Offering memberships and classes, San Juan Potters’ Guild carries on legacy of Mountain Dog Arts in Ouray
While the opportunity came swiftly and somewhat suddenly, the path to owning her own pottery and ceramics studio felt like a natural progression to San Juan Potters’ Guild owner Meadow Coldon.
When former Mountain Dog Arts owner Jen Sawyer first approached her about buying the Ouray business in July, Coldon found it to be a no-brainer after helping build the studio and cultivate a sense of community for five years.
Since reopening as San Juan Potters’ Guild on Jan. 1, a sense of enthusiasm has fueled Coldon as she reorganizes and puts her personal touches on the space. Some butterflies may also have fluttered around in her stomach as she realizes her dream.
“For me personally, it feels really exciting. At the same time, it’s a lot of work to try to keep things open and workable for current members and make improvements at the same time,” Coldon said. “I run a yarn dyeing business from home, so I have a home studio, but this is my first time running a brick and mortar. So yeah, I’m definitely a little nervous.”
Sawyer said she first approached Coldon last summer about buying the business since she wanted to travel and quash a “wanderlust bug.” A desire to earn her mountain bike coaching certification also played a factor in the decision.
“She’s probably the only person who I would have sold to because I wanted it to continue being a pottery studio, and I knew that she would do that and keep doing all the fun community things that we were doing,” Sawyer said, adding she plans to continue running Mountain Dog Arts as a personal passion project. “Meadow is going to take it to a whole new level. She is much more engaged with the science of pottery (than I am) and she’s a very good teacher.”
Coldon, an archeologist by trade, previously specialized in teaching knitting and wool processing workshops. However, she made the jump to ceramics five years ago after she and Aliyah Field helped Sawyer open Mountain Dog Arts in 2019.
Coldon said her goal is to provide the area’s plethora of potters with networking opportunities and a space that allows the local art scene to flourish.
“I really want to have a place where people can come and collaborate and educate each other and get excited together,” Coldon said. “Ceramics is such a huge medium. This is a place that sparks their fire that they can run with.”
In addition to pottery available for sale, San Juan Potters’ Guild offers memberships to access the space and its equipment.
Members will pay $85 per month for one-month memberships, $76 per month for three-month memberships and $69 per month for 12-month memberships. Membership is not capped until space becomes an issue, and members receive a door code granting them access from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.
For novice potters, San Juan Potters Guild offers six week-long wheel throwing classes that cost $285 as well as private lessons that cost between $80 and $275 per hour.
Equipment currently includes four electric wheel workstations, one electric kiln and a space for hand builders that features hand rolling equipment and a slab roller. Coldon said she plans to add one small reduction gas kiln by the end of February and additional gas and wood fire kilns in the future.
Along with the equipment, members have access to storage for personal tools and supplies, a glaze making space, a studio library and discounted workshops. They may also display and sell their work in the lobby.
San Juan Potters’ Guild will host a public welcome party complete with food and drinks on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m.
San Juan Potters’ Guild is located in the former Mountain Dog Arts building at 825 Main St. in Ouray and will be open four days per week through the end of March. Coldon said she is still determining the specific days and hours the space will be open to the public during the winter and will offer expanded hours after March.
For more information, visit sanjuanpottersguild.com.