Strictly Functional Pottery National: call for work

Strictly Functional Pottery National, for those of you who don’t recognize the name, is one of our region’s loveliest juried exhibitions of functional ceramics.  Hosted in Lancaster, PA, it is always a treat to see.  Jurors are top notch, the entry fee isn’t too steep, and there are prizes.


Here’s the important info to know for SFPN:

Application deadline: June 1, 2015

Online application at

Juror:  Matt Long

Opening Reception: September 25, with talk and slide show by Matt, located at Kevin Lehman’s Pottery

Workshop with Matt Long: September 26, 9a – 4p, at Kevin Lehman’s Pottery, $50

June 1 may seem a long ways away from these snowy days, but now is the perfect time to start thinking about what you’d like to enter, and get the camera out.  For clay artists, photography is a second art form, necessary evil, another chance to develop your artistic eye, or you may have your own special curse for the task.  (smile)  Take time to look at lots of other people’s images, and when you see images that you like, call up the maker, or send them an email, asking how they did it.  We’re a surprisingly friendly bunch…


Face Mug Workshop: Berkeley Springs Ice House


Face Mugs made during an Ice House workshop with Crawford Horne

Face Mugs made during an Ice House workshop with Crawford Horne

Spice up Valentine’s Day with a Face Mug workshop at Berkeley Springs’ beloved Ice House Gallery.  Crawford Horne, Berkeley Springs potter, will bring pre-made mugs (or you can hand build your own), and lead you through the technical aspects of sculpting a face.  Wine and snacks are provided, or you can bring your own.  Your mug will then be bisque fired, glazed, and fired again, before returning to you….ready for your morning coffee!

Corks and Creations: Face Mug Workshop

Saturday, February 14, 4-6:30 pm at the Berkeley Springs Ice House

$35 for MAC members, $40 for non-members

call 304.258.2300 to register

As Thistle Glen Pottery, Crawford makes functional pottery influenced by his heritage and travels. His work is fired in his unique bourry box wood kiln, as well as a small gas kiln, and can be seen during the Berkeley Springs Studio Tour weekends, at the Ice House Gallery, and soon as part of the Berkeley Springs Farmers Market, where he shares a booth with his wife, Leigh, and her lovely home-grown produce.  (visit Thistle Glen Pottery on Facebook)


WV Potter’s Gathering: 35th year

Who knew?  As an annual gathering of clay folks, this gathering seems to be one well kept secret!  On a whim, I contacted Gary Shaffer (WV potter), and he was kind enough to send images of the flyer my way via facebook, and answer my questions about what to expect during the three day event.  Amazingly, there is absolutely no online presence for this gathering, and it is basically a word-of-mouth event, so consider yourself invited by this now-in-the-loop WV potter!

35th Annual West Virginia Potter’s Gathering

February 13-15, 2015

Cedar Lakes Craft Center, Ripley WV

Presenter: Antoinette Badenhorst

Antoinette Badenhorst presents for the 35th Annual West Virginia Potter's Gathering

Antoinette Badenhorst presents for the 35th Annual West Virginia Potter’s Gathering

While Gary has assured me that the gathering is a laid-back opportunity to network with other clay artists, the event starts with a Friday Night Potluck. Bring a dish to share, meet some folks, and enjoy a presentation by Antoinette about her work/life/inspirations.  Saturday is usually a day of demonstrations, discussion circles, a room to show and sell pots and supplies, and plenty of conversation, ending with a party for all.  Capitol Clay in Charleston brings supplies and tools for anyone interested, and you can special order from them online in advance for delivery at the gathering.

Sunday is more presentations and conversations, and folks can wander off after lunch, or stay for the afternoon, depending.  (Thanks again, Gary, for the info!)

Fees for the weekend can be as low as $52 for a ‘student commuter’ or as much as $324 for tuition/room/board.  Food is cafeteria, and there are options of just tuition, tuition/room, or tuition/room/board.  There are refrigerators and stoves in most buildings, and some folks bring their own food to cook together.

Gloria is the person to contact for registration and more info: Gloria-greg (at) Hotmail (dot) com or 304.372.7860

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Empty Bowls: Made In China for Corporate Engagement

Strange headline?  Well, yes, I agree.  Many potters donate bowls to Empty Bowls programs, which tend to be benefits where potters donate bowls, restaurants/chefs donate soup and bread, and people make a donation to eat soup out of a bowl that they then keep.  Empty Bowls programs traditionally benefit food banks and other hunger-related programs.

The Capitol Area Food Bank has been a recipient of my bowls for many years, since my time living in DC.  A few weeks ago, I received an email from the CAFB, and this is what it said:

“Hi Joy,

The Capital Area Food Bank is starting an exciting new corporate engagement effort that will expose the work of one lucky artist to thousands across the Washington metro area.

As a way to expand the much loved Empty Bowls concept, we are inviting our top local artisans that we have worked with in the past to submit a design for a bowl that will be entered into the Empty Bowls Challenge.  We will select a winner, which will be mass-produced and then sold to our partners in the corporate community.  Companies will give their employees the chance to purchase a replica of the winning bowl, and the proceeds will go to the food bank.

Would you be interested in submitting a design? Please let me know if this sounds like an opportunity you’d like to get involved with.

Many thanks,

Now, I couldn’t resist responding for clarification, which came back as:

“Thanks for your feedback.  The bowls would be mass produced in China, and the artist would not be paid for their design.

 Let me know if this is helpful information.  I understand your reservations, and I hope to work with you for future Empty Bowls events!



To be clear, CAFB will continue to have artisan-made bowls for their Empty Bowls.  Always have, and hopefully always will.  This is a new initiative, focusing on reaching out to coprorate entities.  (thanks for the clarification by phone, CAFB!)

As for this new initiative, I realize that there are probably ceramic artists who would love to have their work reproduced in China, but I am not one of them. I love to ‘re’-produce my own work.  In my mind, a production potter designs their own form, produces it in large or small runs, and is often paid a ‘wholesale’ price for their work, which then sold retail, whether for a business or for a non-profit.   As an artist potter, I make work in smaller series, but have, on occasion, made larger runs for good reasons.

My work, mass produced in China? No way.  Is my strong reaction old-fashioned?  Am I missing something?  Is there really a benefit here that I am not seeing?  What’s the story here?


Lorton Workhouse Cup Exhibit: Drink This!

“The seemingly endless stream of creative endeavor from ceramic artists never ceases to amaze me,” says Phil Rogers, juror for the Lorton Workhouse International Cup Show ‘Drink This!’  Many regional makers are included in this exhibit, including Allison Coles Severance:

Allison Coles Severance mug, part of Drink This! at the Workhouse.

Allison Coles Severance mug, part of Drink This! at the Workhouse.

The exhibit runs January 10 (opening) through February 2.

While the Workhouse opened as an Arts Center in approximately 2008, its’ past use as an open-air prison for vagrants and derelicts is quite rich.  Situated along the Occoquan River in Lorton, The Workhouse Prison opened in 1910 in the format of an ‘industrial farm’ where prisoners built their housing and food system from scratch. Women were also housed in the Workhouse, including suffragists protesting in DC.  The Workhouse Museum is worth a visit while you’re there.