Anne Huttrer's dinnerware, depicting
generations of family memories in the Alps, testifies to the fact that the value of some possessions isn't determined by their price tag, but rather by their emotional weight. Huttrer, a longtime Vail local, inherited 40 leather-bound photo albums belonging to her Austrian grandparents, Fritz and Lilly, in 1997. "The albums were little works of art, with beautiful fabric and fragile onionskin paper between the sepia-toned photos," Huttrer says. Laid out in chronological order, they portray decades of Fritz and Lilly's life together, illustrating jaunts with friends and family on craggy mountainsides and ski trails in the Alps.
Finding encouragement from her friends and high demand from local interior designers, Huttrer first enlarged, matted and framed more than 500 of the images, selling them to local lodges and businesses, such as the Vail Athletic Club. In 2001, a design trend toward matching kitchen tiles to plate patterns inspired Huttrer's foray into dinnerware. She pioneered a complex digitizing process to transfer the original images onto ceramics. She then found a manufacturer (the same one used by Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma) to produce the line. Of her first 7,500-piece order, more than a third was immediately snatched up by local retail shops; if their popularity continues, Huttrer will expand her collection with more images.
The WinterLilly line features six photos that chronicle the couple's treks through the hut systems of Austria, Switzerland and Italy during the late 1920s and early '30s. The images are available on mugs, plates, platters and pasta bowls. And whether you buy them for art's sake or for eating's sake, they'll be the talk of the table.
Prices range from $14 for a mug to $150 for a square platter. For shop locations, contact Huttrer at 970-476-5410.