DanyelleArt is not all about pretty decorations. Making art that is used in everyday life is one of Danyelle Butler’s main focuses.

“Functionality,” Butler said. “I want people to be able to use (the pieces) every day and have them serve the purpose they were intended for. “

Butler is a 26-year-old ceramics artist based in Greeley.

A lot goes into making usable ceramic dishes, Butler said. For example, when making a mug, she said she considers if the top lip of the mug is smooth enough for someone to drink from, if it’s sturdy enough to withstand regular washing and if someone’s fingers will fit comfortably in the handle.

“I think that’s what’s special about ceramics,” she said. “It’s an art form that people interact with on a personal level.”

She makes mugs, plates, serving dishes and other items on request.

Butler said it’s important to make her pieces “comfortable” for people.

“They wrap their hands around it,” she said. “They put their lips on it. They put it on their dinner tables and eat from it.”

She said she learned those and other keys to making successful artwork at University of Northern Colorado from Professor Mike Lemke.

Butler also found her general passion for ceramics at UNC.

“I took a class for my 3D art credit when I was a junior and I fell in love with it,” she said. “I don’t know what happened inside of me.”

When she started, Butler said she knew right away this was something she wanted to be part of long term.

“There’s this culture of people who do clay and that’s all they do,” she said. “Their lives revolve around clay and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

So Butler pursued her passion.

After two years focusing on ceramics at UNC, Butler went out into the world to try her hand at her chosen craft.

After marrying fellow artist, Jared, in 2011, the two moved into a house in Severance to do an art residency with Art Haus.

The couple lived in the small bungalow for three years and Butler worked on growing her ceramics skills while Jared taught art classes at University High School in Greeley. When they left the residency program, they took the name with them, dubbing their business Art Haus Ceramics.

Butler has spent the years since trying to grow her business. She sells both hers and Jared’s art on the Art Haus Ceramics Betsy webpage and Butler is part of the Madison and Main Art Gallery collective.

“I wanted to exhibit my work in town somewhere that people could come in and see it,” she said.

The most important thing is to just keep setting goals. Last year she wanted to go to twice as many craft shows as she had in 2013, and she did. In 2013, she wanted to double her Etsy sales from 2012, and she almost did.

For the most part, Butler does work on an as-ordered basis, creating custom pieces. She loves that her art makes people happy.

She has held a second job waiting tables to support her passion, but she said that’s just part of the artist gig. Plus Butler is a night owl, so she gets plenty of studio time.

“When I’m not making custom work, my favorite thing is to just sit down and make something for me,” she said. “Something fun and whimsical.”

That time allows her to push herself and try new things, she said.

“We’re always trying to keep it fresh so that the people who want to collect our work can add something new and different to their collection,” she said.

She said those regulars are really important to her, but so are the other artists in Greeley.

“Some of our most fun and successful shows have been in Greeley,” Butler said. “I think there’s really a strong community of artists here.”

Butler plans to stay in Greeley for the time being because she said the art scene is on the cusp of something great.

“Greeley is gaining momentum as far as arts go,” she said. “We’re at the cusp of people wanting to come to downtown Greeley for art.”

 from the Greeley Tribune