May 2, 2000
By Katharhynn Heidelberg
Hands in moist earth, moving, coaxing, shaping ... creating. This is the potter’s life, and beginning May 20, Cortez will have a new business crafted around it.
Clay Mesa, owned and operated by Lesli Diane and Richard St. John, offers residents and visitors unique wares, awash with brilliant colors.
The business, located downtown at 29 E. Main (next door to Nu-Way), features original clay artwork — slab and coil pottery — created and fired on-site. The pieces, which are sold throughout the West, evoke the feeling and the landscape of the Southwest. The vivid colors are reminiscent of old Mexico, and can "lead the viewer to a whole lot of different places," according to Diane.
"While we try to keep the work grounded to a strong southwestern aesthetic, we use our own designs," the artists announced in their mission statement. According to the statement, Diane uses bird motifs, while St. John incorporates the geometric patterns found in Anasazi pottery and Navajo textiles.
Diane and St. John have 30 years of experience in potting, learned in Wichita, Kansas, where St. John was a university professor. St. John has a master’s degree in potting, and Diane learned from him.
The two relocated from Wichita, following their dream, which according to Diane has "always been to make a living making art ... especially when people told us we couldn’t."
Clay Mesa will be open from 4 to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, making it one of the few downtown businesses open for late night shoppers. Presently, Clay Mesa will be open on a seasonal basis, through the latter part of October, with a short stint planned for the Christmas season as well.