Dynamic Ceramics: Red Brick artists debuted new collections at the Saturday Market

Ceramic artist Liz Heller worked in her shop on July 12, 2022, at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Walking into Aspen Saturday Market, you’ll see several local makers located between the farmstand booths. A local artist, Liz Heller, is located approximately opposite the corn kettle; there, he serves up ceramic works, which may be the perfect vessel for presenting that sweet meal (and then some).

Heller arrived in Roaring Fork Valley for the first time in the fall of 2014, as an artist-in-residence in the sculpture studio of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. He permanently moved here in 2015 to pursue a full-time career as a working artist. In 2016, he settled into a more permanent residence at the Red Brick Center for the Arts.

“Everything I’ve been doing since I came here I’m still doing,” he says with a smile, but that’s only slightly true if the new, more experimental pieces coming out of his studio are any indication.



Heller works in his Red Brick studio making cups, plates, bowls, planters and vases using hybrid techniques of traditional ceramic skills along with three-dimensional printing.

“I call myself a mold-maker and slip caster,” he says, explaining that casting involves pouring a liquid into a mold and letting it set up in that shape, in contrast to slip casting. , which “is when you use a plaster mold. and the plaster absorbs moisture from the slip, which is a liquid clay, and it turns mud from the outside in. The longer the slip sits in the mold, the thicker it becomes. the walls. Excess slip is poured from the mold to create a hollow piece. “



Examples of ceramics made by artist Liz Heller seen on July 12, 2022, at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

This is how he creates his perforated vessels, before adding different glaze to the pieces. He then shoots them, resulting in browns, greens, purples, blues and pinks that you can see displayed on his market shelves and in his vibrant studio space.

“They’re very similar in appearance, but the glazes make these pieces completely different,” he says.

Ceramic artist Liz Heller worked in her shop on July 12, 2022, at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The complex processes inherent in ceramic work mean that no two results are predictable, or exactly identical.

“You never know what you’re going to get when you open the oven,” he said. “There are so many things that can go wrong with ceramics; you spend a lot of time before firing, but if you make a bad decision with your glazing, you can destroy the whole piece. This is a risk. I’ve really become comfortable with my job, but now I’m experimenting, and that’s exciting.

And while her process – and the variables within it – have influenced her work, she also draws inspiration from the place we call home.

“My new molds are softer, more organic, and simpler. That’s a direct reflection of where we are: a small, rural town surrounded by nature,” he said. “I can’t do this in other towns in the mountains. The arts community in the Roaring Fork Valley is huge. The fact that we have Anderson Ranch, a world-renowned arts center, in our valley is surprising. We have The Art Base in Basalt; we have an arts center and the Clay Center in Carbondale. There’s no way I can survive Steamboat in what I’m doing. It’s a special combination of events here. “

Ceramic artist Liz Heller worked in her shop on July 12, 2022, at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Heller also boosts his creative energy by collaborating with other local artists, such as Carbondale -based woodworker Dave Kodama, where he works on commission projects, as well as collaborating with Spiro Lyon Glass, also in Carbondale.

Upvalley, Heller will co -teach a metalsmithing class with Natasha Seedorf, a Carbondale metalsmith, in the fall on the CMC Aspen campus (registration is currently open). He also has an upcoming free exhibition at Anderson Ranch, which opens Aug. 18, in conjunction with his cohorts in The Center of the Ranch program, which is a long-form mentorship for advanced artists for three years.

In addition to his classes, art opening and market booth, which shoppers will see (almost) every Saturday through Aug. 30, you’ll see Heller’s work at Anderson Ranch. You can also go to his studio, where he usually works in the afternoon. Heller was always willing to meet with community members, who helped her build a life here.

“Aspen really supports the people who are here to make their dreams come true,” he said.

For more, visit http://www.modcrmx.com.

Ceramic artist Liz Heller worked in her shop on July 12, 2022, at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Examples of ceramics made by artist Liz Heller were seen on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Ceramic artist Liz Heller worked in her shop on July 12, 2022, at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times
Ceramic artist Liz Heller posed for a photo in her shop on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, at the Red Brick Center for the Arts in Aspen.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times