Annual Potters Market returns to Southfield

By: Kayla Dimick, | Southfield Sun | Published November 30, 2016

SOUTHFIELD — Sometimes, it’s a struggle to find the perfect holiday gift.

With the largest pottery sale in the country in metro Detroit’s own backyard, though, shopping might prove a little easier.

In its 41st year, shoppers can peruse the Potters Market Dec. 2-4 at the Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen Road.

 Artist Ruth Rycoft talks about her clay house with Donna Dunsmore, of Chesterfield Township, last year during the annual Potters Market at the Southfield Pavilion. The market will take place Dec. 2-4 this year.

Artist Ruth Rycoft talks about her clay house with Donna Dunsmore, of Chesterfield Township, last year during the annual Potters Market at the Southfield Pavilion. The market will take place Dec. 2-4 this year.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

The free event will be held 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 3, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4. Patrons can attend a special preview of the market for a $10 admission fee 6-9 p.m. Dec. 1. Parking at the pavilion is free.

The market recently relocated from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Hall in Madison Heights to Southfield, organizers said, and the transition has made the event grow larger than ever.

Carol Fitzpatrick, co-manager of the Potters Market, said event organizers are settled into their new home in Southfield, making a few changes each year to improve the event.

“We really needed to expand. We have 27,000 square feet here, which is tremendous — it’s fantastic,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everybody has put their heads together, and we tweaked it. The aisles are larger and they’re not as congested. People can actually stand in the aisles without getting bumped into. We’ve made so many good changes.”

Also new this year are daily pottery demonstrations at the event, as well as a refreshment café, a food truck, vending machines, an ATM and free coat check.

Fitzpatrick said patrons can easily find gifts for $30 or less, but the market also does showcase items for those with a larger budget. No matter the price range, shoppers will be able to find a one-of-a-kind, handmade gift.

“What’s unique about our show is that it’s only pottery and only ceramic art. It’s amazing to think the patrons that come are only interested in buying gifts of ceramic pottery,” Fitzpatrick said.

Around 8,000 people or more will attend the event, Fitzpatrick said.

According to event organizers, the Potters Market features over 135 potters, who offer nearly 35,000 pieces of pottery ranging from pots, vases, platters, tiles and mugs, to birdbaths, jewelry, sculptures, lamps, tables and clay products.

Lonnie Bodzin, of Southfield, will be showcasing his work again at the market this year. Bodzin said he has been involved with the event since its inception in 1975.

A retired emergency room doctor, Bodzin said he has earned his certification as a ceramic artist. He worked as a potter during his emergency room days and still does now through retirement.

Bodzin said he creates primarily functional pottery, like platters and dishes.

“In the ER, you’re either working — and we usually work 12-hour shifts — or you’re at home. You don’t have any patients that become your own. When you’re out of the ER, you’re out. The free time you have is your own free time, and you can arrange your schedule to fit into just about anything,” Bodzin said. “It’s worked out very well, working in emergency medicine and continuing on with pottery. It actually kind of complemented it.”

Selling his wares at the Potters Market has been fulfilling, Bodzin said.

“It’s a great advocation and a wonderful hobby, being able to sell your work. It shows that other people appreciate your work to the point that they consider it worthy of consideration,” Bodzin said. “You can give away only so many presents, but when people view your work and appreciate your work enough to pay for it, you know you’re doing a reasonably good job.”

For more information, visit thepottersmarket.com.