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Boulder Mountain Clayworks-Where Clay Meets Pizza and Blooms
Friday, August 25, 2023


It seemed fitting that Boulder Mountain Clayworks has moved its Tuscany on Tenth fundraiser from the parking lot in front of the studio to the Sawtooth Botanical Garden.

Somehow, the beautiful blooms there seem to mesh with the dirt and clay used to create beautiful ceramics.

Dozens of supporters streamed into the garden recently in search of beautiful ceramics to add to their collection while supporting the DIY potters’ studio. They noshed on several different kinds of pizza baked in the Mason Pizza Oven and sipped mojitos and wine serve in complimentary wine cups crafted by Brooke Seidl and others with Boulder Mountain Clayworks.

Boulder Mountain Clayworks, which opened in 1979, features classes for kids and teens, families and adults, spicing them up with novelty classes focused on making such things as holiday ornaments Thanksgiving turkeys and Halloween witches, goblins and ghouls. It also brings in renowned guest artists and contributes bowls used in the annual Empty Bowl soup and salad fundraisers to help those with needs in the community.

The studio keeps long hours, compared to many such studios that keep very limited hours, said one patron.

“Boulder Mountain Clayworks is an important thing for the community,” said ceramics artist Marjolaine Renfro. “Even making a pinch pot is great fun.”

In fact, the number of adults and children availing themselves of the chance to take classes at Boulder Mountain Clayworks or just come in and work keeps climbing, said teacher Brooke Seidl.

“There’s a tremendous amount of interest in making your own vessels to eat and drink out of. People want a connection with their hands, and working with clay is challenging, good for the mind and the soul,” she added.

It also appears to be good for community.

Anna Koonce, one of several teenagers helping with the fundraiser, said she took classes when she was little, fell in love with the art and continued to make vases and mugs. Ten teens from the teen throw class joined together to create a fairy lamp to auction off to raise money for youth scholarships.

“I love doing clay and I love the environment. It’s real positive and everyone is so helpful,” she said.

Ketchum architect Kristin Anderson concurred.

“To me this is the real deal. I love that Boulder Mountain Clayworks is out of the box. Everyone is so supportive. They say, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Let me help.’ ”

This year’s auction items included a tile work sporting the iconic Sun Valley barn and two lampstands with the red barn and Pioneer Saloon. It also featured such items donated by community as a Zenergy package that included private tennis lessons and Pilates and a 15-day ski pass donated by Sun Valley Resort.

This year’s fundraiser was needed not just to keep the lights on but to purchase new kilns, which can cost up to $5,000 each, noted auctioneer Jackson Flynn.

“Without kilns we don’t have ceramics,” said Flynn, a former student and now a teacher at Clayworks.

Anderson said she grew up in a small community in Nevada and that taught her the important of turning out for to support causes like Boulder Mountain Clayworks.

“In a small community, you have to jump in and contribute!”

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