Winter Park artists create unique ceramics | SkyHiNews.com

Winter Park artists create unique ceramics

Next to The Perk Coffee Company there are typically two artists slaving over a hot kiln.

For Jordy McNamee and Josh Warren, operators of The Perk Studio, pottery is more than just a side job. McNamee and Warren want to create a community for artists in Grand County. The Perk Studio is located in the same building as the Perk Coffee Company in a friendly and welcoming space.

McNamee is the founder of The Perk Studio. He has a degree in Elementary Education and practiced art and film on the side through college and high school. He always wanted to "master the wheel," and found his opportunity here in Grand County.

Warren went to school for art, but his school did not have a ceramics program so he began making practicing on his own and through local classes.

McNamee and Warren met in Fraser after they found a common interest in creating an artist community. They wanted a studio for several reasons including entertainment and a place were people could work together.

McNamee, who started alone, said he needed a like-minded person to push his creative abilities and motivate him to create pottery. Warren was the perfect candidate.

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The Perk Studio recently created 92 mugs for the Hideaway Park Brewery's "mug club." The brewery sold out of them in about four hours. Making 92 mugs took McNamee over a month to complete, while Warren focused on producing products for sales in the coffee shop. They also sell their products at the adjoining Perk Coffee Company. McNamee said they have been struggling to keep up with demand.

Warren is not only crafty in ceramics, he also built his own tiny house where he lives part-time and has worked as a raft guide in the past. He works at a restaurant to get by, but his true passion is art. He recalled a former employer of his who, when informed that Warren was leaving to pursue his passion, asked "But how are you going to make a living?" This did not discourage him, but inspired him to follow the path of what he loves.

McNamee cleans kegs at Hideaway Park Brewery, is a part-time ski instructor, and runs the after school program for Fraser Elementary at the Fraser Rec Center. The two work very hard to make the time and means for their passion at the pottery wheel.

Warren started the Fraser Valley Arts Cooperative, a movement to bring artists in Grand County together. "We just don't have anything like that here," Warren said. The goal is to find studio spaces for artists where they can collaborate and create. "Most people don't own their homes," Warren said, "They rent. So there is no place for a studio." The co-op plans to meet at least once a month. Warren said he hopes the Fraser Valley Arts Co-op will be involved in the recently added Fraser Public Arts Program, who advises the town of matters related to arts in public places—an area that Fraser is trying to progress in.

The Perk Studio makes mugs, bowls, sponge holders, pour-over coffee makers, and ceramic bacon cookers. McNamee and Warren spend about 70 hours a week in the studio. Not all time spent is working. The two have a nice place to relax and think of their next design.