Local potter to represent Shelby Township

By: Andy Kozlowski, Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 30, 2015

 Mary George, of Shelby Township, will bring her functional pottery pieces to the 40th annual Potters Market in Southfield. The show runs Friday to Sunday, Dec. 4-6.

Mary George, of Shelby Township, will bring her functional pottery pieces to the 40th annual Potters Market in Southfield. The show runs Friday to Sunday, Dec. 4-6.

Photos provided by Howard George

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SOUTHFIELD/SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The 40th annual Potters Market, featuring 140 artists, will return to Southfield from Friday to Sunday, Dec. 4-6.

The popular holiday shopping destination runs 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Parking and admission are free.

There also is a preview event from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, which will cost $10 per person. With an annual attendance of approximately 8,000 visitors, the preview sale is a way to get first dibs on the show’s approximately 35,000 pieces.

A visit to the Potters Market inspired Mary George, of Shelby Township, to learn the art of pottery making at Oakland Community College. She will sell her wares at the market for the 12th year.

George has been channeling her creativity though clay for approximately 23 years. She said she likes to make primarily functional pieces, such as casserole dishes, colanders, bowls and mugs.

“I normally bring about 30 to 40 pieces and come back with three to four pieces,” George said. “(Pottery making) is a hobby, but right now, it’s more like a job because I’m working to get everything done before the show.”

George said she enjoys working with reds, golds and greens, and she signs her name, “Mary,” in each piece.

Last year’s event had organizers on pins and needles, as they changed venues from the UF&CW Union Hall in Madison Heights to the 17,000-square-foot Southfield Pavilion, which is part of the Southfield Municipal Complex at 26000 Evergreen Road.

The fans, however, followed the show to the new location and brought more people with them.

One of the changes during the move to the new venue last year was to arrange collections of pottery by artist. When the show was in Madison Heights, pieces by different artists were all mixed together for the sake of variety.

Improvements at this year’s show include more parking, a refreshment café, vending machines, an ATM and a free coat check. There will be daily pottery demonstrations where artists will throw clay on the wheel in real time and explain their work as they go.

“We have so much wonderful talent,” said Carol Fitzpatrick, co-manager of the Potters Market and a potter herself. “We all help each other; we’re always sharing techniques. We’re a tight group.”

There is a huge variety of stoneware, earthenware, porcelain, raku and smoke-fired pottery in many colorful and eye-catching glazes. Some pieces are strictly functional, while others are more fantastical.

“You have the most established potters in Michigan and the region, as well as the young potters,” said Linda Ashley, spokeswoman for the Potters Market. “Since the potters man the whole thing, there’s a lot of camaraderie.”

Ashley said patrons can utilize a customer service area to find certain pieces, colors or patterns, but half of the fun of the Potters Market is discovering something completely unexpected.

For more information about the Potters Market, call (248) 554-5570 or visit www.thepottersmarket.com.

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