Piggies and dishes and clay, oh my!

pottery1

Potter’s Market demonstrates full potential of ceramics
Katie Hunckler
Staff Writer

A million decorative purposes and a million daily use purposes – who would have thought a single art form could span such a wide spectrum? A spectrum from which not a speck was missing at the Potter’s Market held Nov. 12-15 in the M-Tec Building.
It was amidst the ceramic ornaments, mushrooms and sugar bowls that the potters and shoppers scurried, hoping to share their art or find their treasure. “I’m looking for some unique things to put on bookshelves and tables,” said Cathy Lozen, who visits the market every year right when it opens to be sure and have the broadest selection. This appeared to be a popular strategy, as the market was bustling.
Having recently begun an introductory pottery class with her husband at Studio 1219, Barbara Morrison was enjoying looking at all the advanced pieces of art surrounding her. “I wish!” she exclaimed when asked if they were giving her inspiration for her own work.
The shoppers were bustling, but the potters were working twofold perfecting their displays while actively engaging with those around them. “I’ve been in the show for six years,” said Barbara Miller, who flaunted a wide display of ceramic ornaments and leaves. The leaves, ends upturned to add practical use possibilities, were created from actual sycamore leaves that had been rolled into the clay. “I just love the leaves!” she said.
Miller’s favorite part of ceramics is that she can destroy something, go through a few steps to revamp the clay, and create a brand new piece out of it. “And the grandkids love it,” she added.
Dennis Snyder has found that his kids also love it, as do his friends. The studio in his basement allows him the flexibility to have friends and guest potters over regularly. Snyder has a wide range of pieces, spanning from pots glazed naturally from clay found on the beach to political piggies. “I was getting sick of it so I decided to make fun of all of them,” he said, referring to the political nuances and politicians whom his piggies represented.
The natural glaze from the clay found on the beach of Lake Huron is Snyder’s true specialty though. “It’s something like the Native Americans used in this area,” he said. Snyder explained that his friend Ian Daniels had discovered clay on the beach, so they began experimenting with it. The shade of the glaze is dependent on the iron content of the clay; “It’s unique to the area,” he said.
Snyder was especially excited at the market, as his friend Ann Daniels has recently encountered a new clay in the Buffalo area near Niagara Falls. “Hopefully by the beginning of the year we’ll have a whole new line,” he said.
A bit younger than his fellow potters, Brent Westrick got hooked on ceramics here at SC4 before transferring to the Grand Valley potter’s program. “It’s a challenge,” he said,” everything changes, and a lot of it is not so much making, but the people.”
In addition to his love for the craft, Westrick has found great pleasure in meeting the other potters. “Everyone has different stories, and it’s cool,” he said.
According to the ceramic enthusiasts, there are multiple potter’s markets that take place each year, largely featuring the same artists. If the blues of depression are setting in about having missed this show, take heart! Many opportunities to explore the intricacies and abundances of this craft await.

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