Collection: West Magoon and Tana Libolt

Tana Libolt and West Magoon

Bio - The artists of Muddy Mountain Pottery, West Magoon and Tana Libolt, are Wyoming natives who share a studio and business in the mountain town of Centennial, Wyoming, where they have also built their own Earthship, a passive-solar home with walls made of earth-packed tires.
West Magoon grew up on a ranch originally established by his grandfather, the Magoon Ranch outside Lusk, Wyoming. West studied art at Northwest Community College and the University of Wyoming. He has worked as a graphic artist and photographer for more than 35 years, specializing in several antique photographic methods, including gum dichromate.
His photographs have appeared in many regional shows and are in the permanent collections of several art museums.
West has been a potter and sculptor since 1998. He's been intrigued by looking at ancient pottery and finally understanding how connected the forms are to each pot's special function. These include pots that resist sloshing and balance in the hand and wine bowls and mugs that are specially shaped to contain the dregs. He applies these and other principles to all of his own pots.
West's Raku Ray Gun sculptures come out of a life-long love of science fiction and are informed by intricate model making and ships in bottles he created as a child. The visual roots he draws on include sci-fi magazine covers from the 50's and the styling cues from 50's automobiles.
Tana Libolt grew up in Wyoming and Utah and her first teacher was her father, Ron Libolt, original proprietor of Muddy Mountain Pottery. Tana watched her father and other artists create their work in and around Ron’s pottery shop in Jackson, Wyoming and later in his studio on the UW campus in Laramie, as he pursued a master’s degree in Fine Art/ceramics. Ron enjoyed making sculpture that challenged the viewer in a humorous way, making anthropomorphic pots incorporating human arms and legs.
One summer Tana and her sister Jamie were paid a quarter a piece for clay arms and legs they made in their father’s molds, for use on a series of sculptures he worked on. This led both girls to pursue their own sculptural forms and learn how to combine wheel-thrown forms with mold-made pieces.
Later, after an apprenticeship to a glass-blower in New York and a brief fling with a career as a street musician in Dublin, Ireland, Tana returned to Laramie and the University of Wyoming to study art.
Her pots often incorporate stamped designs, made with clay stamps she creates that use steampunk-style imagery or designs inspired by Art Nouveau and Celtic knotwork. Her ideal as a potter is to create objects that express more than the sum of their materials and take on a magical life of their own.

Statement - Muddy Mountain Pottery is a partnership between artists Tana Libolt and West Magoon. Each design and make their own pots, pursuing their own visual lines of inquiry, while also helping to mold the ideas of the other.
After working together in the pottery studio for more than 25 years, the final forms made by each potter emerge from a symbiotic soup of free-flowing ideas, mutual inspiration, advice, critique and interdependent creative flashes.
Pottery shapes are guided by the function of each pot and then pushed further, to achieve an aesthetic whole that combines the delight of an object that serves its function extremely well, with a design that the eye wants to explore.
Color is a crucial part of the finished pot and the development and use of a range of glazes has been an ongoing part of work done in the studio. Both potters revel in bright colors and unusual combinations and the layering of many glazes has led to an ongoing game one could call Chasing Iridescence.
Both potters are fascinated by ancient and historic pottery forms and strive to create pots that function as objects of art that can be held and used, giving a feeling of delight to every-day activities.
West and Tana are also guided by the creative spirit of Tana’s father, Ron Libolt, original proprietor of Muddy Mountain Pottery. Ron’s sculpture often commented on the absurd and mystical aspects of human existence, exemplified by a jar lifting its own lid to reach inside.

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