TRENDS Diary: North Boulder Ceramics Artist Throws Scavenger Hunt For Neighbors

Ceramics artist Dara Schuman works in her new home studio.

TRENDS Diary, a project of the Community Foundation of Boulder County, is a place for Boulder County residents of all ages to share personal experiences that relate to a pressing community need. The focus, for now, is on our shared need to connect and solve problems, despite the increased isolation we’re all experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Dear TRENDS Diary,

Like most humans, I’m a creature of habit. I walk the same path and often overlook what lies beyond my daily routine. But there’s so much more to explore in Boulder.

When I saw the grants for the COVID Work Project, it was initially hard for me to figure out what to do because pottery cannot be displayed like a mural to be seen by all in an outdoor setting. How can I get the community involved and still do the art I love? I brainstormed and came up with the idea of a ceramics scavenger hunt.

I’m making 10-15 wheel-thrown ceramic pieces of varying forms. Every day, I’ll hide one in my neighborhood by Ideal Market and post little clues as to where they are on my Instagram, @daraschumanceramics.

I am working on this project for two reasons: To incentivize people to explore their neighborhoods, to get people to walk a different path while still social distancing, and to share ceramic pieces with others in my community. Each piece will be unique and bring a little joy and beauty to the houses of my fellow neighbors. In placing the pieces, it allows me to explore as well.

COVID has forced me to innovate. I usually work out of the community studio provided by the Boulder Pottery Lab. Ceramics requires space and expensive materials and equipment. When the Pottery Lab temporarily closed, I didn’t have those.

Thankfully, my grandparents gifted me a pottery wheel and I recently saved enough money to buy a used kiln. So now I am able to make my art independently from start to finish. These pieces I make for the Work Project are going to be the first pieces I make in my own home studio.

– Dara Schuman, as told to Shay Castle