Artique owner’s works are set in clay
Artique’s First Friday artist opening: Katie Stellpflug 6 p.m. on Friday, June 7 Artique, 283 N. Main St. in Kamas Free 435-640-8048 facebook.com/artiqueartandgifts
Katie Stellpflug has hosted a First Friday Artists opening every month for the past eight years at Artique, her artist co-op in Kamas.
While the venue has exhibited fine art photography, paintings and jewelry by a variety of local artists, Stellpflug said she needs to start showing more of her own ceramic works.
“That’s something I know I don’t do enough, and I was overdue,” she said. “I just decided I better do it and coincide with the space’s eighth anniversary.”
Stellpflug will showcase her works from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, June 7, at Artique, 283 N. Main St. in Kamas. The event, which will also offer appetizers and drinks, is free and open to the public.
Stellpflug said that, until now, she hasn’t had time to exhibit her own work.
“There is always something, whether it’s writing checks to the exhibiting artist, paying the bills or tending the garden, that makes me put my ceramics on the backburner,” she said. “So I don’t really feel like I have enough pieces to justify being a featured artist.”
When asked how many pieces she needs to feel comfortable showing as a First Friday artist, Stellpflug laughed and said, ‘More than I currently have.”
“It’s nice to fill a table or shelf with my things, and I want more than 10 pieces,” she said. “Some of my pieces can be small, so it does take quite a bit of work to fill it out.”
Stellpflug relies on fellow artist Carole Duh, who is a textile and yarn maker, to help set up the displays.
“She knows how to make my works look fresh and new,” Stellpflug said.
In addition to finished ceramic mugs, trays and plates, Stellpflug will also show some “raw” works.
“Raw means the pieces that haven’t been fired yet, and many people don’t see what the raw clay looks like,” she said. “So these make the display interesting, because they show people part of the ceramic process.”
Raw ceramics are more fragile than her finished works, Stellpflug said.
“So, when I show them, I do warn people that the clay is like chalk, “ she said. “I tell them if you were to pour water into it, it would slowly turn back into mud.”
Stellpflug plans to make more raw pieces this week.
“Since my ceramic studio is on site, many people are able to see me work,” she said.
Stellpflug said she would also like to get back to her roots and create some decorative ceramic wall tiles.
“That was something I did a lot in college,” she said.
Stellpflug first tried her hand in ceramics in middle and high school.
“It was one of those mediums that I connected to,” she said. “I liked taking a chunk of clay and sculpting it into something.”
Over time, Stellpflug enjoyed making functional pieces.
“Making cups, mugs and trays are a neat way to share this artistic medium,” she said.
Throughout the years, Stellpflug came up with a unique mark for her cups. She does it by pushing her index, middle and ring finger prints into the clay.
“It really came about by playing around,” she said. “While I love throwing clay on the wheel, I love handbuilding, which is how most of my cups are made. And one day I decided to put my fingerprints on one.”
Stellpflug liked how it looked, and soon found she wasn’t the only one.
“It turned out that many people did, too,” she said. “The would tell me that they would put their fingers in the prints to grip the cup. So that just became my signature.”
Stellpflug also likes how organic the fingerprints look in the clay, and she traces that back to one of her professors at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.
“He told us that we are not machines, and while we will try to make our pieces look as perfect as they can, they aren’t made from a mold,” she said. “So what he was telling us is that every piece we make will be one of a kind.”
In addition to creating more works for the First Friday event, Stellpflug, with help from Duh, repainted Artique’s interior a couple of weeks ago.
“It was long overdue, because we haven’t painted the whole shop since we opened,” Stellpflug said. “Although Carole and I had done one wall a couple of years ago, she decided we needed to do the whole place this time.”
The smell of the new paint took Stellpflug back to when she and former business partners Alisha Nishwander and Cassidy DuHadaway first opened Artique as the Starving Artist Exchange.
“That was eight years ago last may,” Stellpflug said. “That was the last time the building was empty. It’s been full all these years now.”
Currently Artique represents 20 local artists, mostly from Summit County.
“It’s been fun to see how we have grown over the years,” Stellpflug said. “We created a little spot off the beaten path that people are starting to know about. And we couldn’t have done it without the community’s support.”
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