Thornton woman fosters love of ceramics

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Hundreds of ceramics mold blocks line the entrance of A Creative Corner and Friends on Pearl Street in Thornton, where owner Zandra Shaver opens her studio and classroom to anyone who has a desire to learn.

“We teach people whatever they want to learn here,” Shaver said as she applied a layer of green glaze to a ceramic plate made by a student group from the Arapahoe House in Thornton. “We do a little bit of everything in here, even though the main focus is ceramics. If you come in here and you say, ‘I want to learn how to sew an apron,’ we’ll teach you that.”

Shaver, 65, said she decided to open her shop nearly 14 years ago at 8550 Pearl St., so that people from all walks of life can find an outlet — it is a place that, she says, is molded from a foundation of faith and a love of art.

“I love people,” Shaver said. “This is a Christian shop, so we treat everyone respectfully and with kindness just like we’d like to be treated. Teaching is a joy because you can share your knowledge with somebody who many not know anything about ceramics.”

Shaver said she first began to learn about the art of ceramics in high school, where she learned how to make vases and other household objects. She then pursued it as a hobby nearly 25 years ago, when she decided to pour and paint ceramic products with a friend, Kathy Walsh, who had a wholesale business.

“I just began taking every class I could get my hands on,” Shaver said. “The more classes I took, the more I decided that I wanted to share the exciting things that were going on with other people.”

As she continued to pursue a variety of construction-related jobs, including contracting, cleaning, painting and wallpapering, Shaver later worked with a friend named Barb, who owned a shop called Cottage Ceramics.

Shaver said her friend later kicked her out of the business one day and encouraged her to open her own shop. It was a move that, Shaver said, happened as “a leap of faith” in 1999 after she quit her job at a junkyard.

On most days, Shaver can be found teaching her craft to some of her many students - whom she fondly calls “her kids” — or providing her services to several local-area non-profits, including the Senior Resource Center.

Unlike some craft stores that create set hours for certain classes, Shaver said she charges $6 for any one of her classes and holds them every day the store is open.

“I hated it when I was off from work and wanted to do something but couldn’t go because it wasn’t class time,” Shaver said. “I promised myself that I would never do that to my clients. If they want to come at 10 a.m. and stay till 9 p.m., they can do that.”

One of her students, Lafayette resident Gay Kinkade, said she began shopping at Shaver’s store nearly 14 years ago but officially became a student several years later after a local senior center in Boulder closed their doors.

“It’s so easy to lose yourself in what you’re doing,” Kinkade said as she applied fresh paint to a garden gnome mold. “If you have any problems, you forget them. It’s kind of like going to Disneyland, where you can forget about the world.”

For more information about A Creative Corner and Friends, contact Zandra Shaver at: 303-287-5271.

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