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Potters Market offers artists and shoppers a place to clay

November 26, 2013

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Troy resident Pritama Chavan uses a one-stroke brush technique she used on fabric in her native India to create pottery in her classes at Oakland Community College.

MADISON HEIGHTS — Nearly 135 skilled artist entrepreneurs will bring some 35,000 pieces of handcrafted pottery to this year’s Potters Market, now in its 38th year.

A holiday tradition in metro Detroit and the largest all-clay pottery sale in the U.S., the event will feature talent from all over the state. The artists run the event as a collective, handling everything from constantly restocking the shelves during the show to checking customers out at one of the 14 cashiers stations.

The Potters Market will feature stoneware, earthenware, porcelain, raku and smoke-fired pottery, in all  shapes and sizes. Among the items are bowls, mugs, pitchers, planters, platters, pots, pins, vases, mirrors, tables, lamps, birdbaths, necklaces, ornaments, statues, tiles and more, in many an eye-catching, color-coalescent glaze.

Some are functional; others are flashy or fun. All are unique. 

Prices in the popular bargain area range from $5-$30. Even more pieces are in the backroom. Attendees can ask staff to check and see if a particular item is available in a different color or size.  

“The Potters Market is a unique opportunity for young artists to be introduced to the public and learn about marketing their wares. It is also a top-notch showcase for the most creative and popular potters in the state who are well-established. It is a great opportunity for pottery lovers to buy work from these artists at good prices,” said Beth Robertson, manager of the event, in a prepared statement. “The advantage of this sale is that we constantly restock.”

In order to be in the sale, the potters all had to prove themselves by meeting high standards of quality and producing enough to keep the shelves stocked. Many of the artists are returning favorites, back with new wares.

Troy resident Pritama Chavan has proved her mettle in a scant two years. She came to the U.S. with her husband and children from India in February of 2011, when her husband was on assignment in the auto industry for three years.

Chavan had painted fabric and pottery in India but never threw clay on the wheel or built pots until she started taking classes through the Oakland Community College ceramics program.

“I was thinking what to do,” Chavan said. “I found Oakland Community College and started taking art classes.

“I love the lab. I am very close to earning my certificate in ceramic technology,” she explained.

She said she volunteered at the Potters Market for a couple hours last year.

“It was awesome,” she said. “I thought, ‘Why shouldn’t I try this?’”

The pieces she will bring to the market this year are both decorative and functional. She marbles colors and uses a one-stroke brush technique that she used on fabric in India.

She said she finds the pottery lab at OCC inspirational, and the teachers and students helpful and friendly.

“People are always ready to help you,” she said.

Chavan also finds inspiration in nature, in hotels and in malls, often snapping photos. She also surfs the Internet for new ideas.

The Potters Market will be at the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union Hall, 876 Horace Brown Drive, one block south of 13 Mile, between I-75 and John R, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 7 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 8. Admission and parking are free. A preview sale will be held 6-9 p.m. Dec. 5, with a $10 admission. 

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