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Potters Market to feature more than 33,000 items

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published December 4, 2019

 Works created by pottery artist Carrie Wiederhold, of Clinton Township, will be on display at this year’s Potter Market.

Works created by pottery artist Carrie Wiederhold, of Clinton Township, will be on display at this year’s Potter Market.

Photos provided by Carrie Wiederhold

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SOUTHFIELD — As the largest pottery sale in the country, the Potters Market returns for its 44th year Dec. 5-8 at the Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen Road.

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

There will be more than 33,000 pieces of pottery for sale.

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.

Bridget Blosser, the manager of the Potters Market, said that each year the event offers a unique range of pieces by local artists.

“It’s a wonderful shopping venue for handmade gifts — everything is, of course, handmade — everything is made out of clay, and we have a little bit of metal and woodworking pieces along with our pottery,” Blosser said.

Out of 148 artists being featured at this year’s show, around 20 are new to the market, Blosser said.

“We have a lot of new potters, and they come from all around the country, and they’re bringing new ideas,” she said. “Functional wear to whimsical pieces, sculptures, jewelry, ornaments, mugs — anything you can think of made in clay, we can make.”

Blosser said a portion of the market is sectioned off for items priced at $30 and under, which is referred to as the bulk area.

In 2016, the aisles at the market were made wider to accommodate more people. Around 8,000 people attend the market each year, according to organizers.

Back again this year are daily pottery demonstrations at the event, as well as a cafe and vending machines.

Two of this year’s artists include Clinton Township residents Carrie Wiederhold and Julie Saponaro.

It is Wiederhold’s third year at the event. Her pottery passion began as a part-time job, helping in a studio in 2005. It wasn’t soon after that she started herself.

In 2012, she moved from Nashville back to Michigan, eventually opening her own studio in Macomb Township called Gailanna Pottery. She “just kinds of get lost” when working with pottery wheels, calling it a “mesmerizing” process.

“You get away from your entire world,” she said. “You get away from the stress, you get away everything and are just focused on creating something.”

She keeps some of her pieces, but predominantly sells the majority of them. She curates art shows, like the Potters Market, and offers independent studio time for artists to perfect their craft.

Aside from the comradery and seeing other artists’ skill levels, the general atmosphere of the show brings her back for more.

“The energy around the show, there’s no other energy like that I can feel,” Wiederhold said. “It’s just such a good, positive place to be.”

Saponaro is in her second year of participation, and in her third year of working with clay.

She’s made about 70 pieces of jewelry for this year’s show, including necklaces and adjustable leather cord bracelets, in her kiln. She feels more comfortable with handmade items than the pottery wheel.

She admitted her first experience in 2018 was “overwhelming” — at least for a little while.

“By the second day, I was in it full force,” Saponaro said. “I absolutely loved it. I knew right away that I was gonna do it again.”

Artists put pieces of themselves into their work. Now an artist herself, she understands the process that takes place behind the scenes and how intimate it becomes.

“It’s amazing how it starts as a primitive lump of clay,” said Saponaro, whose work can be found at www.cypresscornerclay.etsy.com. “That’s it. It’s a process.”

Each year, event organizers also choose a charity to support. This year, participating artists will donate their artwork, and the proceeds from the sales will be given to North Star Reach.

North Star Reach is a nonprofit organization and family camp in Pinckney that serves children with chronic and life-threatening health challenges in the Great Lakes region.

Blosser said North Star Reach was chosen because it is dedicated to a cause close to her late husband’s heart. Blosser’s husband, Charlie Blosser, started the Potters Market 43 years ago.

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