Colleen Owens is a local, Colorado artist who specializes in functional pottery. She started making pottery over 25 years ago and has been dedicated to it ever since. After first discovering pottery, Owen’s spent the first few years learning everything she could about clays, glazes, and firings. As a result, she took many classes and workshops, read books about pottery, and spent countless hours practicing. In 1997, Owen’s joined Castle Clay Artists in Denver to facilitate her learning and become part of the local pottery community.
“I am thankful for the wealth and knowledge that these artists shared with me. This experience allowed me to see many different approaches and techniques to clay. I learned invaluable skills that enabled me to make my own glazes and fire both electric and gas kilns.” -Colleen Owens
All of Owen’s pottery is completely functional, both dishwasher and microwave safe, making it perfect for everyday use. Beacuse of this, many have come to love and collect her work throughout the years. Colleen currently lives in Arvada, Colorado with her husband, 3 kids, and 2 cats. When she’s not in the studio, she loves spending time with her family and cooking good food. She also enjoys taking long walks, hiking, and skiing in our beautiful state.
Colleen started working in clay over 25 years ago as a creative outlet while she finished her degree at the University of Colorado.
“I was not sure what I wanted to do for my career after graduating, but I did know that working with my hands and creating something of my own sparked an unexpected interest to me. I was driven to spend all my time at my potter’s wheel, so eventually making pottery became my primary focus.
“In the beginning, like most artists, I went all in by learning the skills and gaining the required knowledge to be successful. I spent many years practicing at the wheel, making glazes, and firing kilns. I found help along the way when I joined Castle Clay Artists in Denver. These established artists generously shared their knowledge, gave me a place to work, and helped me to start selling my pottery. After getting married and starting a family, I decided to build my first pottery studio in my home. This allowed me to be a full-time mom while continuing to pursue my passion to be a potter. Over the years I have had opportunities to sell my work at local galleries and participate in shows and festivals throughout Colorado.”
Colleen’s thoughts on her functional pottery
“Today, I work primarily with functional forms in white stoneware clay. Most of my work is wheel-thrown. Once the clay becomes leather hard, I trim the bottom of each one to enhance the final form. At this stage, many pieces are then carved, pierced, or impressed with a floral or leaf design. I use single glazes for pieces where I want the design or pattern to stand out. For other work, I apply multiple glazes to create variation or depth on the surface. As with many potters, my work has a unifying style, but I am one to keep experimenting with form, texture, and glaze. This keeps me engaged and progressing as an artist each day.”
“My intention is to create pottery that is both beautiful and useful. My sincere hope is that my work will connect you to the pleasure of handmade goods.” -Colleen Owens
“I give thought to every piece that I create; therefore, I often spend time drawing designs and taking notes before I begin to work. I work with stoneware clay bodies because they provide durability and long-lasting beauty with continued use.
“Today, my pottery revolves around two distinct styles or lines of work. The first, and most popular, is my Farmhouse line, which features minimalist forms that incorporate modern and rustic elements. I use a warm beige clay body and a soft white glaze for these pieces. I have also recently introduced a sage green glaze to this line. While simple, these pieces have lots of character and easily blend into any environment.
“My decorative line of work features more intricate designs that allow me to express myself as an artist. For these pieces, I use a variety of modalities including carving patterns, making clay impressions, chattering on the clay surface, or decorating with clay slip. I prefer a white stoneware clay body for these pieces which allows me to use a wider palette of glaze colors that enhance the final product.“
“In a loud, busy world, I have benefited from the concentration and long quiet hours that I’ve been able to put into my work each day.” -Colleen Owens