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.
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
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
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