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Clay Bodies Pottery, LLC

The pottery was founded in 2002 when we formed the LLC and rented an unfinished space in Branford, CT.  After several months of re-wiring and putting in new floors, walls and a staircase, we opened for business unaware of the steep learning curve involved in the nuts and bolts of running a pottery studio.

During most of the year, the downstairs area is dedicated to wet clay.  This is where our wheels are located as well as a clay extruder, slab roller and hand building table.  Upstairs are the kilns and  glazing and storage areas for materials used to mix glazes.

Once a year we clean, reorganize and convert the downstairs into a gallery for the Open Studios of the Shoreline Arts Trail.  After the holiday season, the nice displays are put away and the area once again becomes a working studio.

Even though we are not usually set up for display we welcome visitors by chance or by appointment.  There is still lots to see and talk about.

Patricia Rist...

It’s all my husband’s fault.

If his new job hadn’t required moving to Connecticut, I would still be teaching in and running chemistry labs at Drew University in New Jersey during the day and serving on 3 boards of education in my “spare” time.  Our youngest son was still in high school and after soccer season ended he suddenly had many empty hours. I signed up both of us for a ceramics course at the Guilford Handcraft Center.  He never went back after the first session, but I did. The clay really grabbed me. I never wanted to stop.

Eventually I met other like minded people through the courses and together we formed the Clay Bodies Pottery, LLC in rented space in Branford.

That was more than a decade ago now.

I love working with clay. Sometimes I am fascinated with way the clay “memorizes” the impressions of other materials. I use old pieces of embroidery, tatting and crochet to create patterns in the clay before I build dishes or containers from the slabs…and I love having permanent versions of the fiber arts my grandmother and great-aunts created. Their originals are now stained and mended, but that doesn’t show on my pots!

At other times, working with clay feels more like cartooning in 3-D (especially when I am making salt and pepper animals or larger critters or gnomes.)  A little tweak here and there can make a big difference in attitude.

Recently I have found other ways to combine the fiber and clay: using micro-macramé to create necklaces with ceramic pendants and as embellishments on jars and vases.


Jane Strauss Novick...

After my retirement as a school social worker in Hamden, with a part time private practice in New Haven, I rediscovered clay which had been a consuming interest and occupation 30 years ago.  I was part of a cooperative pottery in Rochester, N.Y. before setting up my own studio at home, first in Rochester and then in New Haven.  I have taken classes and workshops over the years and the rest of my knowledge has come through the more painful process of “trial and (lots of) error.”  As is true of most activities as one ages, the mind may be willing but the body protests loudly.  Nevertheless, I count myself as one of the lucky ones in having a consuming passion at this point in my life.

I have always responded to the earthy, organic nature of clay and try to communicate that in my pots.  I use a variety of natural and manmade implements to give textural interest to my pieces.  I make both functional and decorative ware and fill custom orders.

During the past couple of years, I have collaborated successfully with Debbie McCormack of Voda Soap, making soap dishes to go with the soaps.  Our work seems synergistic in nature and customers seem to enjoy mixing and matching soaps and dishes for themselves and for gifts.  





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