The Story Behind Our Beautiful Bowls

Beginnings—Peggy Potter

In the late 1980’s, in a small town in central Vermont, Peggy Potter began creating her luminous salad bowls. Turned from a solid piece of maple, each bowl was carefully hand-painted with vibrant colors, and sealed to make a completely functional work of art. As popularity and demand for the bowls increased, Potter launched the Peggy Potter Bowl Company. The bowls became, among other things, a signature wedding gift; all who received one treasured it. Potter painted continuously, refining her craft, and the business took off. Eventually she was selling the bowls in stores and galleries across the country.

The Next Generation—Lea Tyler

Lea Tyler had grown up in Vermont alongside the Potter family, and had worked for the company off and on throughout her teen and college years. Upon her college graduation, she was awarded residencies at Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Carbondale Clay Center, both in Colorado. Lea resided in Colorado until 2010 when she returned to her home State of Vermont.

It was fortuitous timing, as Tyler was appearing back in her home town just as Potter began to entertain thoughts of retirement. Peggy offered her young friend the opportunity to take over the bowl business, and the two reached a working agreement. Tyler began training under Potter, and was soon creating the next generation of Peggy Potter Bowls.

When, in 2011, Lea made a more permanent move back to Colorado, she brought her paints, brushes and beautiful bowls with her. She re-named the business tylerWARE, and quickly became a familiar face at the local markets in Aspen and Vail. Tyler’s cheerful smile and ability to connect easily with people, along with her attention to every artistic detail, made her assortment of richly‐hued, high quality hardwood bowls a sought-out commodity in the Colorado Mountains. Lea faithfully replicated many of Potter’s original designs while adding some designs of her own, and for six years, continued to sell the now well-known bowls in Colorado and Vermont and to select artist’s galleries across the Country.

An Old Brush, A New Face—Rebecca Wilson

In the summer of 2016, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a Colorado Native began to feel a tug. It was time for Rebecca to pull up stakes. After more than a decade of living in the midst of the gently rolling hills and deciduous woods of Central Virginia, it became important to make the West home once again.

“I have always loved my adult children, and tried to visit them often. But when my children, (in Colorado and California) kept having these irresistibly cute little grandchildren, I knew I had to live closer. They grow up too fast! There was no other good answer. Here I am.”

“I took one step at a time. I decided to land in Carbondale because of its small town feel, the valuable work ethic of a ranching and farming community, its comparatively lower altitude, all the outdoor activities, and of course, for its beauty. It took me a few months to settle in, and then it was time to seek out a livelihood.”

Again, the timing was right. Lea Tyler had recently made the decision to pursue some of her other artistic passions, and tylerWARE was being readied for transition. A chance conversation led to a meeting between Lea and Rebecca, and within weeks the arrangements were made.

“This form of creativity fits my skill set beautifully. With a background in art, sculpture and design, I think I have been preparing all along to do just this. I love to paint, I love to combine colors, and I especially love to think about families and friends enjoying a meal using something I have made,” she reflects.

Rebecca decided that the next generation of Peggy Potter Bowls will be produced under the brand name Cobalt & Curry.

“Despite the changes in ownership, and the change of name, I think people who know the bowls will be amazed at the continuity in the quality and beauty in what is being produced. Peggy trained Lea directly and Lea trained me directly. The bowls are still precisely turned from single log, high quality American hardwood— the best quality wooden bowl you can find. The process is painstaking… there are at least 25 steps in completing one bowl. Amazingly, Lea has turned over a set of brushes to me that she has cared for over the years, which originally belonged to Peggy. And Peggy Potter’s original “Wedding Bowl”, among others, is still being carefully painted for the current generation to enjoy using at their own family gatherings.”

Rebecca continues, “These bowls are so beautiful! I’m really honored and feel very blessed to be able to carry on this 30-plus year tradition. I’m told there are people who are still using their original Peggy Potter bowls on an almost daily basis. I want someone, thirty years from now, to be able to say the same about the bowl I will start painting tomorrow.”