Theo Helmstadter

Theo Helmstadter


Green River Pottery

Sante Fe, NM USA

It’s not something people tell you when you’re in high school: You’re going to come up with a plan, but then you’re probably going to have to come up with another plan after that!


By Roadtrip Nation

Theo Helmstadter


My road in life took a while to figure out.
I was born and raised in Ithaca, New York.
I gravitated toward the creative arts and making things from a young age—I began learning how to make pottery when I was 13 years old.
At the time, I didn’t see a future for myself in pottery or the creative arts, so I pursued something that I thought was the “right path” instead.
Attended Oberlin College, where I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in English and music.
Moved to Sante Fe, New Mexico, where I worked as an English teacher for several years.
I knew deep down that being a teacher wasn’t something I was meant to be doing, so I found myself rediscovering my love of pottery.
In 1998, I opened my ceramics studio Green River Pottery in Sante Fe, New Mexico, where I specialize in making reduction-fired stoneware and teaching pottery classes.
Keep following my journey



I make reduction-fired stoneware and teach pottery classes.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Teaching / Mentoring

Day to Day

I make reduction-fired stoneware—mostly large functional forms. I love the artisanal challenge of making a really good ceramic piece—one that gets reached for and used. I also love the earthy, ancient, feel of stoneware clay as a raw material. My work is a collaboration with the earth. Together we strive for beauty.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Take the leap! If you want to change or do something different, then you can't overthink it. Just do it.


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I don't want to help people and I just want to hide in my own little world."

Challenges I Overcame

Career Change

Interviewed By



Changing careers and reinventing your path