Whenever I drink out of a dimpled mug I made at the Potters Guild a few years ago, I remember how it felt pressing the clay to form the lip, shaping the soft gray mud into something else, uncertain how it would turn out. Using vessels made by other potters, my fingers find the indentations and irregularities, fitting into a cup’s scalloped foot and calculating the tactile difference between a smooth pink glaze blanketing its sandy clay body.
The objects and art that populate my home are often vessels for textured memories and inquiries like this. Part of this pleasure comes from recognizing another person’s labor, touch, and skill. “We’re just so used to buying things, not knowing where they come from, not knowing how they’re made. But it’s something that we all crave and value,” says Claire Di Salvo, a Potters Guild member since 2019. “I have stuff from everyone here, and it means so much to use it. And that changes the way I consume things and appreciate what I’m putting into my body.”
“Ceramics has always been a way of connecting with people,” adds Vianney Paul, a Guild member since 2012. “I want this thing that I made to be in someone’s home and have a relationship. But there’s also the human interaction of coming to the studio.”
Other members agree: When you walk into the Meadow Mill studio, you tend to do a quick lap around. “You have to go to the glaze room, look at this shelf and touch all the things, see what people are doing, and just sort of familiarize yourself with what’s going on,” says Guild President Lindsay Aura Miller, who became a member in 2016.