Thea Tenenbaum and Raffaele (Lele) Malferrari have been making pottery together for over 38 years. Thea, a native of Boulder, Colorado, studied studio ceramics at Harrow School of Art and Technology in London, where she received her diploma in 1977. Lele is an entirely self-taught artist who grew up in Italy surrounded by many of the forms and colors that he uses in his ceramic designs. Each year Thea and Lele spend several months in their house in the Appenines between Bologna and Florence and invariably come away rested and inspired.
Their studio is in an old goat barn next to the chickens and the big biodynamic garden on the communal farm where they live, ten minutes outside Boulder, where they raised their two children.
Their son Emiliano, 39, is currently living in London where he and Laurie Britton Newell are raising their two daughters, eight-year old Alba and two-year old Lina. After experimenting with clay sculpture and glass-blowing, he currently works as an artist in custom cabinetry and wood-working (www.emilianomalferrari.com) and loves the cultural life and diversity of London. Gelsomina, 35, lives on a farm on N.65th St outside Longmont with her husband Neal Ritter, their 4-year old son Lutreo, 15-month old daughter Fianna and lots of cows, pigs and chickens.They teach in the school they co-founded called Laughing Coyote Project (www.laughingcoyoteproject.org) and are mastering biodynamic gardening, slow-food cooking, self-sufficient farming, with time for singing and folk-dancing.
For nearly 50 years, Thea (later joined by Lele) has been a member of the Boulder Arts and Crafts Cooperative on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, the oldest cooperative in Colorado. The hand-thrown, hand-decorated, Italian style terracotta they make and sell there is lead-less and dishwasher and food-safe, though microwave is not recommended. Their tile installations in the bathrooms and kitchens of many Boulder homes also include Italian landscapes, whimsical birds, animals or custom-ordered designs.
Thea and Lele hope that functional, cheerful pottery encourages people to cook good meals for their families and friends to share together. They welcome visitors to their studio and to enjoy a cup of tea under the grapevines. Call 303-449-4848 for directions.