‘Shaped for a purpose’: Pattullo finds home for ceramics studio in Aurora’s Jubilee

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AURORA | Erin Pattullo’s path to a clay-covered garage in north Aurora started about 7,000 miles, dozens of cups of coffee and three college majors ago.

For five weeks last summer, Pattullo worked in Yantai, China, a coastal city of about 7 million people located in the Shandong province between Shanghai and Beijing. She helped take photographs and orchestrate activities for the California-based nonprofit organization Bring Me Hope, which provides summer camps and other related programs for Chinese orphans.

Pattullo said that the roughly monthlong trip was one of the most difficult, yet rewarding experiences of her life.

“It really took a toll on my heart and made me question a lot of things,” Pattullo said of her time in China. “And I needed a lot of processing time when I came back.”

In an attempt to digest her experiences in Yantai, Pattullo turned to the potter’s wheel — a tool she had become increasingly familiar with as a part of her studies at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Lakewood.

“I like to process a lot while I’m working, and I’m able to think about a lot of things,” she said. “So (ceramics) was just one of those things that I did a lot because I needed to.”

Now, about one year and several serendipitous conversations later, Pattullo, 20, is one of the newest — and youngest — resident artists at Jubilee Roasting Company at 1452 Kenton St. in Aurora.

Following her return from China, those months of throwing pots, mugs and plates helped Pattullo hone her skills and galvanized her passion for the medium. That evolution culminated in her decision earlier this year to permanently cease her studies at RMCAD — where she moved from concentrating on photography to painting to ceramics — in an effort to focus on her pottery and new creative venture, Mortar and Stone.

“Mortar holds things together, and stone, like in the English definition, is ‘sediment that’s shaped for a purpose,’” Pattullo said of her new artistic outfit. “I believe people are shaped for a purpose, they should be together and there should be something that holds them together.”

The majority of Pattullo’s work is comprised of tableware, such as mugs, plates and bowls, which she sells at various coffee shops and boutiques around the Denver metro area. To date, she’s worked with Svper Ordinary, which is housed within The Source in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, Huckleberry Roasters and others.

“A lot of coffee shops in Denver are specifically designed to be very minimalistic and are looking for certain aesthetics for their shop,” Pattullo said. “I want to be able to offer that to them with a ceramic piece.”

At the heart of the young ceramicist’s work is a desire to add intentionality and purpose to her pieces and the lives of others. That’s a mission she said has been sculpted since her childhood in Longview, Texas.

“I grew up in a home where we had a TV at our dinner table, and I hated it,” she said. “I just want things to be more intentional.”

Pattullo first got connected with Peter Wanberg, founder of Jubilee, earlier this summer, after meeting with a fellow creative and mutual acquaintance. She moved into her space in the back of the coffee shop nearly two months ago following the arrival of longtime Aurora creative Walt Weinberg, a potter who moved to Jubilee after shuttering his own studio, Sunrise Artworks on Florence Street, earlier this year.

“Most all the people are young and energetic, and I’m old and slower, so it’s a great atmosphere for me to be in,” Weinberg said. “Peter’s really got a great place there. It’s full of really talented artists and it’s great to share the space with Erin and everyone.”

Though several decades Weinberg’s junior, Pattullo said that she relishes the chance to be around the venerable artist.

“Our work is very different; he’s an older style potter and he’s more traditional,” she said. “I love looking at our shelves (of work at Jubilee) and seeing that we are totally different as people. But it’s awesome. I love that I get to be around a traditional potter on a daily basis.”

Weinberg echoed Pattullo’s appreciation for the differences in the two ceramicist’s work.

“That’s what art is: Your idea, your feelings, your story, and they’re always going to be different” he said. “Erin’s got some handles on her mugs that I really like and are much different from many I’ve seen. When you’re doing art, you develop your own style, and that’s the really great thing about it.”