25th Annual St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour


One of my favorite springtime events in the world of clay and pottery is happening in ten days.  It is the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour.  And this year the tour will be celebrating its 25th anniversary.  When the tour started in 1993 attendance was around 700-800 people.  This year it is expected to draw an audience of 5000 visitors!

The St. Croix River Valley, in Eastern Minnesota, is home to a large community of potters. Many of these potters are involved in the annual St Croix Valley Pottery Tour.  This year, as in years past, seven potters will host the three-day event at their private homes/studios.  Each host potter has invited other potters from across the country to be their guests and to share their wares.  This year 52 guest artists have been invited to be on the tour. 

I love going on the tour each year for so many reasons.  It is an exciting time of year and it is felt by all in attendance; the hosts, the guest potters, the behind the scene workers/helpers and of course the visitors.  I have found everyone attending the tour to always be kind and welcoming!  When you step out of your vehicle and you are greeted by someone - another visitor whom you may or may not know, by one of the hosts/guest artists, by the helpers/workers, maybe a 1st time visitor, clay rookies, high school or college students, other potters - professional or hobbyist, or art collectors.  Some visitors are excited as they are the early bird shoppers who arrive at the studio right at 10am or before.  They are looking for those special pots that they have been waiting a year to shop for again!  For some visitors this may be the only pottery event they attend all year, while other visitors are just meandering around the grounds taking it all in.  They might be looking to see who is also visiting at that studio and/or what new pieces of pottery are on display this year. 

The gracious hospitality shown by all the hosts and their guest potters I always find to be over the top!  The hosts offer refreshments for their visitors. The refreshments vary from studio to studio.  You could find food trucks, kegs of craft beer, made to order pizza baked in on site brick ovens, coffee, tea, wine, cider and tables with tidbits of delicious food.  And of course, many studio stops are serving these delicious tidbits on or in handmade pottery!!

I love the inspiration I personally gather every year from the tour.  I so enjoy that you can pick up and hold the pots, rubbing their surfaces, enjoying the glaze applications and any other decorative work.  I always learn so much and look forward to conversations I have with the artists.  I also love the inspiration from the studio grounds and surroundings.  The atmosphere is so beautiful no matter what the weather and each studio landscape is unique. 

Not only do the potters work full time making their wares, but many of them have built their own homes, studios and other out buildings; a work ethic I respect and admire.  I have noticed there are bodies of water very near to most studio stops on the tour.  You will find Sunrise Lake, Sunrise River, Fish Lake, Goose Creek and of course, the St. Croix River.  I believe living around or near water is a natural gift that can help one heal, give one comfort and inspire our souls. 

In closing, I would like to personally invite you to visit the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour on May 12, 13, and/or May 14, 2017.  There is no charge for the public to attend the three-day studio tour.  It is open to all!  If you are able to attend, you will be a part of celebrating the 25th year and supporting this extremely talented group of people!   And if you are like my husband and I, you can never have too many beautiful pieces of pottery in your home.  We bring bags of pots home every year to share with our family and friends.  

You can find out more information by visiting:

http://www.minnesotapotters.com/index_home.html

There you will find dates, times, maps to all the studio stops, lodging, meet this years’ host potters and guest potters, and view past guest potters, past tour posters, along with much more.

I’ll be looking for you!

Cindy Browne

Inside Sales Kiln Shelf Support Team
Smith-Sharpe Fire Brick Supply

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