Minnesota Pottery Tour II

OK, here we go, the story of a pottery tour like nothing I have seen before. Bob Briscoe was my host and this is the venue. Bob has this event nailed. It ran like clockwork. Eight potters including himself set up their work here. Five tents, two potters in each of four and then one for the wrapping and sales area.

Kent McLaughlin, NC

Each person pretty much had whatever space they needed to set out their work. The trestle tables and the shelving units are all uniform, all provided by Bob. Simple, flipping simple designs but mighty mighty effective.

Matthew Metz, NY

When the sun shines it really helps show the pots off at their best and the sun did shine, the wind also blew, the snow and rain fell a tiny bit and the temperature got a touch low but the sun did shine and the people they didn’t care, they came out all the same. A hardy bunch they were.

I do rather enjoy Matthew’s work, beautifully illustrated, sgraffito and sprigging. There’s a lovely vase sitting in the window sill just to the right of me now in fact.

I don’t know how many pots were on display in total but I know that I had very few compared to most given that I had shipped them across the world for the event but I think I had about 150 pieces there. How many were wrapped and sold in total as yet I don’t know but I have asked Bob.

The fire was always lit, all day and late into the evenings, one day it was a particularly welcome addition, it was a good place for people to sit and chatter, drink a local beer or two, maybe eat some food and contemplate further pottery purchases. Bob had a selection of local beers on tap, visitors were welcome to sample them and Mary, Bob’s incredible wife and her team of helpers fed people all weekend. Not just the 8 potters but the visitors too. I believe that they planned to cater for 2500 people, everyone was welcomed into their home to eat and enjoy their visit.

The lovely Dan Finnegan was present too with a stunning array of pots including many of the bonkers birds, most of which flew off to new homes during the show. Dan had a storming show, I’m hoping he took more photos than I did, I don’t seem to have many to chose from. He brought with him Jason and Beth as helpers (each potter has to bring a helper to allow the event to run smoothly). Beth was my elf but Jason did attempt to be tea elf though I fear Dan has not trained him too well on that duty which was a surprise to me. He did try though.

Beth spent lots of time wrapping pots. That was a very special part of the event, the exhibitors duties were to talk to the public about pots, we didn’t deal with any sales, that all went through the sales tent and every day we were given a breakdown of sales. Honestly, just brilliant!

On the sunday morning I did manage to pop out with couple of others to get a look at two other studios. We popped over to see Jeff Oestrich and his guests and to Linda Christianson and her guests.

Oh the Bandana Pottery pair, Michael Hunt and Naomi Dalgleish, crikey they don’t half do something special. I visited them on the slipware tour back in 2011 and was blown away by their work. They were exhibiting at Linda Christianson’s place, what a lovely lady she is, so so gentle and so very welcoming and warm. By the time I got there on the sunday though there were not many of Michael and Naomi’s pots left to chose from

Linda’s house is the incredible place in the photo above. She invited me to look inside to see what the traditional places are like but frustratingly we hadn’t time. I would very much like to go back there some time. I brought back a mug of Linda’s which is proper lovely, just like herself.

One of the jobs done by the fabulous team of helpers is that being demonstrated here by Beth. Bob had a fleet of golf carts to ferry visitors up and down his drive on. People parked in a field at the bottom, this was particularly useful for many people with many bundles for the return journey.

So all in all it was quite a weekend, and that’s not mentioning the meal with all the other potters at Connee Mayeron’s house which is stuffed full of incredible art and has a staircase that is something else entirely, there were the cheese chunks were they called? Vile whatever they were, the lady who wanted to know had I been an artist before I was a potter, and the lady who seemed hell bent on telling me my life would be rather dreadful if  I didn’t get myself a husband quick smart. I met a lady who I have been selling pots to over the internet for years and a man who had done the same degree course as me. Of course there was music and singing, there was great food and maybe a smattering of moonshine, there were wonderful warm welcoming people and fabulous conversations and new friendships made and older friendships enjoyed again.

And that…. was just the start of the trip.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Minnesota Pottery Tour II

  1. Mandy Dailly says:

    Sounds incredible H!! Looking forward to the next installment!! 😀 x

  2. Anna says:

    Whew! You’ve seen the East, the South and now the midwest…you will need to plan a trip to the SW and to the far West next!

  3. Hannah that sounds wonderful. Perhaps you need to take an assistant next time you go!! (I’m volunteering!) It sounds as though we could learn a thing or two from your experience there. It sounds a little like the Open House event in Brighton where people open their home every week-end through May.
    I’m really wanting to get a better look at some of those pots. Anyway see you at Rufford in a few weeks.

  4. KateUK says:

    Oh my, what wonderful pots. Looks a fabulous event.

  5. Sandy Miller says:

    Morning! We were there!! Your work is stunning! It was our first trip on the tour and we camped at the state park for the weekend. I was blown away by what Bob is doing up there! If we potters want to sell pots we should all be taking a lesson from Bob and Mary! The amount of pots that sold was amazing and the organization of the entire event is finely tuned.
    Oh and loved Dan Finnegan’s work, first time I had ever seen his work up close and touchable, the birds are the bomb!
    So glad you had a great trip!

  6. Peter says:

    An amazing event, thank you for giving us a taste of it through your blog. I can’t imagine such a thing happening in my part of the world, but there are some interesting lessons to learn that can be scaled down to fit. I like the idea of the potter just being there to talk with people about the work, and a “wrapper’ to deal with the selling and packing side of things. The generous hospitality offered with the open fire and the beer on tap was something applicable too. It is something to do with creating a place where people find it fun to stay, and they feel welcome there. I am thinking of ways of improving things for visitors at our studio here, and your post has given me food for thought! Px

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *