Featured Articles

  • Amy Burk: Lancaster Arts Engineer

    An hour west of Philadelphia, the small city of Lancaster is a hub of creative energy stoked by a multitude of arts organizations.  Potter Amy Burk is a longtime Lancaster native who keeps many engines running with her involvement in the area arts scene. Her Amy Burk Pottery has been a local fixture since her circuitous route back to her hometown in 2002.  Today, Burk integrates her creative vision and keen business sense in a successful functional pottery production trade.

  • North Hills Art Center: A Suburban Gem

    A person looking for the arts in Pittsburgh is likely to find a play or a concert in the downtown cultural district or a gallery or a museum class in the Oakland university area.  But residents of the city’s northern hills have a rare jewel in the North Hills Art Center (NHAC).  For over sixty years, this institution has served the community, inspiring creativity in children and adults through expert instruction in a full gamut of media.  Board of Directors President, Diane Pontoriero says, “Our mission is to bring what the arts do for us to everyone in the community.”
  • The Successful Potter: A Collective Model

    The impulse that is at the heart of every potter is to play with clay.  This seminal desire to immerse oneself in one’s medium fuels the creative process but does little to guide the artist toward a sustainable way of living.  Teaching and marketing are the usual solutions, but often become as time-consuming as the art they serve.  Lisa Howard, a Boston area potter, over three decades of creating, has succeeded in incorporating these necessary tasks into an organic model based on a strong community of makers and buyers.  Her local pottery studio + gallery is a nexus in the Boston area for artists to display and sell their work, for students to perfect their skills, and for clients to expand their collections and increase their knowledge of the arts.
  • A Potter for the 21st Century

    After months of lockdowns and isolation amid a global pandemic, Indianapolis potter Sarah Anderson bought a small Serro Scotty camper and took to the highway.  This 20-something graduate of Ball State University recruited her dog Pip and her friend Merrat Metzger and began a journey that brought her to new vistas and built a real community out of virtual connections.
  • Veteran Educator Adjudicates Standard Clay’s High School Exhibition

    Standard Clay has a long history of encouraging and showcasing local high school artists in the gallery at Clay Place @ Standard.  The current show features works in clay from thirteen schools and runs through April 28.  A reception was held on March 29 for the students, their teachers, and their families and friends.  Under the discerning eye of judge Susan T. Philips, the works were assessed and rated, with awards granted to the three best student works, along with one to the best over-all school.  Standard Clay is grateful for Phillips’ expertise and willingness to serve in the role of judge.
  • East Wheeling Clayworks: The New Artist/Entrepreneur

    Adam and Beth Bedway stand at the intersection of many roads for today’s new potters.  This Wheeling, West Virginia couple are the owners and founders of East Wheeling Clayworks, an enterprise that has grown out of their love of clay and is fed by a determination and commitment to the growth of small businesses in small economies.  Both Adam, 40, and Beth, 37, majored in the arts but sacrificed full-time artistic pursuit to ensure a sustainable living.   Like so many of their generation, they found the traditional work model unfulfilling.  With careful consideration and planning, they chose an alternate route.
  • Seeking Beauty: Scottie Roberts Wiest

    What is the value of a life in the arts?  West Virginia potter Scottie Roberts Wiest has fifty years of experience selling and making functional pottery and plenty to say about a lifestyle embedded in nature and community in her native Appalachia.  From her early training at Agnes Scott College, through studies in Japan and residency in Georgia, Wiest lives a quest for beauty that manifests in a lifetime of making and defining Appalachian art and culture.
  • Potter Celebrates the Here and Now with Gifts of Mugs

    The notion of the artist as a depressed figure, grappling with the meaning of life and creating beauty out of personal pain is not a concept that defines potter Mary Ferris.  This 60-year-old artist from Pequea, Pennsylvania embodies joy.  Her current project, CoffeeTeaSixty, turns the idea of a birthday gift on its head and spreads Ferris’ delight in her life and work in a widening circle of generosity and gratitude.
  • Wheeling Plans Winter Celebration of Pottery

    Wheeling is a medium-sized city that sits along the Ohio River in what is known as the “panhandle” of West Virginia, a narrow strip of land between Pennsylvania and Ohio that juts northward from the northwestern corner of the state.  Like Pittsburgh, its neighbor to the east, Wheeling grew up and thrived in the industrial age of steel and manufacturing.  Taking raw materials from the earth, barons of industry manufactured steel, glass, and textiles, building corporations and wealth that fed the needs of a growing community of workers.  The Oglebays and Stifels of Wheeling, like their better-known Pittsburgh neighbor Andrew Carnegie, invested in the community good, establishing cultural institutions that still exist today.  Rick Morgan, the director of the visual arts department of the 92-year-old arts organization Oglebay Institute, looks forward to showcasing the region’s 21st-century making, with the upcoming earth and fire, a national exhibition of ceramic art as part of the city’s Ceramics Take Over Wheeling in February and March of 2023.
  • Stoke Hole Pottery Downtown: Serving the Small-Town Market

    In the west central part of Pennsylvania, Indiana County is an enclave for potters.  Dotted throughout the rural area are numerous potters’ studios set in renovated barns and cabins and homes, tucked into the rolling foothills of the Allegheny Mountains rising to the east.  A traveler in the area on the third weekend of October will meander down winding country roads curtained in the reds, oranges, and golds of autumn and catch a whiff of wood smoke from a kiln.  Since 2008, the area potters have joined together to promote the annual Potters Tour, a weekend event in which visitors can observe, browse, and purchase works at over ten member studios.  Debra and Birch Frew, of Stoke Hole Pottery, are founding members of the tour and have welcomed thousands of visitors to their studio and gallery on their farm outside of the town of Indiana.  Last June, in a move planned for and dreamed about, the couple “came into town”, launching Stoke Hole Pottery Downtown in a storefront in Indiana’s business district.
  • Connecting in Creativity: ViaClay

    Anyone who has ever sat down at the wheel or the workbench with a block of clay knows the total absorption of the solitary creative experience.  The intense focus of imagination erases time and funnels the senses toward the target of the created object.  The potter can be a lone figure.  These recent years of pandemic-forced isolation brought forth great productivity in many artists but have left many seeking the connections of community.  Potter John Beck, of the Chicago suburb Oak Park, manages ViaClay, a new studio founded by Oak Park potter Gabe Tetrev, where a resurgence of shared gathering is bringing potters and students together.