Steamboat artist shaping a new ceramic style |

Steamboat artist shaping a new ceramic style

Local artist Gail Holthausen experimenting with pottery, jewelry work

Margaret Hair

— During a reception today, local ceramic artist Gail Holthausen will let go of a piece of work that has followed her for years.

An 18-inch-long wall hanging crafted from ceramic, acrylic, wire and glass, the large, purple flower represents a combination of the styles and techniques Holthausen has on display at Rustique Home & Garden Collection.

"I threw it and sculpted it, and then I didn't know how to finish it for a couple of years, and it haunted me," Holthausen said about the piece. Borrowing a technique from jewelry making, Holthausen decided to create the middle of the flower with pieces of wire, finally finishing the pottery piece that had boggled her.

"It was a very exciting mo­­ment to be able to complete a piece that has literally followed me from studio to studio," she said.

A collection of Holthausen's sculptural ceramic art, functional pottery and beaded silver jewelry opens with a free reception from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Rustique. The event is one of 18 art receptions included in First Friday Artwalk, a monthly showcase of mostly local art in venues including downtown galleries, museums, restaurants and retailers.

With more than 30 years of ceramics experience behind her, Holthausen is well past having to think about the basics of throwing a pot, she said. These days, she experiments with new techniques, shaping pieces to become textured or sculptural.

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About four years ago, Holthausen started making jewelry. She's developed her use of stones, silver and art glass since then, and she is working on pieces that combine pottery and jewelry techniques.

"I'm just having a lot of fun making jewelry that's got a presence but that's delicate," she said.

With so many techniques and styles of three-dimensional art running through her mind, Holthausen said she was looking forward to taking her work to the next level with each new project.

"It's just taking it to the next step and trying new things," she said.

From 2004 to June 2009, Holthausen owned The Potter's Wheel, a paint-your-own-pottery studio. Before opening the shop, Holthausen kept a gallery in the same location on Acre Lane, she said. Since selling The Potter's Wheel in June, Holthausen has had the time to start creating again, she said.

An active member of the Steamboat Clay Artisans local ceramic artist community, Holthausen has participated in several gallery shows at the Depot Art Center, and taught ceramics classic at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus every semester for about five years, she said.

The display at Rustique also includes Raku-fired pieces Holthausen made last summer, a few pieces she has decided to release from her personal collection and some painted plates.

Holthausen's pottery and jewelry will be at Rustique through April. Her jewelry is also available at Epilogue Book Co.

— To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204 or e-mail

If you go

What: Opening reception for pottery and jewelry by Gail Holthausen, part of First Friday Artwalk

When: 5 to 8 p.m. today

Where: Rustique Home & Garden Collection, 624 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: Free

Call: 870-2980

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