Linda Bracken of Linda B Pottery is a potter in Barre, Vermont.
Originally from Salem, Massachusetts, I worked in the corporate world for many years as a Licensed Customs House Broker. My transition to the life of a studio potter first began when I and my friends decided to spend our weekly "girls' night out" taking a pottery class. I was immediately hooked. I loved it. Those one night a week sessions soon turned to two and three. Then, serendipitously, I became unemployed with a 6 month non compete contract-I was devastated. What would I do for 6 months? I rented space in a pottery studio and never looked back. That was in 1989.
In 1992 my husband and I moved to Vermont and purchased an old farmhouse with an attached dilapidated barn. After three years of hard work and lots of love, we had transformed our barn into my pottery studio complete with a 27 cubic foot downdraft gas-fired car kiln.
My passion for pottery comes from making something out of the earth , something that can, when handled properly, last a lifetime~ I love working with my hands~ The transformation from the earth to that of afinished product never ceases to amaze me!
The kiln firing is the last stage of the entire process. The atmosphere created in the kiln while firing, and the elements of live flame, intense heat and smoke interacting with the ware, greatly affect the outcome. This is what makes each piece unique and different in it's own way. This is also the driving force that keeps me going, because next time things will be even better, then the next time and the next time. See? This final firing takes 16 hours, with a 24 hour cooling time. While firing, the kiln reaches temperatures between 2280 to 2300 degrees. HOT!
YES!, all of my work is Microwave and Dishwasher Safe. YES! all of my work is Food Safe. NO! there has never been nor ever will be lead in any of my glazes. I have always had an interest in color therapy which has carried over into my work. I do believe color can impact your moods, feelings and emotions. I enjoy experimenting with new glazes and playing with glaze combinations. You can see this overlapping of glazes, thus creating a third color in the majority of my work. As I sit in my studio overlooking the fields and mountains, I can see the colors of my work reflected in the landscape throughout the year. Come visit me in my studio and enjoy the view. A customer once told me: "your pottery makes me smile". It is my intent to have every piece I make, whether functional or decorative, provide my customers with the same joy that I put into and derive from my work. :))
Life ismade to be celebrated. Not just what we consider the "big moments" but the everyday moments! We need more fun and laughter in our lives! I hope my work will make you smile, bring you joy and be part of your everyday celebrations.
Kathryn Myers is a potter in Woodstock, Vermont.
Kathryn Myers has been a potter for 35 years, producing functional wheel-thrown stoneware and white stoneware pieces, meant to be used and enjoyed everyday. After apprenticing at Stowe Pottery and graduating in ceramics from Kirkland College, Kathryn moved to Middlebury, VT to her first studio in the basement of Frog Hollow Craft Center.
After a year at Pottery Northwest in Seattle, she returned to Vermont, this time to Woodstock. She began the partnership Woodstock Artisans, a gallery and pottery workshop. For 25 years, visitors were invited to watch potters at work. Kathryn was pleased to bring this experience to cooperatively run Collective, an artisan-run and collectively-owned gallery in Woodstock.
Ryan Burch is a potter in Putney, Vermont.
"For me, making with my hands has always seemed to be the most sensible and authentic contribution I can make to the world. Creating utilitarian objects that aid in the daily tasks and routines of everyday life has become the most direct method of articulating my value systems and philosophies to the world. In this sense, functional wares have the ability to bridge the gap and communicate between maker and user. Even without the use of language, handmade utilitarian objects can succinctly express and translate the world’s most basic principles and can connect individuals who may have otherwise remained unattached. This potential bond is what drives my desire to make and allows me to envision my work inﬂuencing traditional customs and activating the contemporary imagination. I attempt to entice the modern public by creating utilitarian forms that refer to history but also provide an earnest, eccentric, and forward-thinking tone. By working with this intention, I hope to promote awareness and appreciation of material, process, and product. I strive to reconnect individuals with the source of the commodities and objects they live with and use on a daily basis. It is my belief that by building a stronger connection between maker and user, and a more thorough understanding of this relationship, we will ultimately discover a living system that is deeply gratifying."
York Hill Pottery
Elizabeth Saslaw of York Hill Pottery is a ceramic artist in Lincoln, Vermont.
For as far back as I can remember, I wanted to earn a living as a seller of things I created with my own hands. I think it was pretty clear to me (not to mention my family and friends) that a 9 to 5 job in an office was not a direction I wanted to go.
The realization of this lifelong dream is something I'm truly grateful for. I went from being a young, slightly unfocused college art student who casually stumbled into pottery—to a committed potter in love with the feel of wet, slippery clay between my fingertips. The rhythmic process of slapping a lump of clay on the wheel and coaxing each piece into shape is still something that enthralls and challenges me, even 30-plus years later.
The freedom and flexibility that comes from working in a studio right beside my home—allowing me to be a stay at home Mom and a working one at the same time—I wouldn't have it any other way. Whenever I get “potter’s block” or simply find the weather too good to resist, I only have to step outside the studio for new ideas. We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by 25 wooded acres located off a little-traveled dirt road. It’s amazing what a dip in the pond, a gardening session in the perennial beds, or a bike ride with my daughter will do to rejuvenate the creative process.
I thank all you supporters of York Hill Pottery, who continue to buy, use, and give our handmade Vermont stoneware. And my very special thanks to Susan Kuehnl: my work would not be what it is today without her friendship, understanding, and artistic inspiration.
"As a college junior, I enrolled in an elective pottery class and it changed the trajectory of my life. A decade later, my hands are covered in clay almost every day.
My approach considers ritual and tradition. As a maker of functional forms, I am inspired by the idea that pottery becomes part of habit - a favorite mug that is essential to a morning routine or a serving bowl that holds a treasured dish at family gatherings.
Time spent working with clay is mental nourishment for me, and the forms I create are intended to add an aesthetic depth to the physical nourishment others get from food and drink.
I focus on the production of balanced forms, while experimenting with various surface treatments that conjure emotions or memories. Textures, colors and prints enhance the structural aspects of each piece. I am aware of and driven by the knowledge that the feel of a bowl, cup or mug is deeply personal; what feels imperfect to one will invoke a seamless connection in another.
With rare exceptions, my work is food safe, dishwasher safe and microwave safe. My work has been featured in shops, galleries and events throughout New England.
I am a Massachusetts native, living, working and making in northern Vermont. I graduated from Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont, 2008 with a BA in English Literature and with an Art minor. I am the Studio Manager and an instructor of pottery and screenprinting classes at the Burlington City Art Clay and Print Studio, a community art space in Burlington, Vermont. I am an avid snowboarder, skateboarder, and a lover of good food and drink."
Muddy Creek Pottery
Heather Stearns is the founder and owner of Muddy Creek Pottery in North Wolcott, Vermont. She has been working in clay since 1991 and teaching since 1993 in numerous capacities. She learned to make pots at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, where she earned a B.A. in Ceramics and Education. Further study in ceramics at Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Truro Center for the Arts, and the Moravian Tile Works have all influenced her work and teaching.
Heather’s own production work features wheel-thrown functional stoneware pieces. Her work is known for its earthy elegance. Many pieces feature strong carving or wax resist design work. Her hope it that both of these techniques will allow the nature of the clay and the handmade process to show through in the finished piece. Muddy Creek Pottery is exhibited regularly in 10 galleries across New England, and has been featured in several catalogs.
Teaching has always been an important part of Muddy Creek Pottery. Heather is a trained public and Waldorf School teacher. She has taught clay classes for ages 3 to 100 (Even one class with 3 year olds AND 100 year olds together!). She has worked with children, teens, adults, library programs, art teachers, special needs adults, blind people, at-risk teens, girls empowerment groups, teen mothers, elders, summer camp groups, and school programs. She has been teaching Pottery I and Pottery II for Sterling College for the since 2009.
Lucinda Rochester Smith of Greenwood Pottery is a ceramics artist in Hardwick, Vermont.
"Clay is incredibly seductive. My first encounter with it was in the art department at the University of Vermont, and it changed the direction of my life at the time. Not only is the material itself fascinating, but I think the first time I was present when a kiln opened with my work in it, my captivity was complete. The fire always has the final say in what a piece will become, which can be exhilarating or frustrating, depending on one’s expectations. The possibilities for forming and decorating clay are endless, and I have always been drawn to experiment with new color and surface, even though it slows down production of the work. Though I see myself as a potter first, respecting form as it relates to function and use, I look at each piece individually when glazing, making decisions as an artist would do with a canvas.
My work is hand thrown on the pottery wheel, or formed with the use of slab roller. I was fortunate to have been taught to throw pots by George Scatchard, one of Vermont’s well-known potters, and credit him with my love of finely thrown and well-trimmed work. Function, balance and aesthetics should come together if a piece is to give years of pleasurable use.
I have always worked with high-fired stoneware, the first 25 years or so with a gas-fired kiln, using a process called reduction, to gain depth and richness in the surface. More recently I have been using an electric kiln, firing in oxidation, which is a cleaner and quicker process. Over the past several years I have worked to develop glazes fired in oxidation that mimic some of the effects that can be created with the gas kiln.
My choice of color in glazes is definitely inspired by the natural world and Vermont’s four seasons. I experiment with glazes sort of impressionistically, using earth tones, greens, and combinations found in nature. I use wax resist for natural motifs and a carving tool on some pieces similarly to the way one would produce a woodcut.
I am fortunate to live and work in Woodbury, Vermont, in landscape that I love and with a medium that I love. It is important to me that my work creates a positive response in people, and that they can count on its quality and usefulness."
LVL VT Pottery
Lindsay Vanleir is the maker and owner of LVL VT POTTERY.
"I am a young potter based out of Burlington, Vermont and I focus on making functional, vibrant wares meant to be used in your day-to-day.
A painter and 2-D artist my whole life, in 2015 I decided it was time to try something different. I enrolled for an adult beginners wheel course at the Burlington City Arts Clay Studio, hoping the exposure to a new art form would influence my painting. Instead, I found myself exclusively interested in the creative possibilities with pottery, and even more so in love with the community of artists at the studio. And I can't seem to quit because ever since I began that first class, I have not missed more than two weeks at the wheel. Pottery has become many things for me: my creative outlet, a source of comfort, a way to refocus my mind, how I start my day, a way to connect with friends, and a window into my local community of artists and makers, to name a few!
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have found my life's passion at a young age. Being at the wheel is where I am at peace; it's a kind of comfort that has really allowed me to explore my art in ways I had not before. I hope that my journey with pottery is apparent in my work and is something that consumers find attractive about my work. I have a deep appreciation for the art of making pottery, and the desire to share it with others.
Most of my work is wheel thrown, and decorated by hand using stamps and/or recycled glass. I often find unique pieces of carved crystal at markets and second-hand sales, which I incorporate into my plates and dishes. For my textured work, I choose glazes that "break" well over the high relief of the carvings and stamps to create movement. I gravitate toward glazes that sparkle, again to create a sense of movement over the piece. The way glaze can pool and shift during the firing is fascinating to me, and up-close can have a fractal quality.
All of my marbled work is made using food safe pigments. I choose bright, vibrant colors that will stand out against traditional white or brown stoneware. The pigments come in a powdered form, which I then mix into porcelain slip (slip is clay mixed in with extra water to make it like cream). I choose porcelain slip because it fires to a clean white, meaning the pigment can has the potential to be its truest color when mixed in. Once I create a dyed slip, I let this firm up until I can work it as clay. My dyed clay is then wedged into porcelain or stoneware to create an organic effect that demonstrates movement, growth, and potential. These pieces are reminiscent of rock formations or a body of water.
I use what is known as high-fire stoneware and porcelain, which is heated to approximately 2200 degrees. This completely vitrifies the clay body so that it is food safe, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe.
Alongside my business production work, I also volunteer at the Burlington City Arts Clay Studio as a studio assistant and I teach Friday evening drop-in classes for families and adults. When I'm not elbows-deep in clay, I enjoy hanging out with my two Siamese cats and gardening!"
Bonnie Seidman is a potter from Plainfield, Vermont.
Bonnie Seideman was born in New York City in 1950. As a child, she excelled at coloring in the lines of coloring books, painting by numbers, and playing “house” and “school.”
After careers in teaching and journalism, Bonnie discovered a passion for pottery and the great joy and profound peace that working with clay can bring. A hand builder for more than 17 years, her work is whimsical yet functional, often with a distinctly feminine gesture.
Each hand-crafted piece starts with a slab of thinly-rolled clay- no wheel used- and is twisted, textured, pinched and poked until the desired effect is achieved. The piece is then fired in a hot electric kiln, dipped in glaze or painstakingly hand painted with underglaze, as the case may be. Finally, it is kiln fired once more and ready to grace your home.
Bonnie and her husband Sam have lived in their Plainfield home facing Camel’s Hump for over 40 years, and the jaw-dropping beauty of the mountains continues to inspire them both. They are the parents of two fine, grown sons and their lovely, strong wives, and grandparents of two sparkling granddaughters and a delightful, dimpled young grandson.