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Spring 2006 SPRING 2006


									SPRING 2006
The 6th Mid-Atlantic Clay
      By Polly Beach

Reprinted with permission from the January/February 2006 issue of
Clay Times magazine,, 1-800-356-2529.

For the sixth time since 1995, members of the Clay Connection, a
Washington, DC area clay guild, volunteered their time and energy
to produce what has become a very professional and successful
biennial clay conference. A non-profit organization registered in the
Commonwealth of Virginia, The Clay Connection was established in
1991 to promote clay arts in the metropolitan DC area.

Held in late October 2005, at the scenic 4-H Conference Center in the   Bill Van Gilder at the Mid Atlantic
mountains of Front Royal, Virginia, the four-day event offered          Conference, photo by Rex Looney
everything from mini workshops, charitable bowl contributions, a pot
exchange, and live music to an exhibit of participants’ works and an    November Program
auction of speakers’ creations to raise money for victims of the Gulf
Coast hurricanes. For the added benefit of participants interested in
                                                                        Ceramic Art Using
a bit of extra pampering, an on-site massage therapist was available
throughout the weekend for private massage sessions.                    Indigenous Clays in the
                                                                        Vicinity of Arlington,
This year’s slate of guest presenters was headlined by husband-and-     Virginia
wife team Neil Patterson and Sandi Pierantozzi of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, and Clay Times columnist Bill van Gilder of Gapland,      On Tuesday, 08 November 2005, members
Maryland. The three shared the stage and offered simultaneous           attended a program at the Lee Art Center to
demonstrations of their techniques before an audience of more than      hear a synopsis of Marcia Finnerty’s one-
100 attendees from the East Coast region.                               year project to locate, test, evaluate, and use
                                                                        locally dug clay to make ceramic art. This
In essence, the entire event was a sort of retreat for its attendees.   project was funded by a $2,500 Individual
Registration fees included room and board in on-site dormitory-style    Artist Grant administered by the Arlington
housing, as well as admittance to all of the various activities which   Commission for the Arts and hosted by the
took place Thursday through Sunday.                                     Cultural Affairs Division of the Department
                                                                        of Parks at the Lee Art Center.
The event was officially launched with a wine-and-cheese reception,
hosted by Beth Wiley of Earth and Fire Gallery in Vienna, Virginia,     After receiving notification that her grant
and Mike Swauger, whose Kiln Doctor business has been a key             application had been approved, Marcia
supporter of the conference since its inception.                        Finnerty implemented a plan that involved
                                                                        historical research to determine areas that
A series of several miniature hands-on workshops took place             might contain appropriate clay deposits.
throughout the day on Friday. These included everything from            After conducting field tests (rolling into a
Ramon Camarillo’s ever-popular raku workshop, held in one of the        ball and making an indentation; rolling into a
Center’s outdoor shelters, to Jennie Coffin’s techniques for surface    coil and then bending the coil) to determine
decoration and Jane Cullum’s practical approaches to goblet making.     plasticity, she selected four sites to serve as
Also on the agenda were sessions on soft porcelain slab vessels by      clay sources. The two hillside sites were
Beth Kendall; Joyce Michaud’s “Physics of Throwing” demonstra-          located on the NVCC Alexandria Campus
tion, and Bill Schran’s discussion of cone 6 crystalline glazing.       and along the GW Parkway in Arlington
Michael Hough led a session on “Building Big”, while DeDe               County; the two streambed sites were
Mandrell demonstrated her techniques for working with silver clay.      located in Marcey Creek and Pimmit Run.
continued on page 3                                                     contined on page 7

                                  Cracked Pot • Winter 2005/Spring 2006
For What It’s                                  requests for bargaining. Pierantozzi told a        Well, not all of the audience was there. “People
                                               story about the Smithsonian Craft Show,            are being asked to take pay cuts every day,”
Wor th                                         which, according to its Web site, is “the          another audience member, Amy, pointed out.
                                               most prestigious” juried craft show in the         “Bargaining and price reductions are common-
By Nancy Udell                                 country. On the last day of the sale one           place. That’s the world we live in. Buyers like to
                                               recent year, a potter cut prices in half to        shop for sales; they like to get bargains. And
Reprinted with permission from January/        avoid shipping work home. Fellow exhibi-           sellers often do reduce prices when it’s in their
February 2006 issue of Clay Times maga-        tors were livid. By cutting prices on the last     economic interest. Why is that wrong?”
zine,, 1-800-356-2529        day, the errant exhibitor sent these messages
                                               to patrons: don’t buy early because the            That got me thinking about value.
Would you talk about pricing?” The ques-       prices might come down later; don’t take
tion was addressed to presenters Sandi         these prices seriously. And this at the            During a break, the conversation continued.
Pierantozzi, Neil Patterson, and Bill van      Smithsonian of all shows!                          Amy was on to something. “You’re a lawyer,”
Gilder, as they were making pots on stage                                                         she said. “What’s your hourly rate? I could re-
recently at the Clay Connection’s bien-        Pierantozzi told another story of a man who        ally use your help on this issue, but can you
nial clay conference in Front Royal, Vir-      came into her booth and asked, “Can you            give me a bit of a break?” It happens all the
ginia. Yes, the presenters would talk          do any better on the price for that teapot?”       time, she argued. Realtor, can you cut your com-
about pricing; and so, it turned out, could    “Yes,” she answered. “I could probably get         mission so we can get this deal done? Contrac-
a number of attendees.                         $350 for this, but because it’s a new form, I      tor, is that the best you can do on price? If I buy
                                               decided to start it at this price.” Needless       a dozen, can you give me one more for free (the
“Price pots based on how much money            to say, his attempt at bargaining failed.          famous “baker’s dozen”)?
you need to pay the bills,” van Gilder said.
“How many kiln loads of pots do you            Van Gilder echoed the point, urging potters        But it’s not true that everyone discounts. Will-
need to make and sell to cover your ex-        to raise prices gradually. “It is up to us to      ingness to discount is a statement about value.
penses?” He added that what you pro-           discover what our customer base believes           Tiffany’s does not have clearance sales. And
duce must, of course, play a big part in       our work is worth,” he said. He agreed with        David Boise doesn’t give volume discounts.
this analysis. “And, don’t be afraid to        Pierantozzi: cutting prices after the fact leads   (OK, potters, he’s a famous and in-demand trial
undercut the competition in the begin-         to sticky issues.                                  lawyer.) Pierantozzi’s pots shout quality from
ning.” When van Gilder was supporting                                                             the highest rooftop. There is absolutely noth-
his young family, he used these tech-          Most of the audience was with them. After          ing markdown about them. Shouldn’t people
niques.                                        all, people commiserated, you wouldn’t be          be able to recognize this and stop asking her if
                                               very happy if your boss walked into your           the price will go down tomorrow? That got me
Pierantozzi conducts detailed time stud-       office and said, “Can you do your job for a        thinking about branding.
ies on each of her (exquisite) pots so that    little less this week?” You wouldn’t go into
she knows how much time she invests in         Hecht’s [department store] and ask whether         Protecting the Brand
each piece. Then, she prices accordingly.      they can do any better on that pair of shoes.
She also considers if the piece is one-of      So don’t do it to potters!                         Selling work has to be in part about transmit-
or part of a series. She will charge more                                                         ting notions of its value to the potential buyer.
for a one-of-a-kind piece because, well,                                                          It would be nice if gradations of value were
it’s one-of-a kind.                                                                               automatically transmitted through our common
                                                                                                  aesthetic sense (ah yes, this pot is $15 more
Patterson tries to price based on what the                                                        valuable than that one). But conceptions of
market will bear, but begins his pricing                                                          value are not transmitted that way. That’s partly
analysis with the time he puts into each                                                          because there is not (in my opinion) any exact
piece.                                                                                            intrinsic or Platonic value associated with ev-
                                                                                                  ery item. Beauty and value are in the eye of the
“Charge the amount of money that you                                                              beholder, especially when it comes to art and
want more than you want the pot,” a                                                               craft. But there are things that influence the
sculptor in the audience suggested. An-                                                           beholder’s view.
other audience member volunteered that
she tells her students to weigh the pots,                                                         Perceptions of value are partly created by brand-
multiply by 15 and then add or subtract                                                           ing and marketing, and sales venue is a good
dollars based on their gut reaction to the                                                        part of that process. As Patterson tells his stu-
price. Of course this suggestion led to a                                                         dents about pricing, see what work is selling in
series of jokes about the benefits of mak-                                                        different venues, and where your work might
ing heavy pots.                                                                                   fit in. Just as in real estate, location, location,
                                                                                                  and location are very important factors in pric-
Cutting prices                                                                                    ing.
But things really got interesting when we                                                         Continued on Page 7
started on the topic of cutting prices and
                                               Cracked Pot • Winter 2005/Spring 2006
“The 6th Mid Atlantic Conference”                                                                  • When making darted feet,
continued from page1                                                                        Pierantozzi says, it is important to
Exhibitors from clay-related businesses                                                     maintain the shape of an equilateral
including Highwater Clays, Clayworks                                                        triangle. When joining the seams, she
Supplies, The Ceramic Shop, van Gilder                                                      presses inward, not downward. Then she
Professional Potters’ Tools, The Kiln                                                       lets the foot set up, keeping the top of the
Doctor, Tin Barn Pottery, Mecca Tools,                                                      pot covered. She uses templates to cut the
and Clay Times offered their wares in a                                                     darts for the feet.
trade show open to attendees throughout
the weekend.                                                                                      • Pierantozzi also uses a cup inside
                                                                                            the form to guide the rim into its nice,
Saturday and Sunday events were devoted                                                     round shape. She stuffs the form with
to presentations by van Gilder,                                                             dry-cleaning plastic for partial drying.
Pierantozzi, and Patterson, complete with
individual slide shows of their work and                                                          • When making her textured works,
personal histories. Following are some of                                                   she stamps patterns into the slab first. She
the tips they offered as they demonstrated                                                  marks the slab with a template before
their techniques:                                                                           stamping so as not to cut off the patterns.

      • When he cuts a lid or spout off the                                                       • Before cutting the darts into her
hump, Patterson makes a second cut just                                                     rounded forms, Pierantozzi ‘poofs’ out
below the first to form a clay pad that will                                                the inside to gain a greater sense of
absorb any distortion that takes place         Niel Patterson at the Mid Atlantic           volume.
during lifting.                                Conference, photo by Rex Looney
                                                                                                  • To get the proper dimension for
       • To make his many thrown-and-                • Patterson recommends the use of      adding a coiled rim to her handbuilt
altered forms, Patterson does a lot of         MDO (medium density overlay), an             round forms, she measures the top of the
joining. When he does this, he makes           exterior grade plywood, as ware boards.      pot by wrapping a coil around its circum-
sure the clay is at a ‘hard’ leather-hard                                                   ference.
level of dryness. He scores and slips areas          • Bill van Gilder offers this hint
to be joined with a lot of thick slip,         when trying to soften up commercially
applying pressure to the point where the       prepared bags of clay: Drop the block of
slip oozes out to form a thick bond.           clay onto the table or floor two or three
                                               times before wedging, which will loosen
                                               up and soften the particles.

                                                     • When trimming a series of pots on
                                               a clay pad, van Gilder says it’s important
                                               do the large-diameter pieces first, then
                                               work inward. This way, the trimming
                                               scraps that drop onto the wheelhead will
                                               be prevented from sticking to pot rims.

                                                      • To better see the profile of the
                                               pot’s foot when trimming, van Gilder
                                               places a flat wooden board across the top
                                               of the foot. That way, he can see just how
                                               the foot will connect with a flat surface.

                                                      • To help freshly-made pots hold
                                               their shape when handling, both van          Michael Hough at the Mid Atlantic
                                               Gilder and Pierantozzi use a sheet of        Conference, photo by Rex Looney
                                               newspaper to trap air within the form (see
                                               van Gilder’s column on page 43 of the
                                                                                            To learn more about the Clay
                                               January/February 2006 issue for more on
                                                                                            Connection and the Mid-Atlantic Clay
                                               this technique.)                             Conference, visit the Web site at
Sandi Pierantozzi at the Mid Atlantic
Conference, photo by Rex Looney                                                   
                                           Cracked Pot • Winter 2005/Spring 2006
                                                                                                                                     Post Office Box 3214
                                                                                                                        Merrifield, Virginia • 22116-3214

                                      Spring Show and Sale
                                        REGISTER NOW TO RESERVE A SPACE!
                                                  DATE: Saturday, May 6, 2006
                                                     TIME: 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.
                                               LOCATION: Vienna Community Center
                                                                         120 Cherry Street, SE, Vienna, VA

Guidelines:                            The Board of Directors of The Clay Connection has determined the                            Clay Connection members
                                                                                                                                      who participated in previous
   Each participant will have          two sales a year we hold should both be high quality pottery and                               sales will receive $5 off the
   one large rectangular table         that we should have Studio Clearance Sales only on an occasional,                              registration fee for this sale*.
   to display items.                   as-needed, basis.
   You may bring table-                                                                                                            Participation in this sale will make
   clothes and display                                                                                                               you eligible for the registration
   materials to individualize          We need to assure maximum attendance to the sale with the room                                discount in the next Clay
   your table.                         bustling all day with buyers and pots, so we will need assistance                             Connection Sale.
   Tables will be assigned             implementing marketing ideas.
   randomly.                                                                                                                       *You are eligible for this discount
   The committee requests a                                                                                                          if you are a current Clay
   head count by April 13.                     Non-members are welcome to participate.                                               Connection member and you
                                                                                                                                     participated in at least one of
   All items should be priced
                                                                                                                                     The Clay Connection’s last two
   no less than $5.
                                                           Contact:                                          sales (Spring or Fall of 2005).

REGISTRATION FORM                                                                   Check all that interest you. You will be contacted with final assignments.
                                                                                    There will be morning and afternoon slots.

Name____________________________________________________________________               ______    Affix price tags into notebook
                                                                                       ______    Cashier
                                                                                       ______    Clean up the pottery wheel demo area
Address_________________________________________________________________               ______    Greeter
                                                                                       ______    Pottery wheel demo
City, State, Zip _________________________________________________________             ______    Promote at The Clay Connection publicity table
                                                                                       ______    Runner
                                                                                       ______    Set up and replenish refreshments table
                                                                                       ______    Wrapper

E-mail __________________________________________________________________           Let us know what you can do to help before the safe.

Are you a member of The Clay Connection? (Check one)                                   ______    Distribute posters           ______ Marketing implementation
                                                                                       ______    Notebook set-up              ______ As needed. Please call me.
   Yes           No         I want to join The Clay Connection**
                                                                                    Number of announcement postcards you need: ________
Participation Fees:
                                                                                    If you wish to have more than 25 postcards, there may be a nominal charge to cover
$55 for members (if registered by April 6, 2006)                                    printing extra cards.
$65 for members (if registered after April 6, 2006)
$75 for non-members                                                                 Make check payable to “The Clay Connection” and mail to:
Past participants (who are also members) are still eligible for the $5 discount.                The Clay Connection Spring Show and Sale
                                                                                                c/o Sheila Ford
**This makes you eligible for the member fee. We will send you membership                       5810 Cannon Lane
information. Send additional $35 annual dues to The Clay Connection.                            Alexandria, VA 22303-1000

                                                                Cracked Pot • Winter 2005/Spring 2006
LOCAL STUDIOS                                lee arts center                            BILL VAN GILDER
                                                                                        An Intimate Afternoon at his studio,
CLASSES &                                   5722 Lee Hwy, Arlington VA                  gallery & school with Lecture & Demon-
WORKSHOPS                                   703-228-0560                                strations. Saturday, April 22 from
                                               10am - 5pm, $75
Baltimore Clayworks
5707 Smith Ave. Baltimore, Maryland         Fountain Making with Herb Weaver
                                                                                        GLEN ECHO POTTERY
21209                                                                                   7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo MD
                                            Saturday March 25, 2006; 10:00-4:00 pm
phone:410-578-1919                                                                      20812, 301-229-5585,
                                            Join us as Herb shares a variety of
                                            delightful options and insights into the
CLASSES - SESSIONS VARY SEE                 art of fountain making.                                                   WORKSHOP
                                            Fee: $110.00
classes.html                                                                            Workshop with Linda MacFarling
                                            Materials Fee: $40.00 (Payable to
                                                                                        This workshop features master studio
                                            instructor on the first day of class)
WORKSHOPS                                                                               potter, Linda MacFarling, who will
A Workshop with Kyle & Kelly Phelps:                                                    demonstrate throwing, altering and
Alternative Treatment on Ceramic Forms,     A Renaissance of Clay and Materials,        assembling her work. A reception and
Saturday-Sunday, April 22-23, 10am-4pm      Workshop with Alfredo Ratinoff              slide show on Friday evening is
This workshop will demonstrate how you      6 weeks, Thursdays, April 5- May            followed by the two-day workshop.
can approach surface treatment on           11,2006: 6:30 pm- 9:00 pm                   April 21, 22 & 23 at Glen Echo Pottery.
ceramic forms outside of using glaze.       This comprehensive workshop will cover      The $150.00 fee includes breakfast and
Glaze application has an important place    medieval techniques and styles for          lunch both days.
within the ceramics world, but there are    ceramic artist interested in achieving
                                            various finishes beyond traditional glaze
other materials that might be a better
                                                                                        HOOD COLLEGE
choice to surface your ceramic forms.                                                   Hood College 401 Rosemont Ave.,
Fee: $160 members;180 non-member            Fee: $220.00
                                                                                        Frederick, MD 21701 301-696-3456 fax
                                            Materials fee: $25.00 (Payable to
Richard Cleaver Slide Lecture               instructor on the first day of class)
                                                                                        art clicking on the Ceramics Program.
Friday, April 28, 7 pm
Nationally known Baltimore artist Rick       Creative Clay Studios                      CERAMICS CLASSES
Cleaver shows slides of his work from                                                   Beginning, intermediate and advanced
the past ten years emphasizing his use of                                               levels; teens and adults; 6week sessions,
                                            5704-E General Washington Drive
paint and other materials in combination                                                workshops; handbuilding, wheel instruc-
                                            Alexandria Va, 22312
with ceramic.                                                                           tion, multiplevisiting artists and special
Fee: Free to members; $5.00 non-member                                                  topics; electric and gas kilns
                                            NEXT CLASS SESSION
                                            SPRING: March 18 - May 14

                                            WORKSHOPS 2006
                                            THE BOTTLE FORM
                                            (SKILL BUILDING)
                                            Learn to throw bottles with Ed & Gail
                                            Workshop offered twice for your
                                            Thursday, March 23 from 6pm ? 10pm
                                            Thursday, April 13 from 12pm - 4pm
                                            $35 for Creative Clay Community/ $40
                                            for all others

                                            RAKU PARTIES
                                            Three opportunities currently scheduled
                                            to Raku your pots with us:
                                            Tuesday, March 28, Sunday, April 9
A selectionof work by Patterson at the      Tuesday, April 18 (naked raku &
                                                                                        The “Kiln Doctor” Mike Swauger at the
Mid Atlantic Conference, photo by Rex       sgraffito only)
                                                                                        Mid Atlantic Conference, photo by Rex
Looney                                      11am to 3pm $50 (base price)
                                                          Cracked Pot • Winter 2005/Spring 2006
CLASSES &                                        Clay Connection June                           Monthly. More information on her
                                                                                                workshops, lectures, and private
                                                 Program                                        instruction is available on her web site
MANASSAS CLAY                                                                                   (
9122 Center Street                               Large Scale Vessel Making: The Tradi-          Free for members; $15 for non-mem-
Manassas, Virginia 20110                         tional Japanese Fire Technique Using a         bers.
(703) 330-1040                                   Contemporary Blowtorch, featuring Jayne                             Shatz.
                                                                                                Other Recent Programs
CLASSES                                          Join us at 1 pm in the Creative Clay Studios
Session 4: June 4 - July 29                      on Sunday, 04 June 2006, when Jane Shatz
                                                                                                Holiday Party & December Program
Session 5: August 13 - October 7                 uses a contemporary blowtorch to demon-
                                                                                                (Terry Gess)
                                                 strate the traditional Japanese fire tech-
Jayne Shatz Pottery                              nique for creating large scale vessels. This
                                                                                                Over 50 people attended our Holiday
                                                 stimulating workshop will provide new
 Jayne Shatz Pottery Studio                                                                     Party at the home of Bath Kendall to
                                                 alternatives to an ancient pottery technique                                                                       share a variety of foods and hear about
                                                 for the contemporary artist potter.
Contact at or call 410-                                                         Terry Gess’ journey in clay. Gess will be
757-6351 for information on location.                                                           a participant in Reston’s Northern
                                                 Jayne Shatz recently moved to Arnold,
                                                                                                Virginia Fine Arts Festival on 20 and 21
                                                 Maryland, after a successful thirty-year
CERAMIC WORKSHOP                                                                                May 2006. Be sure to stop by his booth
                                                 ceramic career based in Albany, New York.
Environmental Ceramics and Glazes -                                                             if you plan to attend. January Program
                                                 This award-winning potter has exhibited
Adorning Your World in Clay - How to                                                            (Glaze Making) Thirteen members
                                                 her environmental sculpture, wall reliefs,
Create Tiled Tables, Wall Murals and                                                            learned how to mix their own glazes
                                                 large-scale vessels, and functional pottery
Decorative Garden Ware”                                                                         during our popular workshop led by
                                                 in galleries throughout New England.
Level of instruction-Beginning to                                                               Marianne Cordyack. If you are interested
Advanced, English only                                                                          in participating a repeat of this workshop
                                                 She has a PhD in Prehistoric Ceramics, a
July 15 & 16, 2006                                                                              later this summer, call her at 703-860-
                                                 Masters degree in Pottery and Sculpture,
 9:30 am- 3:30 pm. each day                                                                     1476 to get your name on the waiting list.
                                                 and an undergraduate degree from the State
Fee is $100.00                                   University of New York at Albany. Her
                                                                                                February Program (Phil Berneberg)
                                                 articles have been published in Ceramics
                                                                                                March 2006 Program
Barbara Wagner
Barbara Wagner 703-503-9037, Fairfax             High School Student Clay                       On Saturday, 04 March 2006, fellow
Station, VA. 22039             Competition & Exhibit                          member and ceramic engineer Phil
                                                                                                Berneberg led an open discussion about
TILE MAKING AND HANDBUILDING                     The Clay Conneciton will be sponsoring         solutions to some very common prob-
CLASSES                                          its High School Student Clay Competition       lems: black coring, bloating, cracking,
10 – 3 hour classes beginning Friday,            & Exhibit (17 to 25 May 2006).                 crazing, rim cracks, s-cracks, shivering,
June 2, 2006; M-W-F June 5 – 23, 2006.                                                          split joints, swelling, and warping, to
Beginning to Intermediate. 25 lb. bag of         The Northern Virginia Community                name a few.
clay, glazes and firing included. $200.00.       College (NVCC) will host this event in its
                                                 Tyler Teaching Gallery (301 North              Many of these problems can be corrected
A Brief Message from                             Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22311-       by following those directions our instruc-
the Editor                                       5987).                                         tors repeated to us over and over during
Roberta Couver is on sabbatical for                                                             those first pottery classes: compression
reasons of “input overload” and did not          We will offer a program pertinent to a         (the bottom), compression (the walls),
submit an article this issue. Roberta has        clay career immediately following the          compreesion (the rim). Slowly drying
come in for more than a fair amount of           awards ceremony (Finding Your Voice            each piece and proper firing also help.
criticism the last year and this writer has      featuring Beth Kendall).
been critical as well. In her defense,                                                          For more information on correcting these
Roberta has worked very hard to take The         Please join us on Thursday, 25 May 2006,       problems, consider attending one of
Clay Connection beyond the coffee klatch         for the Closing Reception (6 pm) followed      Berneberg’s classes or seminars at the
that could. So I say, deal with it or run for    by the Awards Ceremony (7 pm) as we            Glen Echo Pottery
office. There is an election coming up           recognize the best of student ceramics in      ( or at Hood
and, by the way, there is an editor here         the northern Virginia area.                    College (
that would love to be deposed.
Russ Witt                                       Cracked Pot • Winter 2005/Spring 2006
“For What its Worth”                               “November Program” Cont. from Page 1
 Continued from Page 2                             Once sites were selected, she obtained                         P.O. Box 3214
Imagine the same pot sitting in three dif-         and dried clay samples, pounded and                      Merrifield, VA 22116-3214
ferent places: On a crowded table at a clear-      sieved dry clay into a powder; added        
ance sale; on a nicely lit shelf in a mid-         water to produce a slurry, air-dried the        The Clay Connection is a nonprofit organization
range gallery; and in a booth at the               slurry to a working consistency; made           of potters mainly from the Washington D.C. met-
Smithsonian Craft Show. You know very              test tiles; test fired each clay sample;        ropolitan area. Members range from beginners to
well which can most easily support the             performed measurements; calculated              hobbyists to full time professionals who work in a
highest price. And that’s why marked-                                                              broad range of styles. The organization offers pro-
                                                   results; and made clay objects using a          grams designed to provide its members educational
down pots at the Smithsonian Craft Show            variety of forming methods (e.g., coil;         and networking opportunities.
feel so very destructive to the other par-
                                                   extrusion; pinch; press mold; slab; and                         Board Members
ticipants. It’s damaging the brand.
The Smithsonian brand has been built up                                                                     Roberta Couver (703)731-9808
over the years to scream “top of the line.”        She enlisted the aid of several local
                                                                                                           Vice President For Programs
One person’s act of marking down the               professionals (geologist; naturalist;                         Marianne Cordyack
work is a powerful indicator to customers          photographer) as well as scouts from
                                                                                                         Vice President For Membership
that perhaps this brand is not exactly what        Brownie Troop #5618 and students from                    Marianne Cordyack (interim)
they thought it was. The work might not            the Ceramics Program at the Washington-
                                                                                                                Recording Secretary
really be worth it. Maybe they should              Lee High School (under the leadership of                          Jane Holtje
haggle a bit.                                      our fellow-member Joan Bickelhaupt).
                                                                                                                    Barbara Oksanen
Major corporations have entire depart-             The project’s accomplishments included
                                                                                                                 Members at Large
ments devoted to brand management.                 developing alternative test tile design;                        Donna Downing
Even Harvard University and other Ivies,           evaluating shrinkage, warping, porosity,                       Steve Gammicchia
according to a recent New Yorker piece,                                                                             Helen Hensgen
                                                   and color; determining the best forming
spend a lot of time during the admissions          method for a clay body; acquiring                                Past President
process making sure that a Harvard Man                                                                                Sheila Ford
                                                   technical skills; and discovering beautiful
or Woman has the potential to live up to           clays to use as decorative slips.                                Administrative
the brand and thus keep it strong—so               According to her lessons learned, always                           Hospitality
strong that people will pay top dollar to                                                                             Debby Barger
                                                   collect more clay than you think you’ll
get a Harvard degree.
                                                   need; age the clay after it is developed                      Internet Resources
                                                   into a working consistency and before                            Roberta Couver
So I say more power to potters and other
artists who value their work highly and            beginning to work on obtaining test                             Lending Library
                                                   results to increase its plasticity; and                         Caroline Brinkman
want the public to understand that value.
If markdowns send the wrong message,               during testing and experimenting, use the                         Newsletter
                                                   materials in new ways.                        
by all means, don’t mark down. Build up
your brand. But remember van Gilder’s                                                                                 Nominating
advice—raise prices slowly.                        A strong advocate of sharing the                                     Vacant
                                                   knowledge, Marcia has provided a copy                           Internal Publicity
And a tip from the lawyer in me: vendors           of her presentation to our organization.                            Edie Adam
(at the Smithsonian Craft Show, for ex-            Check our web site at                                       Volunteer Coordinator
ample) cannot get together and agree that to                            Helen Hengen
no one will mark down any ware on the              see the presentation in its entirety.                 Organizational Representatives
last day of the show. That would be an
illegal agreement affecting price. But the                Join the Clay Connection!                                Artisans United
                                                                                                                      Lynn Street
Smithsonian can, and perhaps should,
make a rule that no markdowns are allowed            Participate in our workshops/sales, Empty      Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington
                                                     Bowls Charity benefit, clay conference, and                      vacant
at its venue. After all, they have to protect
the brand. Remember, at high-end retail-             other events. Meet other potters and                        Committee Chairs
ers like Tiffany’s, things never go on sale.         receive our newsletter. All skill levels
                                                     welcome. The membership year begins in                       Empty Bowls 2006
(Unless, of course, the items are very                                                                                 Vacant
light—in which case they would be almost             October and the annual dues are $35. Mail
                                                     to Clay Connection c/o Marianne                    Mid-Atlantic Clay Conference 2007
free to begin with.)                                                                                                  Vacant
                                                     Cordyack, 11432 Tanbark Dr., Reston, VA
                                                     20191. Call Marianne (703)860-1476 or                     High School Student
Nancy Udell is a lawyer and a potter                 email her at, if                 Clay Competition & Exhibit
who lives in Maryland. She and her                   you would like more information.                            Steve Gammicchia
husband are moving to Santa Fe, New                                                                             Spring Clearance Sale
Mexico, where she expects notions of                                                                                  Sheila Ford
value to be very different.
                                                Cracked Pot • Winter 2005/Spring 2006                          Holiday Show and Sale
     The Cracked Pot Newsletter
     c/o The Clay Connection
     P.O. Box 3214♦Merrifield, VA 22116-3214

Consolidated                                  —01 June 2006, deadline for submitting   Elections
Calendar                                     inputs to the Summer 2006 Cracked Pot
                                             Newsletter                                Elections will be held later this spring.
—02 April 2006, deadline for submitting      (        If you might be interested in helping
items for the April board meeting agenda                                               accomplish one of the many tasks
                                             —04 June 2006, deadline for submitting    required to keep an organization of
—09 April 2006, Board Meeting                items for the next board meeting agenda   this size performing at this phenom-
                                                                                       enal level, please send an email to
—30 April 2006, deadline for submitting      —11 June 2006, Board Meeting     or call
items for the May board meeting agenda                                                 Roberta Couver at 703-731-9808.
—06 May 2006, Spring Show & Sale                                                       All volunteers are asked to complete a
                                              Volunteerism is the backbone             task appropriate with their skill levels,
—07 May 2006, Board Meeting (one week         of our organization. Without             interests, and time constraints. In
early due to Mothers Day)                     the generous donations of time           addition, members who serve on the
                                              and talents that our members             Board of Directors are asked to attend
—17 to 25 May 2006, High School Student                                                the monthly Board Meetings (always
                                              offer, we would be unable to
Clay Competition & Exhibit                                                             held at 12:30 pm on the second
                                              sponsor our many programs.               Sunday of each month).
—25 May 2006, Closing Reception and
Awards Ceremony for the High School                                                    As an added bonus, meetings are
Student Clay Competition & Exhibit            Volunteering is easy: contact            often scheduled during mealtime, and
                                              our Volunteer Coordinator,               our volunteers seldom walk away
—25 May 2006, Program featuring Beth          Helen Hensgen, at 703-524-7630           hungry!
Kendall                                       and let her know how you
                                              would like to help!!
—04 June 2006, Program featuring Jayne
                                           Cracked Pot • Winter 2005/Spring 2006

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