Tara Miller Claywork consists of the husband-wife team of Sam Brown and Tara Miller. Tara has been playing and working with clay since 1972; Sam since the two were married in 1984.
Tara does all of the work on the potter's wheel, including hand building with altered wheel-thrown forms, brushwork and other surface treatment. Sam does most of the clay preparation, hand building (especially the coil lattice fruit baskets), stencil work and other surface treatment. Although special pieces may be made in raku, earthenware, or porcelain, the main body of their work is in a light bodied stoneware, hand formed from the wet clay, decorated with pigmented slips (engobes) and glazes, and fired to cone 9-10 with propane. They work both collaboratively and individually, especially glazing work the other predominately made. Most pieces are functional and under 20 inches. The hand building skills of the two give their work a striking uniqueness.
Sam's educational background is in zoology, natural resources, and recreation. He was employed by the National Park Service as a back country ranger for several years. Thus, he brings to the claywork an interest in subjects of wildlife and outdoor activities, science and geometry.
Tara's educational background is in literature, education, and pottery. Her main ceramic education has come from taking courses at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, Colorado, with such masters as Paul Soldner, John Glick, and Victor Babu. She was once employed as a high school literature teacher, is a poet as well as a potter, and thus brings to the claywork an interest in broad cultural and human issues as well as abstract forms.
Both have traveled in Central and South America, and have been influenced strongly by the cultures, crafts, lifestyles, and environments experienced in traveling. The great variety in their pottery derives from harmony and tension of contrasting skills and interests coming together in collaboration.
They are solar oven experts and have taught construction and use of passive solar cookers in Peru and in Western Colorado. They are committed to helping make a world in which human beings live lightly upon the earth, respecting earth's limits and long term health. They’ve received the E-Town Award and the Smart Shelter Award for this work.
They have shown at various group invitational shows including the Aspen Art Museum in Aspen, 20 and More at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts in Grand Junction, Women's Work at Gallery Connections in Hotchkiss, Objects of Desire in Cinncinnati, Ohio, and Harvest Festival Art Show in Paonia, Colorado where they won the Reader’s Choice award, as well as numerous quality juried Arts and Crafts Fairs. Historic examples of these fairs include The Estes Park Art in the Park, Paonia’s Cherry Days, Carbondale Mountain Fair, and Ridgway Arts and Crafts Rendezvous, Golden Fine Arts Festival in Colorado, , and Santa Fe Fiesta in New Mexico.
Their studio is located at their home one mile south of Paonia, near the West Elk Wilderness, in Western Colorado.