By Ramona du Houx
Handmade pottery has become desirable to collect across America. Maine has been leading the way with small pottery workshops and dedicated potters for years.
Portland, Maine has one of the oldest pottery stores in the Old Port. The Maine Potters Market has been supplying artisan’s wares since 1978 and gallery host potters from across the state.
The pop up gallery in Hallowell, Maine for the holidays is showing a variety of central Maine potters that have been hard at work pursuing their passions for years.
Any potter knows that the actual sensation of being connected to the earth with your hands as one brings an object to life is special.
Now, people are realizing handmade products have that something special that can’t be found in mass-produced items. And pottery has become the trend. As a New York Times article stated:
Handcrafted small-batch ceramics are everywhere these days. You see them in trendsetting boutiques like the Primary Essentials in Brooklyn and Still House in Manhattan, artfully arranged in window displays and on shelves like totems of good taste.
They can be spotted in the stylized pages of Kinfolk, Apartamento and other cult magazines, often paired with organically shaped cutting boards and sun-dappled potted succulents. Vogue even devoted two pages in this year’s September issue to a new wave of independent ceramists.
And among certain creative-minded millennials, ceramics have replaced jewelry and furniture made from salvaged lumber as the craft du jour, with access to choice kilns as a status symbol to be flaunted on Pinterest and Instagram.
“There is beauty in imperfection and having items that are really handmade,” said the fashion designer Steven Alan, who populates his boutiques with textural American and Japanese ceramics in neutral hues.
The irony is the Holiday gift shop in Hallowell can only afford to continue until the end of the month. A previous shop in the town that specialized in artisan pottery and other unique wares closed last year.
If they people of the area understood how popular handmade crafts have and are becoming, maybe there could be a way for the pop up gallery to continue.
Maine potters were leading the way, long ago. The arts need community and state support.