Pottery Studio

“I am in constant awe of the patterns, textures and rhythms of nature. I wish my work to reflect this as well as nature’s mystery; to let the clay dance in my hands and my body so that the clay and I become one. And when the user of these pots eats, drinks or arranges flowers, I hope he or she can experience this mystery and the sacredness of life in small daily rituals.” (Artist’s Statement from the Rochester Folk Art Guild Pottery)

The pottery shop is a large, spacious studio with clerestory windows, heated with a wood stove and back-up gas heat.

There are five Randall kick and electric wheels, two Creative Industry wheels, a slab roller, de-airing pug mill, and large canvas-covered work tables.

The kiln room contains a very large walk-in propane fired kiln, a car kiln and a smaller soft brick kiln. There is a small electric side-door kiln and a small Bailey gas kiln. Most firings are cone 10-12 reductions and bisque firings to cone 08. In addition an earthenware is bisque fired to cone 015 and then re-fired in sawdust, using the abundant sawdust generated by the woodshop. These firings produce a black ware burnished to a high sheen.

Students are welcome from the neighborhood. Lessons are $30 for a 2 ½ hour session, which includes materials and firing cost.

The apprenticeship program has a different aim than the lessons. There is a slow progression through learning skills in the pottery, such as making clay, wedging, hand building, and throwing repetition ware. In the beginning the apprentice is not expected to produce saleable work, but rather to help with the many studio chores such as cleaning, loading and unloading kilns, mixing glazes, building fires, and packing and unpacking pots at the various sales. Once an apprentice learns to throw, he or she is encouraged to make multiples of 50 to 100 mugs, bowls, and other production items. There is a magical point that occurs in repetition throwing. When the body learns to shape the clay, the feelings are alive and engaged, and the mind is free to join the search for a better form, a more relaxed body, and a finer attention. This attention aids the process of being present and alive in all ones’ parts. And often as a result, the pots grow more and more beautiful in a natural process like a plant reaching for the sun. There is also a great deal of freedom to pursue shapes, sizes and function in many kinds of pottery.

All pots belong to the Guild. Beginners are encouraged to throw out and reclaim their early attempts and later to glaze and fire their more successful pots in order to understand the process from the beginning to the end. The standards for saleable work are high, but much pottery is needed and appreciated in the community kitchen.

Some apprentices live full-time at the farm; others live nearby and come full or part-time. The fees are dependent upon these factors and are specific to the individual. Some scholarships are available each year.

Click here to learn about the Pottery Residency Program

Click here to visit the Pottery Online Etsy Store