In May 2019, I attended the “Big Pot Workshop & Pig Roast” at Judson Pottery in northern Colorado. Master potter Dan Toberer demonstrated his construction of large clay amphora which he sells to craft breweries. Tim Barry, a partner with Dan in Omaha, NE’s “Hot Shops Art Center” lead a discussion ranging from technical topics on ceramic production to large-scale public art commissions.
The workshop location was the Judson Pottery, set on the Phantom Canyon Ranch in northern Colorado. Judson Pottery was a regional ceramics production facility established 50 years ago and is still used today by the owners for small-scale pottery production. Phantom Canyon Ranch once covered over 140 square miles spanning from the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park on its southern border to close to the Wyoming border on its northern edge.
The setting was extraordinary. The workshop itself was in the old barn. Workshop attendees could wander around the site, inspecting several large kilns. The workshop was interesting. I met great people, including nearby ranchers who came by after the workshop to enjoy the pig roast. Interestingly, several ranchers I met there had lived & worked in Central America, including one man who lived in the same Costa Rican town I lived in during my Peace Corps days. Small world. Dan brought some home-made beer to share with workshop participants. During these Coronavirus safer-at-home days, I think back fondly to that well-spent day in Colorado: cold beer, roasted pig, great conversation, and a workshop.