Fraser: Six local potters benefit from class by visiting art professor |

Fraser: Six local potters benefit from class by visiting art professor


For five days last week, a visiting art professor showed local potters how to be more adventurous with their hand-built pieces.

The Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District sponsored Vince Pitelka, a professor of art from the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee. The professor explored with a group of six “unusual ways” of approaching pinch, coil and slab construction.

Under the direction of Pitalka, the group learned how to make pots, teapots, whistles and boxes.

Pitelka travels around the country doing workshops in the summer. He usually has between six to 12 participants in each class.

Joan Seville, 66, of Massachusetts, found out about the workshop from her daughter Michelle Lawrence, Fraser rec district supervisor.

“She made sure I came out in time for the workshop,” said Seville, a painter. “Just about everything is new to me. Vince is just a wealth of knowledge.”

She planned on bringing home a whistle, vase and box.

“And Michelle gets everything else,” she said. “It’s OK. I’ll get to see it once or twice a year.”

Bridget Crookson, 34, of Winter Park also participated.

“Having a good teacher makes all the difference,” said the Rec District’s children’s pottery class teacher. “This is an amazing opportunity.”

“It’s completely changed the way I look at working with clay in this dry community,” said Traci Maddox, 46, of Tabernash.

Patty Alander, 50, of Grand Lake also picked up tips from Pitelka at the event.

“I’m excited we’re finally able to do this kind of thing in the Fraser Valley,” she said.

David Maddox, 63, of Tabernash also took advantage of the opportunity. He also teaches a pottery class.

“Vince certainly brought us some new perspectives,” he said.

Lauren Smith, 20, of West Virginia, Maddox’s niece, was the youngest participant.

“I am like a beginner, so it was cool,” she said. “I liked making the boxes because they are very cool, fully-functional. You can make any shape you want.”

Pitelka has been a teacher for 20 years. He could be back to the Valley for another workshop in two years.

“I want to make it as worthwhile for every participant ” that’s something I take very seriously,” he said. “They did great, a very productive group.”

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