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Birth of Northwest Clay Club

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#1 Brian Reed

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:39 AM

I have been trying to figure out how I start a Clay Club inmy area. There are plenty of potters andin fact there is an existing Clay Association. The Clay Association is pretty big and seems to fill a role for somepeople. They charge dues and have officers and even meet from time totime. I joined and I have talked withsome of the members, and I do not want to stereotype or offend, but they wereall at or near their golden years. They likedto tell me about how it used to be and how things were, but not much about whatwas happening and what they are currently doing.

This made me take a look at “Associations” like this and I cameto the conclusion that perhaps these types of organizations have out livedtheir usefulness. I believe that peoplewant belonging and gathering, not organizations and associations. I want to associate with people not belong toan association. I want to get togetherand learn collectively not pay dues and have meetings. If the explosion of online social media hastaught us anything it is that we do not need nor seek charters andorganizations, we want to socialize and belong.

I seek a group of potters that want to gather, andcollectively learn from each other, not pay dues and collectively belong to anorganization. I do not even want to haveofficial membership roles or officers in my new club. I do not need a document to tell us how we operate,or guide us through our decision making process. We need to look at why we exist as a groupand spend our time on those things. Wedo not meet to collect money, or account for how it was spent. We do not meet to write documents of how wewill interact with each other. We do notmeet to sit in chairs and talk about our organization and how we will grow ourranks. Think about all the “things” thatyou must do for an organization to survive as a group; how many of those thingsare activities that you want to do? Isuspect that 90% of those efforts are organizational and 10% are inspirational.

Having said all of that, organizations are useful whentrying to do anything legal collectively such as liability insurance, or healthcare coverage, perhaps even collective bargaining like group purchases. That is why I have decided to join thePotters Council, and will be setting that up today.

Well I have ranted long enough. Like I said I do not mind belonging to anorganization, but I also think that most membership associations do not existfor a reason other than we think it is the “right way” to build something.

This is how I want my Clay Club to start, and we shall see howit goes. I already have 4 people who I meet with and have talked to about 4 others, if this is as big as my clay club ever gets that is just fine with us. The goal is not to grow a big group, but collectively learn and grow individually. We will meet at each others studios once a month for coffee, chips and dip, and do something fun together once a year.


Brian Reed

Throwing down in Washington State


Northwest Clay Club

#2 Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:54 AM

If you want another idea ... Why not open the group to artists in all media ... evenings of cross pollination and challenging conversations might advance everyone's creativity. The Grand Salons of olden days did just that and fabulous work emerged. I think staying closed up within our art form limits our learning.
Chris Campbell Pottery
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain


" If a sufficient number of people are different, no one has to be normal "

Fredrick Bachman

#3 JBaymore



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Posted 02 December 2012 - 01:08 PM

That is why I have decided to join the Potters Council, and will be setting that up today.


THANKS for joining the Potters Council!!!! Periodically let the Board members know about your needs and what we maybe can do. The Potters Council is really the membership. The Board just works to try to meet the needs of that membership as a whole.

A lot of the "administrative grind" that is involved with the running of such organizations comes from trying to prioritize and find ways to accomplish the diverse suggestions / desires that come up from such a non-homogeneous group of individuals. From full time to part time, from professional to hobbiest, from college professors of ceramics to new students of the craft..... the breadth of membership in such organizations and the diverse needs make "running the show" a bit of a challenge.........particularly when you also factor in a pretty tight budget.

Once you are fully aboard, membership might also help you in finding and networking with potters in your area that are also members to help establish this group you desire.



John Baymore
Adjunct Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

Former Guest Professor, Wuxi Institute of Arts and Science, Yixing, China

Former President and Past President; Potters Council



#4 Brian Reed

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:59 PM

Thanks for your suggestion Chris that is a great idea. Not sure how that exactly works, but I will think through it.


Thanks for the insight on the organization stuff. I totally understand and have joined. I did the two membership deal that is going on right now. Gave the other to a fellow potter for a Christmas gift. I also signed up for the mentee program and submitted my mentee application, I would love to find someone to help guide the way a little.
Brian Reed

Throwing down in Washington State


Northwest Clay Club

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