Article Contributed by
Chautauqua Area Potters

Studio to Studio Pottery Tours have been initiated in numerous parts of the United States. Since there is an ongoing desire on the part of the general public to own and give objects that have been made by hand by creative individuals in their own region, such Pottery Tours have become quite successful.

Chautauqua Area Potters, a community of local folks that work with clay, are offering the public an inaugural Pottery Studio Tour on October 20 and 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public will get to meet the artists and several guest potters in seven different locations:

Marvin Bjurlin

Marvin Bjurlin is personally delighted to host four potters that are part of this pottery family, but don’t live near enough to have their own studios open for the tour. Linda Currier and Joe Mooseman are from Erie, PA. Sally Danforth is from East Aurora, NY and Randal Crawford is from Colden, NY. Each of these will be displaying pieces that are very different from his work in wood-fired tableware. As a decorative element each of Marv’s pieces feature impressions made from leaves found in his vegetable garden behind his studio at 25 Maple Avenue in Fredonia. 

Audrey Kay Dowling

Audrey Kay Dowling has been an artist fascinated with the potential of clay for over 45 years. Audrey’s work is primarily autobiographical. Audrey has a deep appreciation of the woods and trees, the flower gardens planted and tended by her English parents, the flying birds and all forms of water. Having been a sailor and canoeist with her husband for many years has made Audrey very aware of the power and the forms that water can take. Her work reflects all of these varied inputs from the natural world.

Audrey has explored many forms of firing and many different clay bodies. Right now she is combining her love of drawing and painting with the clay process using primarily mid range stoneware and porcelain that she electric fires. In addition, she is exploring her love of form and creating her own glazes for pieces created inspired by Lake Erie.

Audrey and her husband, Donald, invite people to explore Audrey’s use of clay on this special Chautauqua Area Pottery Tour weekend. The Dowlings will be serving free refreshments at their gallery and studio location, Portage Hill Art Gallery. It is located on Rt 394, halfway between Mayville and Westfield, NY.

Lisa Eppolito

Lisa Eppolito owns and operates Wayfaring Potter on Seymour Street in Fredonia, NY. She makes functional ceramics and teaches classes out of her studio. She primarily makes wood fired pottery and fires her vessels at Scott Creek Fire Place in Sheridan, NY. She finds inspiration from her home and creates her pots to encourage unique glaze patterns. 

The studio of Wayfaring Potter will feature two visiting artists, Anne Mormile and Jessie Simmons. Mormile lives in Great Valley and teaches at St. Bonaventure University’s Visual and Performing Arts Department.. She creates zoomorphic figurines and carvings onto her functional and sculptural ceramics. Simmons resides in Erie, where she is an art instructor and runs the ceramic studio at the Bloom Collaborative. She incorporates animal themes in her pottery. 

Throughout the weekend, all three artists will feature demonstrations of their process at the pottery wheel and hand building. 

Ann Janik

Ann Janik is most interested in ceramic surface enrichment. The spruce boughs, flowers, leaves, and birds that often appear on her pieces pay tribute to her deep affection for the outdoors. Visit Ann at 9 Beach Road in Dunkirk.

Marcia Merrins

Marcia Merrins is an artist that loves to play with mud. “Kniti Griti Works reflects my imagination,” she said. “Since I began working in clay, my goal has been to make unique forms that bring as much joy and merriment to its owner as it does when I am creating them. ‘Footed Bowls’ are created from stoneware clay slabs and handbuilt. They are thematically based on interpretations of popular footwear designs or well known characters. If there is an idea that intrigues me, I plow through the kinks until it meets my satisfaction.”

Joining Marcia will be friend and fellow potter, Paula Coats. Paula came to pottery later in life following a career in secondary education. She offers a variety of wheel thrown and handbuilt functional pottery as well as decorative sculptures. Visit Marcia’s studio at 42 Rosalyn Court in Fredonia.

Ron Nasca

Ron Nasca opened the doors of Mudslingers in 2004. He attended Fredonia State and studied ceramics with Marvin Bjurlin. He describes himself as a “devout functionalist” whose work is strictly stoneware. The studio at 18 Water Street in Fredonia hums throughout the day. Several potters will be displaying their body of work during the studio tour. Jack Swanson, Amy Snyder, and Ted Lee will be available at different times to discuss their inspiration and demonstrate their work.

Jim & Pat Reno

Jim and Pat Reno have been making pottery for 44 years, and have been working in porcelain for the past 30 years. It is all hand decorated with much whimsy by Jim, then glazed and high fired to be food safe functional ware, as well as being beautiful. Stop by and enjoy the work and the surroundings at 6007 Rte. 54 in Dewittville.