Pick up the Clay
The origins of Colorado Windsongs go back to a single Milwaukee beat cop in the late 1950s. After suffering career-ending wounds in the line of duty, Ken Stanelle turned to pottery as a part of his extensive physical rehabilitation.
What started as a hobby quickly grew into a personal passion. Ken and his wife Shirley moved to Pueblo West, Colorado and founded SK Potteries, where Ken would later teach others to "pick up the clay" when faced with life's challenges.
After experimenting with different ceramic blends, Ken and Shirley stumbled upon a mixture that - when fired - produced a distinct ring instead of the usual "clunk" of stoneware on stoneware. Without thinking much of it, Ken fired some pieces and started making mobile-style chimes to give away to his employees' children.
The idea took off and the chimes were refined for adults. Since their inception, tens of thousands have been sold with a variety of styles and twists. Long after Ken's death, his family has continued his legacy through their art, generosity, and a commitment to Pick Up The Clay no matter how hard things get.
Artisan David Stanelle began following in his father's footsteps at age 12 and has continued to do so ever since. Whether creating rugged stoneware pottery, sculpting custom pieces, or constructing the business' signature wind chimes, David has created artistic concepts inspired by simplicity, playfulness, and a uniquely rustic aesthetic for over 40 years.
The philosophy behind our work is that every product should possess a real feeling of genuineness - no mass-production, no cutting corners. Even pieces that are casted are each cleaned, trimmed, stained, and glazed by hand so that no two are truly alike. Every product is made by one person using only raw materials; nothing is imported, pre-made, or manufactured outside of the Colorado Windsongs studio.
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Like most people, we're proud of our roots - when you're creating something that you've put your heart into, it's important for people to know where it came from.
Read on to see what started the company behind the product, and how our philosophy drives everything we do.