Carbondale Clay Center auction to benefit Angus Graham Memorial Scholarship Fund | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale Clay Center auction to benefit Angus Graham Memorial Scholarship Fund

Carla Jean Whitley
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Angus Graham, 35, died in a single-car crash in southwest Oregon on Aug. 25. He began teaching at the Aspen Skiing Co. in 2008 and quickly became well-respected in the school.

Angus Graham saw tea as a ritual. It wasn't just a beverage he consumed in solitude, and it wasn't just about the flavors of the drink. Tea was an opportunity to sit down and connect with another person.

That idea was reflected in his pottery. In an artist statement, the late Graham wrote, "Pots are never meant to be alone. They are always accompanied by food, drink, flowers, or humans. Thus I want my pots to never overpower a situation they are in."

Graham's spirit is the inspiration for a silent auction hosted by Carbondale Clay Center, where he taught. Graham died in a car wreck in August, and his loved ones created the Angus Graham Memorial Scholarship Fund in his memory.

Although he's gone, Graham also will be present in much of the art sold at the event. Many of Graham's teachers, students and peers used his tools to create the work, whose sale will support students at the clay center.

The idea originated with Studio for Art + Works owner Alleghany Meadows, a mentor and friend of Graham's for the past 10 years. After the 35-year-old's death, Meadows was responsible for breaking down Graham's studio.

"I kept having the feeling that he was going to be right back," Meadows recalled.

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Graham's 150 or so tools were all left in just the right place, as though their meticulously organized owner would soon put them to work.

"What happens to the questions he was asking in his studio? The way he was asking these questions was through his heart and his mind and his hand," Meadows said. "The tools were extensions of his hands, and the way he touched the clay was often through these different tools."

Meadows and the Clay Center sent the tools out to Graham's friends, accompanied by an invitation to contribute to the auction. There was no requirement to do so, but the Clay Center received dozens of works in response.

"He helped inspire us to live to our fullest potential. I think the reason to carry on his legacy is because we all need it," Meadows said. "If we can be open to other people and newness and new possibilities, it becomes a very different world."

Meadows used one of Graham's scratching tools to construct his auction piece. Such tools are used to score clay before joining two pieces together — an appropriate metaphor, perhaps, since Graham was so focused on human connection. Meadows' resulting art likewise reflects his friend's legacy.

It's a teapot.

Angus Graham Memorial Scholarship Silent Auction

Friday, 5-7:30 p.m. Angus Graham’s influence stretched across the nation, and this auction includes work from many of the artists who loved him. The silent auction event will be accompanied by hors d’oeuvres from Field 2 Fork and music by Pearl & Wood. The scholarship fund, formed by Carbondale Clay Center, will provide for the education of future artists.

201A Main St., Carbondale | Free | 963-2529 | carbondaleclay.org