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Boulder Mountain Clayworks Reels Them in with Alice in Wonderland
Robyn Watson and her sister Leslie Doheny-Hanks applaud the winner of the Alice in Wonderland totem.
Monday, August 2, 2021


There were a hole (sic) lot of people going down the rabbit hole at the Boulder Mountain Clayworks’  fundraiser this year.

The prize: An “Alice in Wonderland” totem, on which 11 artists had collaborated, fashioning The Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, Tweedledum and Tweedledee and other characters out of clay.

They put it up for bid to raise operating funds for the non-profit organization in Ketchum.

Jackson Flynn, a teacher at Boulder Mountain Clayworks, describes the Alice in Wonderland totem behind him.

Robyn Watson and her sister Lisa Doheny-Hanks showed up in hopes of winning that bid, snagging a table front and center as they nibbled on array of pasta and rice salads and pizza from the Ketchum Grill Pizza Truck.

“I’m a huge ‘Alice in Wonderland’ fan--Leslie and I used to put on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ picnics,” said Watson. “And I think the original black and white 1939 movie is amazing because it’s so true to the book. So, when I read that they were holding a fundraiser with an Alice in Wonderland theme, I had to come.”

The two sisters began to banter back and forth:

“I love the language, the storytelling.”

Susan Winget created this and other silent auction items.

“I’m always late so I can identify with the rabbit. ‘I’m late. I’m late. I’m late for an important date.’ ”

“And, ‘I’m the queen. Off with their heads!”

The bidding seesawed back and forth, Watson raising her card every third or fourth bid. As the number climbed, she looked worried that she might not get it. But, with a look of determination, she thrust her bid number into the air one more time. And she heard auctioneer Jackson Flynn say, “Sold! For $2,000,” as he pointed her way.

A hundred people took part in the Tuscany on Tenth fundraiser, which was held at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden this year to allow physical distancing. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect as Lillian Brunacini and her mother Lisa Brunacini agonized over the handsome cups potters had crafted to serve as guests’ wine cups.

Lillian Brunacini and her mother Lisa Brunacini try to choose a wine cup that will be theirs to take home.

“It’s so fun being in the studio. And they organize so many different classes and workshops,” Brunacini said.

“You take one class, and it’s amazing what all of a sudden you can do,” added Kelley Witt.

Like so many organizations, Boulder Mountain Clayworks had to navigate its way through the pandemic, even putting its popular Empty Bowls fundraiser for The Hunger Coalition on hiatus for a year. Still, it was able to offer classes on how to make dinosaurs and spacemen for children, said potter Maureen Jenner.

“We had classes and people showed up because they wanted something to do,” said potter Mary Ann Chubb. “We lowered the number of people, required masks and other precautions and, while we had to cancel workshops by major national artists because it was too risky for them to get here, the kids’ classes were full.”

Jackson Flynn and Lauren Street pitch auction items.

Potters contributed a variety of beautiful food platters and other items as silent auction items. And the live auction items included a White Rabbit lamp for that went for $900, a 39-piece dish set for 12 crafted by nationally known raku artist Jim Romburg that went for $800, and a dish set that included a teapot and cake plate that Clayworks Director Lauren Street made that went for $500.

“Boulder Mountain Clayworks is for young people and for older people to come in and express their love of clay,” said Street. “It’s been in existence for 24 years and it helps out a lot of different organizations, including The Hunger Coalition, the Bloom Library truck, Camp Rainbow Gold… It’s a labor of love—clay for everybody.”


Boulder Mountain Clayworks is open daily at 471 E. 10th St. in Ketchum. Classes and workshops include such themes as making Cookie Jars, Bread Baskets, Flower Pots and Garden Ornaments. And Kids’ Camps focus on such themes as Space Camp and Gnomes of the Garden.

To learn about classes, workshops and summer camps, call 208-726-4484 or visit


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