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VCPG Newsletter

June 2023
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VCPG June 2023 Newsletter

Members' Meeting:  See June 26

For Your Calendar:

June 26 Members Meeting on Zoom; 6:30 Gathering

July 6 Board Meeting @ 3:00pm (cancelled - no quorum)

July 8-Aug 20 Beatrice Wood Show

July 24 Members Meeting on Zoom - Clay Challenge/Pit Fire Theme

6:30 Gathering, 7 PM Meeting

August 3 Board Meeting @ 3:00pm

August 28 Members Meeting on Zoom; 6:30 Gathering, 7 PM Meeting

President’s Musings • June 2023


There’s been commentary in MemberConnect about how awesome it was to be a part of the Community Pit Fire and the Ojai Pottery Market. This is what our Guild is about. People doing what needs to be done with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. A cliche, I know… and it was true. Sympathetic Joy!

A Few Fragments... Stuff I think about...

Why is working with clay healing?

1. Clay doesn’t give a shit.

2. Yes. “It is all about you”. Everything you experience, think, feel while potting is you — you brought that thought/feeling/expectation to the party. (Hint: This is true about life also. If I feel it, think it… that’s all me. You didn’t cause anything.)

3. If one is pissed off at life, worried about money or the kids, anxious about not being heard, etc. ad nauseam… Clay doesn’t care. Doesn’t feel sorry. Doesn’t want to make us feel better. Doesn’t… anything.

4. So, this leaves us with the option/possibility/necessity to create a relationship with clay that’s not colored by these prior assumptions/conclusions. Over time, dipping into this clay river, all this PTSD detritus I brought along slowly dissolves from black to grey to clear.

It’s not a pot until it comes out of the kiln.

I’d been making pots for about 3 years. My setup included a 3x8 piece of plywood in front of my wheel to put pots as thrown & finished and a 3x8 piece of plywood behind me to stack pots as they were drying to be glazed. We once fired everything. (I never bisqued a pot until I got to CA. and wasn’t mixing my own clay.) 

This day I was glazing. I had stacks of planters mouth to mouth and foot to foot 6 & 8 high. Casseroles with lids upside down stacked 4-6 high. Bowls stacked mouth to mouth and foot to foot 4 high. The plywood was stacked high with pots. Probably about 2 weeks worth.

I was glazing and moving the pots out near the kiln to load that afternoon. I’d glazed about half the pots. I picked up one casserole lid, glazed it and put it on a small table with the glaze bucket. I picked up the casserole and as I started to pour glaze over the outside of the pot, the whole table — which was supported on cement blocks about 2 feet in from the ends — lifted up on the right end. I watched all the pots slide down the table and off the left end onto the floor. Somewhere around $2000 of pots. After a short F#ck shriek, I was in this calm open space of curiosity and wonder. Oh… these weren’t really pots yet.

Throwing as an invitation

It’s clear that what I see when I look at the spinning clay is a record of exactly what happened. Exactly the track of my hands/fingers. The clay didn’t do anything on its own. If the pot collapses the line or curve created couldn’t support the clay as left by its interaction with my hands/fingers. If the pot is “wow!” that too is the record of our dance.

A year or so back I realized that the relationship was an invitation I was making to the clay. I was not directing. I was inviting.    

I create the space which I invite the clay to inhabit.

That simple. 

June 26, 2023 Member Meeting Program

Judy Winard: Making Birds from A Pinch Pot

Grab your clay and work along with our presenter on the first steps in creating a bird from clay. 

Guild member Judy Winard will be demonstrating how she creates a bird beginning with a pinch pot. During her presentation we will learn how to add a head, beak, eyes and tail. Judy will also address how to safely make a stand for firing the birds in the glaze firing. 

Judy uses cone 5/6 clay: Speckled Buff and B-Mix without grog. Both clays work well.


This is a friendly reminder that we are now half way through the year. If you have not yet signed up to provide a service to the Guild in 2023 PLEASE do it now. —> Guild --> Team Service SignUps. With the Ojai Pottery Market behind us the number of team service opportunities has dropped. If you are stuck finding a match for your skills with Guild community needs, please send an email to and suggested matches will be made. 

Of note: 5 additional spots have been added to the Clay Crew. If you sign up for one of these spots you must be flexibly available for the clay delivery which will likely occur sometime in the first half of October. We cannot predict the delivery day, hence we cannot schedule the sorting day with more than 48 or so hours notice.

The Ojai Pottery Market

…was a great success. This was our 65th year of having our annual market in conjunction with the Ojai Music Festival. Thanks to all who participated in the pre-planning, the setup, the actual show, the takedown and the bookkeeping and followup. It takes a community!

Clay Orders

The Clay Order Worksheet is available for you to track clay and material needs in between clay orders at —> Members—> Clay Order. The next order will be in the fall.

Your Ceramic Library

Continue learning about specific areas of ceramics?

Our collection currently contains 42 DVDs and over 140 books. There is something for everyone.

Browse the collection by visiting —> Members —> Library.

Click the Library Inventory button, find something that tickles your interest, then Click the Check Out button

Items will be shipped to you FREE. You can return items via mail (at your cost) or to the gallery. 

New Neighborhood Pottery Studio — Midtown Ventura

I’m Sara Beckton and I have just opened Clay Parlor, a small neighborhood ceramics studio in midtown Ventura. 

We are starting with classes and pop-up workshops, looking to expand into open studio /demos/specialty workshops in the next few months.

Located at 1418 E Main St. Just getting off the ground but will have regular hours and a small gallery/store where we can sell ceramics, clay and tools. 

This is not a big studio operation. I will do some regular Laguna orders, so it may be nice for other people to hop in orders between guild orders.

July Board Meeting Cancelled.

The VCPG Board Meeting for July 6th has been cancelled due to lack of a quorum (it's that time of year when folks are traveling!). The next Board meeting will be August 3rd at 3pm

Sgraffito Workshop with Genie Thomsen

July 2, 10am - 5pm : $100.

Ojai Pottery and Clay School 212 Fox Street, Ojai CA 93023

Please go to for full description of this workshop and to register.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art Shop

Gwen Dandridge

My bowls were just accepted in the SB Museum of Art Shop!

Beatrice Wood Show • July 8th - August 20th

This year we are honoring Beatrice Wood on the 25th anniversary of her passing away.

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