The Lucy Fagella Pottery Blog is where I share the how the pottery is made. Pottery process is a beautiful thing… watching a pot rise up from a lump of clay at the wheel, or seeing a work table filled with freshly thrown pieces. This blog focuses on process shots, pottery videos, the work table at the end of the day, and some finished work fresh from the kiln.
Why blindfolded throwing at the potters wheel?
Every couple of semesters I have my pottery students make a pot at the potters wheel while blindfolded. This is always a fun night with lots of giggles, which quickly turns into serious business once the hands touch the clay.
I learned this blindfold technique about 20+ years ago when I was struggling with simple forms at the potters wheel. I was frustrated with something (I can’t remember exactly, as it was so long ago), so I closed my eyes and just felt the clay rather than looking at the clay. I remember a moment where something clicked, and I said to myself maybe I’m trying too hard. So I cleaned up my hands and got an old bandana and made a blindfold for myself. I threw a couple of pots like this. For the first time in many years of throwing, I was truly feeling the clay without worry of the way it came out. Forms naturally became looser, and I got past the road block I was having.
When my students do this class with a blindfold on, quiet takes over the room. It’s as though when one sense is taken away all of the other senses become more acute. The sense of touch is what I am going for in this exercise, and it truly takes over… but it’s the other senses quieting down that add to this experience, it’s not just about eyesight. When the blindfold is on the hands gain an uninterrupted path to the brain.
Working with clay is naturally so zen like, this exercise makes it more so.
How do you make a lid from an enclosed form on the potters wheel? This is a question I get asked often when people see my salt cellars and sugar jars. So I’ve made a new “Quick Pottery” video on the first step to making the enclosed form. I hope to make one on trimming the lid soon.
Below are a couple photos of work made using the enclosed form method. These salt cellars will be available on the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail this April 27th-28th. See the Pottery Trail website for all the details.
The studio is buzzing with work being made for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail! Our 15th annual tour is April 27th-28th, 2019.
The annual Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail is a tour of nine studios with over 20 nationally recognized potters. Easily reached from Boston, Hartford, and the Albany area, the free, self-guided tour winds along the beautiful back roads and scenic historic towns of the Asparagus Valley, a local name for the upper Connecticut River valley of western Massachusetts. The Pottery Trail celebrates the rich agricultural history and cultural vitality of the area, as well as the longstanding connection between pottery and food.
My studio is on the north end of the tour in Greenfield, MA., one of the five stops in Franklin county. Come for a visit, watch pottery being made outside in the tent, even take a try at the wheel. My advanced pottery students will guide you each step of the way. When you enter the studio I will greet you and show you around the studio. There will be many, many new pots for purchase. I make very useful pottery for the kitchen, like citrus juicers, berry bowls, asparagus trays, butter keepers, oil cruets, and salt cellars. I’ve made lots of bowls of all sizes for the table, and lots of mugs for your morning cuppa. To celebrate the season of spring I will have vases of all sizes, from the tiniest little posey vases to large vases that hold sunflowers! I will also have my line of cremation urns for pets and people available. Many urns that are new and not yet on my website. Check here to see my line of cremation urns.
Each of the 9 potters will have at least one invited guest potter. I am so happy to have SteveThéberge with me this year. Steve is a potter from western Massachusetts. He makes stoneware pottery intended for daily service on the table, shelf, or altar. Take a look at his work here.
Photos… on the worktable, pottery drying… now it’s glazing time!
Come and take a workshop with me this Summer and Fall. Spend a couple of days with me and bring your pottery making skills to the next level!
Take a look at the workshops I am offering on my class page here!
Happy students from the August 2018 workshop.
I discovered something by mistake, (which often happens:)… I made these little dipping dishes for soy sauce, olive oil etc, but found another use for them.
It happened this way… one of the dipping dishes that came out of a recent kiln firing really caught my eye… the little form and glaze were really special together. When I really like something it comes into the kitchen with me to ponder over while eating breakfast. Well to make a long story short- my tea was getting cold and I looked at his dipping dish and thought it might just cover my tea. Well it not only covered my tea, but fit perfectly! Hence more were made that very day.
Potters have stories, and our pottery tells a story… mass produced mugs don’t.
If you are pondering buying handmade for the holidays, just do it. The price of this $45 mug is way less than the price of one dinner out with a friend… and lasts a lot longer.
Take a look at my shop page if you still need to do some last minute shopping. Last day of shipping for Christmas is Wednesday December 19th. If you don’t find what you are looking for in the shop contact me, I might have more that just didn’t get posted!
Lucy Fagella Pottery Holiday Open Studio is here! This is a busy and exciting time for craftspeople. We are all like little elves, making things that we know someone will be buying for someone they love. It’s kinda a great feeling to be a maker, especially during this season of giving.
When folks come to my holiday open studio, in all the busyness I’ll catch a glance at someone when a smile comes to their face… like a lightbulb moment, because they just figured out that the piece in front of them is the perfect gift for their daughter who loves to cook.
Below is a sampling of what you can find at my studio this coming weekend.
If you are local stop by December 7-8-9 to find your perfect handmade gift.
Friday 4-8, Saturday 10-4, Sunday 10-3.
My 18th Annual Holiday Open Studio and Sale is this December 7-8-9!
The studio opens Friday 4-8pm, Saturday 10-4, and Sunday 10-3.
I am so happy to be opening my studio once again for the holidays! The shelves will be stocked with lots of new pottery! Red tag discontinued/seconds will be available on the seconds table.
Mugs, cups, bowls, plates, pitchers, creamers, citrus juicers, butter keepers, berry bowls, salt cellars, sugar jars, teapots, and more!!
Come and find your perfect, handmade, functional gift!
413 522 8370
I am making new citrus juicers. These are a result of my change from porcelain clay to stoneware clay. If you are a potter you understand the degree of difficulty working in porcelain. It is difficult to make extreme forms in porcelain because they tend to collapse on the potters wheel, or warp in the kiln. It is easier to work in stoneware because of the roughness (grog) in the clay, it just holds up better during the making process. Both are equally as strong and durable as an end product though.
These forms begin as a one piece enclosed form. That means I bring the clay up on the potters wheel and enclose the clay at the top. The first photo shows a two piece citrus juicer. This form is probably the most challenging form I have ever made. This is thrown all in one piece then I cut into it to create the lidded juicer section on top. The second citrus juicer is a double walled container, meaning that the middle hump section is thrown and formed into an enclosed form. The outer section is thrown as a tall bowl with a spout, then at the leather hard stage of the drying process it is cut into and altered to create the low sides. The final citrus juicer is a juicer that I have made for years, the only difference is that I have actually simplified it by not making a wavy split rim.
One of my customers asked me if I juice lots of citrus fruit. Not really I said, mainly just for Margaritas! It’s just that I love the challenge of making difficult forms such as citrus juicers.
You can find these juicers on the shop page of my website.
The price of a handmade mug.
You and a friend walk into a potter’s studio, or a shop that sells handmade goods. You gravitate to the beautifully crafted porcelain mug… it is quiet just like you like your mornings. It’s light green celadon color is deliciously soft looking, and has a translucent quality about it. You pick it up… oh so comfortable. You look at the price, and you put it back down, and say to yourself, I can’t spend $45 on a mug. You look around a little more to be kind, you say thank you to the potter/shop keeper and walk out the door. You walk down the street and say to your friend, lets get something to eat. Your favorite restaurant is busy that night so you wait at the bar and buy two drinks until a table is available. Finally you are seated and hungry by this point so you order a small appetizer, (and so those drinks won’t go to your head). You and your friend chit chat… what a great food this place has… it’s is such a pleasure to come here for our monthly get together. The dinners come… delicious as usual…too full for dessert as usual. You pay the $90 bill without thinking.
So what’s wrong with this picture?
Granted a restaurant has a really high overhead, buying food that can spoil if business is slow, paying all of the staff, paying rent, insurance, upkeep of the building and equipment. The price of a night out is justified.
Now what about that $45 mug? It was the same price as one dinner, one night, one experience. That mug that you walked away from will last for years to come, and will bring many experiences as you sit each morning with your favorite brew. It has the capacity to enhance the quiet comfort of morning, it feels good in your hands, and looks pretty darn nice with your kitchen decor.
So yes the price is justified for a handmade mug, one that is well balanced, comfortable to hold, and fits your taste perfectly. The time and experience it takes to make a well crafted mug takes years, not minutes. If you have ever taken a pottery class you will understand how difficult it is to make a mug, pull a handle and join the two together to make one seamless functional, comfortable mug. The potter also has overhead– clay, glazes, rent, insurance, kilns, wheels, upkeep of the studio… and needs to make a living wage. So much goes into that one little handmade mug.
On April 28th-29th the 14th annual Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail will be taking place at my studio and 8 other pottery studios in western Massachusetts. It’s a driving tour… a way to see our studios, watch how pottery is made, and the perfect time to buy directly from the potter. We are all full time professional potters, meaning we make our living from making beautiful, functional items to enhance others daily lives. If you do come for a visit, think about that dinner vs. a handmade mug. If you can’t make it to the Pottery Trail you can take a look around on my shop page at LucyFagella.com.
You know the Pottery Trail is coming soon when I start making my asparagus trays!
The Pottery Trail is this April 28th and 29th! So mark your calendars, grab a friend or two and plan a trip to the beautiful countryside of western Massachusetts. This pottery tour is a wonderful way to see 9 different pottery studios in our lovely valley along the Connecticut River. Each of the 9 studios will be showing the work of the host potter and a guest potter… 23 potters in all! This is the perfect opportunity to see a wide range of pottery styles and to purchase handmade pottery. It is also a great way to see the studios of professional working potters. Take a look at our website here.
I am so happy to be sharing my studio space with my guest potter Martha Grover this year. Martha lives in Bethel Maine and is well known for her functional pottery throughout the U.S. Her fluid, organic forms are colorful and well thought out, and sometimes very complex, as you can see from the photo below!