The lively, geometrically structured and eye-catching work of the artist Curt Hammerly goes well beyond the average ceramic.
From layered glazes with rich magenta, shimmering green tones and deep indigos to coffee mugs whose tactile surfaces demand to be touched, his cross-border works are among the most imaginative within the Front Range.
At this time of year, his kiln – in his Broomfield studio – stays hot, and Christmas orders are pouring in from the region and from fans across the country and abroad.
With 200,000 followers on his Hammerly Ceramics Instagram page, its reach has become widespread and it is easy to see why.
From introducing people to his process to showcasing inspired collaborations, his social media content offers people an intimate glimpse into the life of a working artist.
Whether he’s making parts by hand or using the magical technology of a 3D printer, the end result always delivers a wow factor.
In addition to mugs, he also makes ornaments, pipes, plant holders, astronaut figures and detailed framed photographs of his work can be found on his website.
He even teamed up with Casetify to create phone cases whose color palette is similar to that of his multicolored glazes on porcelain.
Hammerly’s path to ceramics came after a life-changing accident 10 years ago. While riding a bike, he was hit by a delivery truck, resulting in a number of injuries, including seven broken ribs, a broken neck, a collapsed lung, and ruptured spleen, kidney and liver.
Time in intensive care followed, grueling days of physical rehab, and months in a medical halo. Since he couldn’t do a lot of physical activity, he decided to dig into ceramics and take some classes at the Boulder Potters’ Guild.
What started as a simple hobby has grown into a thriving company that continues to grow.
A former technology manager for the University of Colorado’s environmental design department is now thriving as a full-time artist.
We caught up with the Colorado native to learn more about his love for the art form and his goals for 2022.
Kalene McCort: Really love the unique shapes and shades of your work. How is your process? Do you often sketch ideas for future projects or are the pieces developing organically in the moment?
Curt Hammerly: In the beginning I sketched a lot. These days I have a lot more ideas to work on than I have time, so it’s more of a priority system to get down the list. I also sketch in 3D modeling software these days, which works better for my ideas than it does on paper.
KM: Artistically, from whom and what would you be currently inspired by?
CH: Right now, I find most of the inspiration from the process itself. I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the combination of clay and technology. Far too many ideas to pursue and too little time.
KM: I know this is your busiest time of year. How many orders do you think you would fill a week and do you have top sellers?
CH: Right now is the craziest Christmas time I’ve had. We placed over 1,000 orders in November, which is almost three times a normal month. Top sellers are always coffee mugs in all my different designs and colors. Can’t seem to do enough.
KM: What do you particularly like about the medium tone?
CH: We take bags of powdered clay in through the back door and send finished, durable china pieces to the front. What has been most satisfying to me is that I can essentially mold mud into any shape I can think of, and the resulting product can far outlast my life.
KM: Any goals for 2022, either personal or professional, that you would like to achieve?
CH: The main goal for 2021 was to make sure the business continued to thrive and had a baby in the family in February. The goals for 2022 have more to do with finding a healthy work-life balance and at the same time pushing my limits artistically. I also have a very big secret project that will finally hit the market in January that could change the future of Hammerly Ceramics very much.