We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Walter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
The most important lessons that my ceramic career has taught me is “don’t get too attached to dirt.” In ceramics there is often failure, from forms collapsing on the wheel to kiln catastrophes. If you become too attached to your creations such events can feel overbearing. I’ve learned that you cannot take that too seriously and you cannot let it deter you from continuing to create.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have always been extremely passionate about making. I started ceramics like many have, with a high school pottery class. Immediately I was drawn to the medium, I loved how I could get an image from my mind into the world. I also loved how difficult it was. Ceramics is an art form that you never stop learning and refining your craft. That hard work seemed to signify something worth doing to me, It wasn’t easy to choose to pursue ceramics as a career. Almost anyone will tell you not to get an art degree or you’ll be living on rice for the rest of your life. I found that I wanted to be in a field where people where intensely passionate about what they were doing, and decided to forge on against most people’s advice. While I am still fairly new to the ceramics field, I’ve only been working in it for 8 years, I have found so much joy, meet amazing artists, and found a medium that can help me express myself to the world. I hope that my message and work can help cultivate mindfulness in the user. My ceramic work centers around the strained relationship between humanity and nature and the changes that humanity exerts upon the earth. By the beholder reflecting on their interaction and relationship with my work, I hope they become aware of their role in humanity and how their actions impact nature.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Northern Colorado is an interesting place to visit because there are so many gems in the area. You may have to drive 30 minutes but it’s worth it. I am a huge plant nerd so of course I would take them to some of the greenhouses in the area. My favorites are Gully’s Greenhouse in Fort Collins, Little Eden in Arvada, and Loveland Greenhouse and Nursery in (you guessed it!) Loveland. I also love thrift and vintage stores. Between Loveland and Fort Collins on 287 there’s a row of flea markets that are a joy to search through. My favorite one is Foothills Flea Market. Of course, a Colorado staple in the thrifting game is ARC with many locations across Colorado. In the era of Covid, most of the places I now visit are outdoors. I enjoy Rocky Mountain National Forrest, particularly the wide range of waterfall hikes available. Boating is also a family favorite, even with Colorado being a land locked state. We enjoy Horsetooth and Boyd Lake the most often. My favorite place to eat is Daruma in Greeley. It’s a charming Japanese restaurant that the UNC students love. I am also a tea fan and enjoy visiting Happy Lucky’s Teahouse in Fort Collins.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to recognize my ceramics professor at the University of Northern Colorado, Mike Lemke. He is a wealth of knowledge and stuck the perfect balance between guidance and letting me create my own path. My high school ceramics teacher, Barbara Janssen, believed in me from the very start and I don’t know what path I would have taken without her. I would also like to recognize Tim Preston and Matthew Jacobsen from the Clay Center of Northern Colorado. The owner, Tim is our fearless leader and I am always inspired by his kindness and continual search for ceramic knowledge. Matthew helped me step outside my comfort zone and learn wood firing as well as embracing life’s twists and turns. I am also ever grateful for my friends who have supported my artistic journey. Dallas Shields will forever be my studio goblin who pushes me to be the best I can. Grace Hoag is an absolute powerhouse of talent and has always given me the best advice artistically and personally.
All image credit to Alex Walter.