Locals 2007: Bill Sanders

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Bill Sanders

— Bill Sanders goes back to throw more tea bowls on his pottery wheel while the slip clay finishes drying in a plaster mold of a sake pourer.

On this cloudy winter day, there's no place Sanders would rather be than in his studio -"a quiet place in the aspens above Steamboat Springs" and atop a winding gauntlet of a driveway lined with old skis that he likes to call "a great quarter-mile toboggan run."

Sanders' ceramic journey began in the Pacific Rim, where he first learned the ancient craft as a high school student in northern Philippines. He didn't pick it up again until he returned to the country after attending the University of Denver, where he fell in love with Colorado and his future wife, Barb. After a brief stint with the military in Germany and armed with a business degree, Sanders moved to Honolulu, where he owned and operated a lumber company for the next 20 years.

As Sanders began studying with and under accomplished Asian artists in school and in a potters' guild, he learned to hone his ceramic skills as a true art form.

"I like working with my hands," said Sanders, who built his home just north of Steamboat with his son, Rob, in 2000.

Sanders has a passion for mixing the right glaze recipe - he says it's "so perfect you want to cry." And his artistic style incorporates a distinct mix of his Pacific influences with his own evolving interests inspired by his ventures into local wilderness areas.

"Of all the places I've lived, there is no better place than Steamboat," he said. "You can plant me under an aspen tree in 20 years, but I'm not moving any farther."

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