Upon entering Green River Pottery’s cozy showroom at 1710 Lena Street, visitors are treated to a visual feast. Handmade stoneware vessels, notable for their beautiful earthy glazes, are artfully arranged throughout. Each piece blurs the line between form and function–inspiration from traditional Japanese pottery, according to owner Theo Helmstadter.

Helmstadter opened his shop in 1998, and Green River Pottery’s hands-on classes have become a staple within the Lena Street creative community. He’s an experienced teacher for both adults and children, and offers instruction for all levels. He also offers two-day throwing workshops for those who want to advance their craft on a regular basis.

Though the form and glaze of each object are what one notes immediately, each piece also carries a deep sense of place. The clay is hand-dug in Abiquiu, New Mexico–a daring proposition because the consistency can vary. Helmstadter likes the variable nature of local clay, and works with it to release the forms he envisions. In his words, “I get a lot of inspiration from the vast empty Northern New Mexico landscape – the restrained warm color, the bigness of form, the presence of the distant past.”

Helmstadter has a varied past himself–originally a student of Philosophy and French, he has worked as a river guide, outdoor educator and a classroom English teacher before finding himself in the middle of a thriving artistic career.

Each piece is fully functional: dishwasher-safe; microwave-safe; oven-safe and food-safe. Green River Pottery is designed to complement everyday living, but can easily stand alone as art forms. Visit www.greenriverpottery.com or shop in-person at their location, 1710 Lena Street (open most days 9-5).