Charach Gallery showcases Pewabic artists

West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 16, 2016

 Pewabic featured artist Susan Beiner created this blue poppy vessel. Beiner will lead a free tour of the Pewabic show at the Janice Charach Gallery at noon April 17.

Pewabic featured artist Susan Beiner created this blue poppy vessel. Beiner will lead a free tour of the Pewabic show at the Janice Charach Gallery at noon April 17.

Photo provided by Linda Ashley

WEST BLOOMFIELD — At 88 years young, Marie Woo, of West Bloomfield, spends her days molding ceramic pieces. 

From vessels to wall art to three-dimensional sculptures, Woo has created a variety of ceramics since the 1960s, she said. 

Woo is one of the most accomplished ceramic artists in the state. She studied with Maija Grotell, who founded ceramics at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and has taught at the University of Michigan. 

While studying “general art,” she said, she “just became interested in clay” and began working with ceramics. Woo used to be on the board for Pewabic, which she describes as a vibrant nonprofit organization.

Pieces by prominent ceramic artists, including Woo, will be on display at the Janice Charach Gallery, located inside the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, through April 21. 

The exhibit, titled “Abiogenesis: From Clay to Community,” is a partnership between Detroit-based Pewabic and the gallery. Pewabic was founded in 1903 and is a renowned pottery and national historic landmark. It is one of three historic arts-and-crafts-era potteries still in existence. Pewabic was founded by Mary Chase Perry Stratton, who was an innovator in the field of ceramics. 

This is the first time that the two art institutions have joined forces to show the work of ceramic artists. 

“I haven’t seen the show yet, and I’m looking forward to it,” Woo said.

The collection will span the two-floor gallery and will feature 25 artists. Susan Beiner, an associate professor at Arizona State University and a Pewabic alumnus and teacher, will be featured, along with others. 

“These artists comprise a who’s who of the most creative and groundbreaking ceramic artists plying their crafts across Michigan and the country,” Kelly Kaatz, director of the gallery, said in a press release. “It is a great tribute to the vitality of Pewabic that each and every one of the artists has a passionate history with the organization. We are greatly honored to partner with Pewabic in presenting the exciting work of these gifted ceramic artists.”

Beiner will lead an adult workshop in slip cast assemblage 1-4 p.m. April 13 at Pewabic, 10125 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit. For more information or to register for the workshop, call (313) 626-2062. Beiner will also lead a free tour of the exhibit at the gallery at noon April 17. 

The Janice Charach Gallery is located inside the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, 6600 W. Maple Road in West Bloomfield. 

For more information, visit www.charachgallery.org or call (248) 432-5579.