Barbara Lane, the owner of EarthStar Pottery in North Hartland, keeps an organized user-friendly space. Anyone can peek behind the partition that differentiates the gallery from the workspace. Her teaching studio is packed with reference materials, buckets of glaze and several work surfaces. Customers who frequent the storefront are likely to catch an artist rolling out clay, glazing their ware or unloading the kiln as a backdrop to the beautiful finished pieces lining the gallery shelves.
This space that you've created is unlike many of the studios in the area, both in size and offerings. What did you learn
along the way? How did you read the signs so to speak?
People wanted to handbuilding versus wheel throwing. That is very rare, to teach handbuilding. They wanted the classes. That has shifted from students wanting to learn it to just wanting to do it. So I have backed off as a teacher and people are more “doing it.” Handbuilding is a really strong, creative outlet that does not require a lot of skill to begin with whereas wheel pottery… to be able to throw even a reasonable pot is difficult. It takes some learning in itself but handbuilding is quite easy. Being professional at handbuilding and getting really skilled pots takes time as well but I’m finding that people are really teaching themselves in ways I’ve never envisioned which is really exciting for me. Then I don’t have to be the person in charge. They come in with ideas. And since I’ve been here there are so many more ideas available online and that’s a real change. Students know what they want to make. They know how they want to approach it. It may take some learning and facilitation on my part but they are not coming in as blank slates at all. At the moment I am not taking any beginning students.
How many students do you carry right now?
Tell me about the Gallery.
The gallery started out as two artists…John Quimby, a former chef in the area and my work. These are the primary people even now. Then I added some friends teaching at the League, Karen Rothwell, Tim McCosker, Patty Goodman. As I was getting to know people, I would add to the gallery. Now there are about 28 local potters from a radius of about 40 miles in both VT and NH.
Now all of them are friends. They are a community that I never envisioned. I never envisioned that there would be so much community energy involved here.
If someone comes into
the gallery and purchases a piece of pottery, what are they getting?
They are getting creativity. That’s what we are selling here. They are also getting something that was made locally, that says Vermont or New England. They get something that they can use daily, something that is practical, something reasonably priced. The gallery carries craft prices, in general.
They get a memento of their time here in the state of Vermont. A lot of times that is what they want.
Why would someone pick EarthStar over another place?
A local person with a name actually made everything here. Pieces are signed. A lot of other places around are companies with company designs. You are getting creativity and the individuality of a person. They are also getting an energy hit. People resonate with the space and the work.
EarthStar Pottery is
open consistently Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4pm. Look for the open sign
during the week when classes and open hours are in session. Call ahead for your