The always highly anticipated annual Pottery Invitational, featuring 19 artists representing the East Coast from Maine to North Carolina and curated by Jerilyn Virden (Vermont) and Sarah Heimann (New Hampshire), takes place May 3 through 5 at the Worcester Center for Crafts.
This show opens with a ticketed “Epicurean Evening” event on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The $50 ticket gives attendees “first dibs on the art, a handmade ceramic bowl by our Artists in Residence, a beer tasting with Castle Island Brewery co. and tapas from Wooden Noodles.” Throughout the rest of the weekend, doors are open Friday from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 11ß a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free.
This year’s participating artists are Lisa Naples (Doylestown, PA); Ronan Kyle Peterson (Chapel Hill, NC); Kyla Toomey (Waltham, MA); Brenda Quinn (Ossining, NY); Tom O’Malley (Forestdale, RI); Jen Gandee (Fabius, NY) ; Brooke Millecchia (Fairport, NY); Todd Wahlstrom (Whitingham, VT); Autumn Cipala (Thomaston, ME); Michael McCarthy (Stockbridge, MA); Noel Bailey (Mad River Valley, VT); Martha Grover (Bethel, ME.); Tyler Gulden (Walpole, ME); Lindsay Oesterritter (Manassas, VA); Stuart Gair (Hudson, OH); Steve Théberge (Florence, MA); and Ben Krupka (Great Barrington, MA).
Pop-up talks by participating artists will take place throughout the weekend, on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., current WCC artists-in-residence will demonstrate the process of creating functional pottery. The upcoming “Fired/Molten 2019 Artists-in-Residence Show,” which opens May 16, is featured in the May/June 2019 issue of Artscope Magazine.
The Bowl Show, juried by Martha Glover and which opened on April 18, will be in the WCC Gallery Store through June 15. The store regularly includes work from WCC artists-in-residence. “People like to see work which is locally- or New England-made,” said Krikorian Gallery and WCC Gallery Store director Candace Casey. “We have artisans from all over the country and that I feel the environment definitely affects the aesthetics, which is why it is important to showcase east to west. We also have past artists in residence who have moved across the country and still ship us in work as well as refer us to other artisans.”
Most of the work in the Gallery Store is functional work. “Our hopes are to integrate handmade work into everyone’s lifestyle,” Casey said. “To me, artists are rock stars. I am committed to those that put bread on their tables by making handmade craft — whether it be ceramics, glass, fibers or other mediums.”
Casey regularly brings home artists’ work from the studios to see how it holds up under daily use. “I do bring a different cup home most every week. My light of day morning coffee is a ‘sacred time for me. I am particular about the lip of the cup, the weight and balance and especially the handle. I also prefer porcelain. Handmade objects are so personal and indicative of their user’s specific ergonomics and to me a luxury that is simple yet affordable.”
The center, which opened in in 1856 as the Worcester Employment Society, expanded with the opening of New Street Glass Studios in 2004 and moved under the Worcester State University banner in 2009, becoming home to the school’s visual arts studios. It recently welcomed a new executive director, Elaine McKenna-Yeaw, the founder and director of the Artists’ Exchange of Warwick, Rhode Island, who took over from Honee Hess, who had guided the institution to wider recognition over the past six years.
(The Worcester Center for Crafts is located at 75 Sagamore Rd., Worcester, Massachusetts. For more information, call (508) 753-8183 or visit worcester.edu/wcc.)