Alongside his great devotion to clay, Steve Briggs is motivated by his desire to be not locked in by any situation, position, or even what he writes down when asked his profession. Ceramist is cold, Artist is pretentious, Potter is appealingly grit-ty but not enough of the rest for him, so he has finally landed on Artist-Potter as an acceptable amount of each.
He has been a poet, an English teacher, and a filmmaker, always with his potter wife working on the wheel in his basement, until one day he walked into Betty Woodmans Boulder, Colorado studio and announced he wanted to make pots. Generous as always, she sent him to study at Boulder’s Firehouse Pottery Program which she had started. She also gave him a job at her studio sanding down pots, loading kilns, and breaking things. “I stepped on a sculpture and crushed a teapot, but I am still stretching clay like I learned from her”, he says. At the Firehouse he was rapidly recognized as skilled enough to teach, and soon after, responsible enough to become the head supervisor for the next 12 years. When that position was eventually eliminated, he started the adventure of finding, digging, slaking and sieving local clays and slips, which he still lovingly pursues to this day, though he admits to being kicked off of land often enough to be leery!
Steve is a born teacher and at Gilpin Community Center outside Blackhawk where he has taught pottery courses for the last seven years, the inspiration flows equally back and forth between him and his students. He explains that the relationship between what he teaches and his own work sends me to places I wouldnt go otherwise and he gets as excited as his students. He is so stimulated to move (evolve, not jump, he insists) from one inspiration to another, that one day someone amused him by asking if he suffered from ADD. To explain, he gave the example that as a lifelong fisherman, he feels it is only natural to allow the inspiration to lead him.
Steve appreciates that Boulder Arts & Crafts Cooperative has sustained this experimentation and “has always been a place that doesn’t lock me in, but is a secure venue to sell my work as I try out new ideas.” Viva la Co-op!