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Marcia Selsor

How Is Your Local Pottery Community For Social And Professional Interaction?

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Central PA is like most other rural areas. Few potters per se, but a few organizations exist. Of these probably the best is the Central PA Potters group. Alas they hold most of their meeting in Harrisburg, 2hrs away from me. I may end up getting to some of their meeting come better weather. All in all this area is pretty isolated.

 

Years ago, I had been one of the founding members of the local Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, but as time went on the interest in juried shows, and membership became unpopular and the group became more of a "knitting circle". I don't have a problem with that, but it was not the type of venue that I wanted to devote my time to. Probably some would call it snobbish on my part, but the original concept and involvement at the state level dwindled and I wasn't going to continue beating myself up over a cause that had moved on.

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I work out of a group studio with 40 plus members plus students. Plus other ceramic artists teach or hang out there. So its a constant soup of creativity and one of the best parts is seeing what others are doing and watching the kilns unload.  I also belong to two cooperative art galleries which include other types of artists and each has fun creative people. Plus being an artsy area in general makes for a pretty good social circle of artists. Even better is that the ceramic artists around here are generous with sharing information, glaze recipes, technique etc. Couldn't ask for more.  rakuku

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There is a large decorative art associations here, but they are struggling its mostly for printers, graphic arts, painters and faux finishers.  Another is a gallery opened by local  women who are oil and watercolor painters.  There is also a gallery in old town started by MA students from Wichita State University, I tried to join the group but was told they only wanted younger people.  I understood, they were starting a new fresh buisness and didn't need to include someone old enough to be their mother.   Denice

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For the most part, any sense of community here seems to be centered around individual businesses or schools...like magnets.  I don't see those in business or the schools working together for the greater good.  We are fortunate to have an active state organization, Tennessee Craft but that encompasses more than just clay.  Maybe we take our clay work so personally we tend to cocoon in our own comfort zones.

 

I would love to hear of good examples...maybe that might encourage more of us to step up,

-Paul

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Nothing here. The is an art guild but unless you teach there or take classes there you are out of the loop. There is also an arts and humanity group but they are more into painters.

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Theres a Potter's Guild here, and they do great work for the community.  Affordable classes, good exposure through membership etc.  But it can get a bit of an expensive pay-to-play experience.  Studio time is as expensive as hiring someone from McDonald's to make pots for you.

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Trying to get potters around here (Montgomery & Elmore counties) to get together is just

like trying to herd cats.  You have to lure them in by offering some type of cook out.  And no,

not the road kill kind.  They've wised up.

 

Its easier to host a midnight cow tipping party than anything to do with clay and a wheel.

"Hold my beer and watch this", doesn't have the appeal while centering clay for some reason.

 

I hope the International Clay Conference in Providence, RI can cover this topic more.

 

See ya,

Alabama

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there are several groups in west va, md, and va.  there is also one in the tampa area.  i belong to two of them.  both very different and both wonderful.  check out the Shenandoah potters guild and the potters guild of florida's gulf coast.  both are on facebook.

 

the shenandoah group is very active in providing workshops and sales opportunities.  they just had one on brushwork which was well attended.  they make annual commemorative pots and sell them to support many of the group activities.  dues are $30 a year and membership is open to all.  meetings monthly, except for summer, in a Winchester va arts group building. entry fees for several large craft shows are paid by the guild. those who choose a particular sale pay a much discounted rate  ($30) and a small (10-12%) fee for advertising, tent use, bookeeping, etc.  a true bargain.  the next sale will be at Blandy experimental arboretum in virginia.  they even provide 1099 forms for the tax man.  this is a very well run guild and we are very lucky that the officers are dedicated, helpful and committed to the success of the group.

 

the tampa area has many potters whose skills are as varied as this forum membership is.  the guild i belong to is more of a social and educational group started by an amazing potter who supports himself and his partner by selling gorgeous crystalline glazed work at many craft shows.  he is also an instructor at one of the best arts centers i have ever seen in dunedin fl.  his partner is just that, a very hard working and skilled potter who keeps everything going.  this group also meets monthly alternating locations between their home studio (FABULOUS!) and the clay center in st petersburg.  each meeting features someone showing a technique or skill that may be new to many.  the last meeting featured mitch lyons who uses the clay center as his winter studio.  this group has no dues, provides no sales opportunities but is very supportive of its members who may be involved in sales nearby.  

 

both groups have extremely good cooks who bring yummy things to meetings or workshops.

 

if you do not have a guild in your area, why not start one?  local suppliers of clay materials might be a place to locate others of a similar interest.  a local newspaper or radio station might help in getting organized. you might find other potters through simply looking online.  and don't discount those painters and other artists who might know a potter or two.  don't just curse the darkness.

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I had a great workshop at the South Padre Island Art Space. They don't do much with clay so they really got excited. We have collaboratively ordered clay together because our local supplier in 278 miles away in San Antonio. There are not many clay people in Brownsville but there are more up the valley in McAllen and Mission. Some get togethers would be fun. SPI Art Space has pot lucks on first Mondays.

 

Marcia

Stephen, not quite over 300 miles. I take a back road but there are so many oil trucks on that road I am now staying on the major highways. Austin is around 360 and Houston is 380. 

I corrected the mileage.

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Having only recently reentered the world of clay, I may be missing some of the ceramics community "hubs" here in NH, but these are what I have been introduced to in the last year (my subjective wording for the descriptions):

 

the League of NH Craftsman (a rather "glossy", prestigious organization-high exposure, commercial stores statewide, juried members)   https://www.nhcrafts.org/  

 

the somewhat more "earthy" community of the New Hampshire Potters Guild ("gives back" via donation fundraising events/scholarship)    http://www.nhpottersguild.com/   

 

the New Hampshire Institute of Art http://www.nhia.edu/ceramics  Program director is Maureen Mills, and faculty includes John Baymore); the school has wonderful Community Education offerings, at reasonable prices 

 

the Sharon Arts Center (of the NHIA), where the magnificent new anagama kiln resides http://www.sharonarts.org/  (people I met associated with the first firing of the anagama kiln were warm and helpful to me-much appreciated) 

 

Of course there are also private studios, where I have generally found the ceramists to be quite open and helpful with info and tips. 

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sometimes community is more non local than local.  I think you have to find it where you can.  Email, Skype, internet.  yep.  Anybody want to have a potluck this weekend???  We could pull a little something together!  I am making Chicken Tortilla Soup!

 

Roberta
 

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I have the most fortunate opportunity to be able to take classes at my local community college which is only a few minutes from my house. As a "My Turner", meaning anyone over 60, there is only a nominal registration fee. I began taking ceramics classes a few years ago and participate in a free open studio twice a week which includes materials and firings. At first, I just wanted to keep my head down and and just do my work, but the overwhelming friendliness and sense of community quickly drew me out of my shell. The students' ages range from the regular college crowd up to 70s, 80s, and even an amazing 91 year old. We are all happy to share our experience and knowledge. Each month there is a ceramics club meeting with food, drinks and an occasional guest artist demo and we host a ceramics sale twice a year which helps to support the studio.

 

- Paul R.

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st petersburg community college is just far enough away to be a nuisance to reach on a regular basis. the instructors and facilities are outstanding.  but there are so many seniors taking classes that i have not been able to get in.  at least that is what i have been told when i tried to register.  maybe i will try again next year.  being here from early december to late april makes it difficult to fit into a school schedule.

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We have the Manitoba Craft Council. It was great for a number of years. They had a gallery and shop called Craftspace. I affectionately called it "Spacecraft."

We had a bit of a scandal when it was discovered that the director was promoting some artists over others. ]The ones that sold well ]

They no longer have a permanent space but do have an annual juried show. you basically have to pay to be juried, and you may not get into the show. I have not been a member for a long time.I do miss the social aspect of the shopand the various member shows, but life moves on.

TJR.

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You know it Guinea! It's giving me something to look forward to this spring! :D

 

In our area, there are a number of private studios that offer wheel and hand building classes for a fee. Usually, a rather exorbitant fee, if you ask me. Especially when compared to what's on offer at the Spokane Potter's Guild. OK, maybe I'm a bit biased, as SPG is where I got my start. ;) But, in conversing with other enthusiast in the area, word of mouth is that SPG is the place to be. My own experience with this wonderful organization is proof enough for me! 

 

SPG is a completely non-profit, totally volunteer operated organization. Class fees of $125 per quarter include materials, firings and full use of open studio time for the duration of the course. Then you can continue on a month by month basis at the rate of $30 per month and that includes everything except the clay. All equipment [which is substantial] glazes and firings are included in that $30 monthly fee.

 

Every year, on the last Saturday of February, they hold a chili bowl sale. Yes, that's this coming weekend. Guinea, I sure hope you're feeling better by then, because if you're even alive, I plan on kidnapping you and taking you with me! Mwwaahaaahaaahaaa!!!

 

Proceeds from the sale of the bowls goes to the annual operations budget. Last year [i think it was last year] the earnings from the sale were sufficient for the guild to purchase a new pugmill, in addition to paying the regular bills. The year before that, they bought several new wheels!

 

Yes, our beloved little SPG is a thriving community. I'm always inspired by the wonderful and helpful people there. Socially speaking, there is always something going on, off site of the studio: everything from pit firings to summer time weekend pot luck get-togethers.

 

And the diversity of the artists at SPG is nothing short of astounding. Many of our members have skills and talents in other materials. Luis, one of my favorite instructors, is also very accomplished in lost wax casting, lapidary and  ironmongery. I'm sure he has other talents. I just haven't discovered them yet as Luis is a very modest man. ;)

 

Spokane actually has a pretty diverse and active arts community. If it can be made by hand, there's likely a guild or club for it. It's part of what makes the Spokane area such a livable area. Some times [usually in the winter] I wish it were just a bit closer to me. Especially when I need a glaze I don't have <_<

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