projects that you could try your hand at in our studio, which we have rated as beginner, intermediate, and advanced:
- Teapot (Advanced)
This teapot is so whimsical and fun to look at! It is made using a pinch pot technique, but joining the forms is a little bit challenging for those new to clay work. With basic skills under your belt, we can teach you how to get a consistent thickness, control the shape of the form and add the surface details that will make your creation really special.
- Architecture (Intermediate/Advanced)
One of our regular patrons had been making small houses from oven-fire clay and was interested in learning to make them more elaborate and sturdy using stoneware clay designed for hand-building. She had a specific interest in historical European type houses, so we developed a class to explore this subject. It was so interesting to see how different everyone’s buildings turned out! Using a simple two-dimensional drawing, you can create a tar-paper pattern and cut the components of your building out from a leather-hard slab of clay. The fun part comes after all the joining of pieces is completed when you add details and embellishments and finally paint on underglazes, oxides, and glazes to your finished work.
- Coffee Mug (Beginner/Intermediate)
We don’t know about you, but we feel that you can never have too many mugs! You can make one for yourself, or give it as a gift (add your own hot cocoa accessories). You will learn how to roll a stamped texture onto slab, cut a pattern, and then join the seams and apply a handle. We will help you find the best glaze to accentuate your chosen texture.
- Hump Mold Bowls (Beginner/Intermediate)
We have wonderful new molds in the studio that make it easy to turn out a consistent, clean product. You will learn to apply a slab to the mold and attach level feet. The beauty of these bowls is that the quiet form lets you go wild with carving designs or painting on graphics with underglaze, or keep it simple with a beautiful glaze.
- Pendants (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced)
Did you know that you can make gorgeous jewelry from clay? We have a large assortment of beautiful stamps, or get really creative and carefully sculpt your own design to create a one-of-a-kind art piece from our smooth porcelainous clay body.
- Fish Chime (Intermediate/Advanced)
This is a fun project that will yield a lovely addition to your garden. This multi-section “chime” is made with pre-cut tar-paper patterns. You put together the clay pieces that have been embellished using incised roller stamps, the pieces are glazed, fired, and then assembled onto a wire with beads to hang so the sections can move freely and chime in the breeze.
- Garden Markers (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced)
If you love your garden and you’d like to make some really special markers that will last and last, this project will suit you. It’s simple and fun and great for friends to do together.
While we aren’t offering formal classes for these projects at this time due to COVID-19, we will be creating classes for them when we can safely gather in the studio again. Please note that these projects require multiple visits to our studio to complete and drying times for items will vary based on size and clay thickness. If you’re interested in doing a project, just email email@example.com or call us (970) 731-1619 and we can give you specifics as far as how much time each project might take and the costs for each.
Masks are required! We are observing social distancing and increased hand -washing.
To visit, just give us a call at (970) 731-1619 and book your time during our regularly scheduled workdays (Weds-Sat from 10-4). Come in to tour the Gallery and see what is offered for sale, or… if you are the creative type, set-up a wheel-throwing session – or maybe get your hands into the clay with a hand-building project in which you’ll be able to create a useful item in a few hours time. We also offer “paint-your-own pottery” experiences which are great for friends and family! We are flexible in our offerings so share your creative wishes and we will do our best to accommodate!
On January 15th our gallery hours will be by appointment only. We will be in the workshop Wednesdays through Saturdays 10 AM – 4 PM. Give us a call and we will set up an appointment time just for you to visit us. (970) 731-1619
When you come in, we will give you a tour of our workshop spaces and share stories about us and the other artists we represent. In addition, you will likely catch us making beautiful new art for the upcoming season! As makers, we love, love, love to be creative, making fresh and unique new designs, and then offer them to you for your own personal collection or as gifts for those special people in your life!
Classes and open studio will be ongoing throughout the winter and spring. Our current class schedule is posted on our website (visit classes & workshops section) and sign-ups are presently being taken. Space is limited so don’t wait!
Don’t be shy… come on by! Just give us a call at (970) 731-1619.
Wow, I just looked back and it’s been almost a year since I last sat down and posted. So much has happened here at Belvedere over the past year! We opened a new space (the clayroom) in the back of our studio/workshop where we now have five potters wheels, a slab roller, our pugmill and all sorts of hand tools. We have increased parking out back and we have a wonderful summertime outdoor space that will allow us to enjoy working outside when weather permits!
The spring and summer came and went so quickly. Bob and I made a trip to New York and Ohio to visit family and we did enjoy really pretty autumn leaves in Ohio. I loved the smell of Fall in air and the cooler days after the summer’s heat. We also had a chance to visit the Cleveland Museum of Art where we took in an exhibit of Tiffany Glass which was just exquisite and so inspiring!
Back home here in Colorado, the growing dome has pretty much reached “the end” for this year’s plantings. Our fig tree produced two nice crops and our neighbors Janice and Tom Maker were kind enough to take a good number of figs off our hands and Janice made several jars of yummy fig preserve AND gave us some of the finished product!
Every fall – one of my favorite things is to watch the cottonwoods down by the river change color. I know that when they change, it won’t be much longer before the colder weather sets in. I do like the winter. It’s a time to settle-in and make things for the next season. I like the stillness and the way things go inward and incubate in preparation for new life in the coming season. I need that – we all need that.
So much happened in the last year, there’s way to much to mention in one post, but it was a busy year of developing classes, putting up fine art shows and fine tuning many of our processes & procedures to make things run more smoothly.
We put a second kiln into operation to increase our firing capacity and did some reorganizing in our workshop to make better use of space. In the gallery/gift-shop, we added new pedestals, shelving and lighting. Our flower garden, although we got a late start, did do quite well and inspired us to plant more and tend better this year! Come April/May, we will be working very hard outside our walls to make our place even more lovely and appealing for you to visit!
We proudly participated in a number of Community events in 2018. The Pagosa Springs Arts Council’s “Mosaic Project” and “Art for the Animals Christmas Sale” were both fun and worthwhile events that Belvedere was happy to be a part of. In addition, we helped with the Seeds of Learning “Festival of the Trees” Christmas Tree project by working with the Seeds students, teachers and volunteers who hand-painted beautiful ceramic ornaments for the lovely Christmas tree that was auctioned to raise money for the benefit of Seeds of Learning Preschool in Pagosa Springs, CO.
Another year is behind us and new beginnings at hand! Lots of snow for the start of 2019 and it’s most appreciated in many ways; well, except for all the snow moving that we have to do! We’ve had a very busy year at Belvedere and we’ve enjoyed meeting many new people in our shop. We are so grateful for all the support from our customers and friends in 2018! Thank you to each and every one of you out there! Our classes are getting more sign-ups now and our wheel-throwing class is selling out on a regular basis. This year our gallery space will be featuring several new artists from the local area in addition to those who have been with us since we opened in 2017. We are excited to be changing our gallery format (no longer featuring short shows of local artist works) in favor of focusing our efforts into further developing our unique and diverse gallery/gift shop. As “makers” ourselves, we are making this change to allow us the time we need to get back into our workshop and create art too! We have loved putting the Belvedere Gallery and Workshop together and now it’s time for us to make art too!
Some things just take a long time to get done, but eventually, if you push through… they get done! This tile project, Garden Reflections was one of “those” projects. It was started with the intention of creating and tiling my husband’s outdoor kitchen, but life got in the way, and too much time passed while we “tried” to work on it. I can’t really remember when we started on it to be honest… maybe 2-3 years ago, but last summer we finally took the partially completed project off the shelf and worked on it until it was finished. Then, in the heat of August, Brianna and I (mostly Brianna) labored on the back deck installing the tile. It was Bri’s first experience in installing a fairly good sized project, but she persevered through all the little details that make the installation well done, versus “okay,” and we ended up with a really nice tiled outdoor kitchen. The colorful mural wall was designed as a reflection of the nearby blooming flower garden on the hillside just below the outdoor kitchen. Bees, birds, dragonflies and butterflies are commonly seen flitting around the plants, so we just couldn’t resist adding images of them to this fun, whimsical contemporary design. The clay we used was our favorite cone 6 porcelain stoneware “Columbine” from New Mexico Clay in Albuquerque. It’s a great clay for outdoor, or wet area projects since it has a very low water absorption rate. Starting with the wet bags of clay, we pressed the 4×4″ square tiles on our 30 ton ram press and then individualized each one by pressing rocks and sumi brush handles against them gently while they were still fairly wet. I also like to make the edges of each tile irregular by making delicate finger marks on all the edges. This method allows us to create the basic tile quickly, but to then make them unique and special. We made our own trim pieces using our wall mounted extruder with dies that I designed and had cut at Northern Tool and Equipment. After bisque firing all the tiles, we hand-washed each one with red/brown iron oxide and dipped them in several different shades of green glazes that we purchased from Coyote Clay & Glazes (also in Albuquerque). The mural wall was hand-sculpted to create a bas-relief pattern of all the imagery in the design. After bisque firing, it was also washed with iron oxide and then hand-painted with Coyote Glazes and fired to cone 6 in oxidation. Oh, and don’t let me forget to tell you about the old broken French breakfast bowl (pictured at the bottom). I loved that bowl. We bought it nearly 30 years ago when we were in France. One day I was in the pantry and saw it lying there on a shelf in pieces. So, I saved the pieces and when we put this project together it came to mind about 3/4 of the way through the installation. Now the broken yellow bowl has a useful place once again!
Wow, it’s been almost a year since we opened our Gallery/Workshop in Pagosa Springs; our anniversary is coming up next month in September. The time goes so fast when you stay as busy as we have and finding time for our own art-making is always a challenge. When we have a chance to take a little time to get away and refresh, see new places and things and just have the opportunity to reflect, it makes a big difference in terms of our creative energy. A couple weeks ago Bob and I visited the Denver Botanical Gardens with family members where we saw wonderful displays of beautiful, colorful plants and listened to the music of long time favorite group, the Gypsy Kings. It was a beautiful warm evening under the stars and we relaxed, took in the fabulous sounds and sights and just had a great time. The “take away” is of course a good bit of inspiration, both visual and emotional that will surely translate into new work that will soon be happening!