Hilltown 6 Pottery Tour and Sale Returns – MassLive.com | Candle Made Easy

Robbie Jo Heidinger of Weshampton is working on a new range of porcelain called Pompeian Modern, inspired by the simple glass forms of the 7th century BC. BC, but is made of porcelain.

“These are small works that feel good in the hands. They are tactile, elegant and have a connection history. They’re shapes that have haunted me for 30 years, so I finally took the time to research them,” said Heidinger, one of the potters participating in the 16th annual Hilltown 6 Pottery Tour and Sale on Saturday and Sunday, Dec July 23rd and 24th.

Visitors meet the potters and their guest artists. There will be educational demonstrations and hands-on activities: watch a potter transform a lump of clay into a pot, climb into a giant wood-fired oven, watch a ceramic artist create a pot that looks like a stone freshly pulled from the earth looks .

Nine Hilltown potters will open their studios and kilns to the public.

Sixteen years ago, a group of six Hilltown potters decided to get together to let the public know what they do and where they live and work. Thus Hilltown 6 was born.

“Over the years we’ve added three more excellent potters and a whole host of educational programs to create what we’re known for today,” said Christy B. Knox, a pottery host. “The name stuck and is a tribute to the original six, and this year those six represent the 26 participating potters.”

The potters on the tour offer a wide range of functional and sculptural ceramics.

From mugs that feel good in your hands to vases that hold flowers beautifully, each piece of ceramic is made with care and a great deal of pottery expertise.

Other shapes include teapots, dinnerware, pitchers, saucepans, and serving dishes.

There are also sculptural objects, including boat shapes and sculptural shapes that look like polished stone, to name a few.

The potters on this tour use a variety of construction techniques, surface decoration, and firing methods. Pots are wheel-made, hand-built from slabs of clay, hewn from a block of local clay and slip-cast.

Surface decoration is achieved through techniques such as slips and glazes, embossed surfaces, water etching and a torch technique.

“Our potters and guests use a wide variety of firing processes. Wood-burning, gas, electric, solar, salt-fired, and soda-fired stoves. We fire just about every way clay can be fired, and all to great effect!” said Knox.

The tour has received national recognition. Locally, it has become an annual family gathering of artists, clients and ceramics enthusiasts. Easily accessible from New York, Boston, Hartford, Albany and the Berkshires, the tour draws visitors from across the region and beyond.

“I’ve never had a pottery tour that I didn’t enjoy; What a great opportunity to delve into an artist’s studio and life, these are all such rich experiences,” said Knox. “Nevertheless, our tour is unique in that our educational focus brings with it the opportunity not only to find beautiful and unique pots, but also to show and explain how they are made.”

Hilltown 6 is a group of well-known potters from the mountain towns of western Massachusetts:

Robbie Heidinger, Christy Knox, Maya Machin, Michael McCarthy, Hiroshi Nakayama, Mark Shapiro, Eric Smith, Constance Talbot and Sam Taylor. 2022 guests include: Hayne Bayless, Ben Eberle, David Eichelberger, Justine and Grant Figura, Annette Gates, Ellen Grenadier, Jamie Guggina, Janel Jacobson, Naysan McIlhargey, Mathew Meunier, Will Swanson, Sam Staas (intern), and Ikuzi Teraki Jeanne Bisson, Sumiyo Toribe, Jerilyn Virden, Tom White and Dallas Wooten.

“The hills of western Massachusetts are so beautiful in July, a hidden gem; lush and green, with rivers, waterfalls and valleys along the way,” said Knox, encouraging visitors to drive some backcountry roads and seek out the remote places these potters call home.

“I work and create by myself for many months at a time. It’s healthy for me to talk to people and get their reaction to what I’m doing,” Heidinger said. “What other people see and what they are attracted to teaches me a lot. I also enjoy teaching and describing my process. Pottery is so process intensive that it’s nice to have people eager to hear and understand everything that goes into making a clay object.”

There are a few pieces associated with Heidinger: Twylas are handcrafted geometric vessels that express movement and speed. They are primarily displayed in galleries and large white spaces: “Clients are drawn to my smaller pieces during this sale, which are comfortable to hold and functional.”

The Hilltown 6 will donate a portion of its proceeds to local elementary schools for art supplies.

The tour is free and runs from 10am to 5pm both days.

Visit hilltown6.com for more information and to download a map.

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