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Clay in all its Fascinating Forms — and the Artists Who Love It

Clay Artists

The fourth annual Clay Way Studio Tour of artists who do ceramics and pottery in the Tri-state region will be held  on the weekend of Oct. 17 and 18. 

As always, some artists will show their work in the studios of other artists, so that there will be a total of 15 artists and nine studios in two states. 

The tour is free and self-guided; go to the website at www.clayway.net to see the map. At the northeast corner, in West Cornwall, Conn., is Jane Herrold, easy to spot on the Sharon Goshen Turnpike (Route 128), where she also has a little retail shack near the road. Joining her for the ClayWay will be artist Alexandra Fitzgerald. 

Cornwall’s Todd Piker is on South Kent Road (Route 7), just a bit north of Christine Owen, who is in Warren, Conn., on the Cornwall Road (also known as Route 45). Joining Owen will be Angelo Estrada and joining Piker will be Shana Petersen.

Joy Brown, possibly the most famous ceramic artist in the region, has her studio open on Segar Mountain Road (Route 7) in Kent, Conn., not far from the studio of Alison Palmer at Stone Fences in Kent, where visitors can also see the work of Missy Stevens. 

Palmer is beloved among ceramic artist fans not only for her work, which is quirky and often involves animals (ask about her burial urns), but also because she fires large soda kilns and wood kilns each year; artists from the region convene, and fire their work with her. Palmer and Stevens are the only artists who will also be in their studios on Friday, Oct. 16 (and Palmer’s work can be found online at Shopify). 

Swinging north from those Kent artists, look for Brendan Moore on Nodine Pasture Road in Kent (also showing at his studio will be Dan Bellow). Will Talbot is at the far southeastern end of the map, in Washington, Conn.

Over in New York State are two artists in Wingdale: Amy Brenner is on Old Branch Road and Ann Heywood is just south, on Askins Road.

The Clay Way tour is a chance to meet the artists in person, and connect a face to beloved work. The work of Joy Brown, for example, is well-known in the area: Her joyful and cuddly ceramic pieces have been on display in the center of Kent and often peek out of the gardens of area residents. She is as warm and welcoming as her clay figures, and her studio is a treasure trove of little hidden corners in which to poke around.

The artists also have pieces for sale, including some that are less perfect and less expensive than some of the pieces they might sell online or at a gallery. 

Ann Heywood is opening her Wingdale studio this year for Clay Way for the second time. 

She recently retired from 30 years as an art conservator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and has been making one-of-a-kind pieces at her Wingdale studio. Her work has an understated almost Japanese quality. 

“I am attracted to simple lines and elegant forms,” she said in an email, “and I enjoy playing with the contrast and interaction of glazes with a dark clay body.  

“I mostly throw on the wheel, but also hand-build some vases, trays and soap dishes. I fire primarily in my own electric kiln, but also in Alison Palmer’s soda kiln and her wood kiln.”

All the artists participating in the tour are respecting social distance guidelines.

“I will be setting up outdoors on my covered porch this year and will be following safety protocols: One group at a time, one way traffic, and masks will be required,” Heywood said. 


Clay Way is on Oct. 17 and 18 (and Alison Palmer and Missy Stevens will also be in the studio on Oct. 16). 

The map of the studios can be found at www.clayway.net, which also has the complete list of participating artists. There are links to many of the artists’ websites or Instagram pages, but to learn more about some of the artists you will need to search online. 

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