Artist Spotlight: Ceramics teacher Robbie Breaux loves to share her craft
When Robbie Breaux’s husband, Chuck, signed her up for a ceramics course at Grand Junction’s Art Center 11 years ago, she knew she found her calling.
“It’s very calming, and you just focus on what you’re doing with the clay,” Breaux said. “The outside world goes away while you’re sitting at the wheel. It’s very centering.”
From there, the energetic, friendly 58-year-old former pharmacist (and math major in college) began a journey that changed her life.
“I’ve taken every (ceramics class) session since,” Breaux said, and now she’s an Art Center instructor. “I just started teaching my first class — beginner and intermediate ceramics on Thursday mornings.”
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The eight-week session is full, and Breaux said she loves it.
“I hope to continue to teach,” she said. “I really enjoy sharing what I know.”
That’s because Breaux thrives off the artistic community based at The Art Center, located at 1803 N. 7th St., in Grand Junction. She can be found there most days, making vases, platters, bowls, plates, “secret-keeper” boxes, and the list goes on. Her work lines the walls of The Art Center’s ceramics studio, and she often has up to four projects in the works all at once.
“I enjoy teaching, always have,” she said. “It’s fun to tell and show others how to do something and see them learn and get it. It’s really rewarding.”
According to The Art Center’s Executive Director Camille Silverman, Breaux is a great teacher not only because of her finely tuned skills, but also because “she shares so much.”
Breaux is not a solitary artist, as some creative people tend to be, Silverman continued. Rather, her craft thrives when combined with other people’s.
“Ceramics is more community based; they gather around the kiln,” she said. “Robbie gives so much to the community.”
Silverman added that Breaux is extremely methodical in how she approaches her work, along with how she works with others on The Art Center’s board of directors, of which she’s president. The ceramics instructor is also secretary of The Art Center Foundation — a separate organization from The Art Center, with a mission of support.
“That’s how she’s able to grow her work, because she’s so interested in everything — from surface design to firing to how the wheel works,” Silverman noted. “(Breaux) is good with technique, and her work grows pretty rapidly.”
When Breaux isn’t at The Art Center, she can be found at her home in Pollock Canyon, 20 miles west of Grand Junction, south of Loma.
“We live in a rock house,” Breaux said, in an area that resembles the Colorado National Monument. “It’s built into the rocks; you blast holes into the rock and build the house into it. It’s pretty cool.”
Breaux and her husband have lived in the Grand Valley for 17 years; before that they lived in Alabama.
“We just kind of discovered Grand Junction,” she explained, and they sought to make it their home.
Chuck, a pediatric surgeon, works at St. Mary’s Hospital, leading the Pediatric Specialty Clinic.
“When we moved here, I was his office manager,” Breaux said. “I retired from that last June. I spent 17 years there,” building the clinic into what it is today. “I’m very proud of having done it, and it continues on.
“I’m glad to be here.”
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Whether in the sky or intensive care unit, Dan LeVan routinely cared for sick or injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces.