Ceramic exchange | SteamboatToday.com

Ceramic exchange

Florida artist showing work in Steamboat through online connections

Margaret Hair

— Ceramic artists Deb Babcock and Judy B. Freeman have never met.

They live thousands of miles away from each other, and while their work coexists in pottery showcases and on artist-geared Web sites, the two women know each other only through their shared love of color and natural shapes.

“I met Judy online. There’s a Web site I’m on that’s only for artists, and her work was just always so eye-catching,” said Babcock, who will feature Freeman’s work through the end of the month at her Steamboat Springs gallery, Blue Sky Pottery.

“The stuff in my studio tends to be more on the colorful side, and I thought it would be kind of fun to have a guest artist for a month and see how it went,” Babcock said.

Freeman, who lives in Florida, remembers seeing Babcock’s work at a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Teapot Show in West Palm Beach a few years back. A Palm Beach Post article about the show featured a photo of Freeman’s teapots, as well as a photo of Babcock’s.

“The image stuck out so much in my mind that I started seeing her work on the Web site, and I sent her e-mail that said, ‘You and I were in a teapot show with each other,'” Freeman said.

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For her show in Steamboat, Freeman focused her pieces on the two motifs that have kept her attention for more than a decade: fish and butterflies.

“A friend had mentioned to me that they wanted a butterfly to give as a gift,” Freeman said, explaining that until then, her knowledge of butterflies was limited. Before that, Freeman was hooked on fish, an artistic addiction that started with scuba diving and strengthened while thumbing through a book on tropical varieties.

“I never realized the range of just incredible design. If you look at it through an artistic eye, it just blows you away,” Freeman said. She hopes any Colorado natives who get the chance to see her work will be struck by the vibrant colors and diverse shapes.

“I hope the colors and the way that I see these things in our everyday lives (come through),” she said. “And hopefully they see the craftsmanship, because it’s something that I’ve been working on for a long time, and it’s something that I really want to come across in my work, is the detail and the craftsmanship that goes into everything I do.”

By sending her ceramic pieces to far-off places, Freeman jokes that she lives vicariously through her pottery. With the 13 pieces featured at Blue Sky, which Babcock said “just kind of sparkle” in their careful details and colorful glazes, Freeman said she hopes to bring a little bit of Florida to the Rockies.

“I don’t think that it’s typical of what people usually think of as Colorado art. I think it’s a little taste of my world.”