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VCPG Newsletter

July 2023
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VCPG July 2023 Newsletter

Members' Meeting :

Clay Challenge/Pit Fire Theme

We will be looking at images from the Pit Fire in May.

Zoom link:

For Your Calendar:​

July 6th…….…...…....Board Meeting • No Board Meeting

July 24th…..….….......Members Meeting on Zoom -

6:30 Gathering, 7 PM Meeting

Clay Challenge/Pit Fire Theme

Send in your photos from the pit firing.

We will be looking at the finished pieces and commenting on them.

If you were not at the pit fire, feel free to show us your pit fired pieces from another time!

This time, please send your photos directly to me at, not Stacy.

Stacy is out of town, so I'll be putting together the slide show and MC'ing the Clay Challenge.

August 1st……...…....Jury Application Deadline

To participate in the Pre-Jury Workshop, you must submit your jury application by this date.

For more information, see the Jury page, under the Member menu.

August 3rd……...…....Board Meeting @ 3:00pm

August 20th................Pick up work at conclusion of the show.

(The Center is only open Friday - Sunday.)

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

September 7th…….....Board Meeting @ 3:00pm

September 25th ....…..Members Meeting on Zoom; 6:30 Gathering, 7 PM Meeting

October 5th……...…....Board Meeting @ 3:00pm

President’s Musings • July 2023

More Fragments… Stuff I think about…

I’m going to make some assertions here that are based on my experience as a long term meditator/potter. I find them useful in navigating the experiences that manifest as I wander through this being aliveness.

What is the content of the Mental Sense?

It seems we all have a mish-mash of mental contents that are not what I would call thinking. We each have our unique stream of mental images, words, sentences, stories that are not caused by focus on an intended object of observation. Sometimes we notice something interesting floating by, or something related to an occurrence in our life we’re actually trying to understand, to see into, and grab it out of the river.

But, what is underlying this? What’s the water in which all of this is floating?

I find the primary state of the mind is curiosity. And that curiosity has 6 foci: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How.

These questions seem to have been first framed by Aristotle, where he used them as a differentiator between voluntary and involuntary action. Voluntary action included clear answers to all of them. They used to be taught as an important part of journalism, where each question needed a factual answer and all were included in the story. Now… not so much…

I’m pointing in a different direction. Not to the gathering of facts, but to experience.

One can sit and inquire into the experience of 

Whoness, Whatness, Whereness, Whenness, Whyness, and Howness.

What is the experience of Who? The mind filled with Who curiosity... without any answer... The Space of Who...

And on through the other fundamental curiosities…

I haven’t been able to find any Mental Content that is not an answer to one of these questions. Frequently a question as framed is a combination of the basic one’s. “Who registered for the October Ventura show?” includes who, what, where, when.

Can you find anything in your mental realm that’s not the answer to one of these questions?

A curious thing when watching Sherman, my dog, in relations to these questions. He has Who, What, Where, When, and How. He has no Why. 

Is this one of the distinguishing features of Humans? In language we created Why? In fact, if you look, most of our Why questions are actually How questions. “Why is the sky blue?” is a How question. “ Why did my dad die?” In really a How question. I see Why questions as relating to motive or intent and How questions as relating to process.


What’s the content of Awareness?

What is this world and life we experience? Are we actually experiencing the world? The objective outer world? Or are we experiencing something else?

Thousands of years ago humans inquiring into these very questions gave answers that are the same as our current neuroscience.

We are not experiencing the world. We are experiencing our brain’s interpretation of the continuous stream of sensory data through the Vision Center, Speech Center, Smell (olfactory) Center, etc.

The difference between those long ago humans inquiring and recent humans inquiring is where thinking is placed. Old world inquirers placed mental constructs (what we call thinking) in the sensory realm. Another way in which our organism interacts with and interprets the world. Our current cultures tend to “think” thinking is something special and distinct. Possibly the place “I” and “Me” reside. What if that “I” is a Mental construct used for navigation?  

In some unknown way, using the sensory data inputs from Eyes, Ears, Nose, Tongue, Physical Sensations (outer and inner), and Mentation, the brain chooses to ignore almost all the incoming data and create an integrated representation of the world.

The only evolutionary purpose of this world is navigation. We need to reliably move around to find energy (food/water) , safety (shelter) and reproduction opportunities (passing on genetic material). It’s what all life is continuously doing.

Back to the Sense Realms… A bit of a shock to realize that this is all there is in our sensory/experienced world. Actually all mammalian’s experienced/sensory world. Dogs have a volumetric relationship to smells. They use odors as their primary navigation sense. We use sight as our primary navigation sense. Mammalian evolution determines the quantity and quality of the various sensory data received and interpreted.

Now… bonus points… there’s also a “who, what, where, when, why, how” experience in relation to these realms of sensory inputs.

Who/What is doing the making of your pots?

One of the magical experiences of working with clay is the ease which the human interacting with clay shifts into a Flow State. Just being present with just what’s happening without the thinking commentary. 

I like to describe this as becoming The Hollow Reed through which the energy of creating (creation) flows. 

In that Hollow Reed Flow State I don’t know “Who, What, Where, When, Why, How”. There are no reference points. In that moment, in that space, “Who, What, When, Where, Why, How” am “I/Me”? 

Everything is happening on its own. Impersonal changing phenomenon… 

So is there anything still there? 

An empty space that is aware.

Awareness looking at awareness. What’s meant by Self-Awareness.

Now… can I take this experience into my non-studio life? Can I bring the non-studio life into The Studio Hollow Reed Flow State?

There’s no Out-There, Out-There.

There’s no In-Here, In-Here.

Happy Potting,

Wyn Matthews, VCPG President

50+ year potter


Team Service - Kudos to our Membership!

The Guild's existence is dependent on the expertise and commitment of time by our members. "It takes a village" to sustain and offer the breadth of opportunities, programs and benefits available to our membership. Team Service was first instituted in 2022 in the hope that those receiving the most benefits from Guild membership could give back to support our offerings. Team Service was a HUGE success with members at all tiers in the Guild jumping in to deliver the amazing activities offered.

Options for giving service to the Guild are posted on the Guild web home You can find open slots under Guild --> Team Service Sign Up. There is a 12 minute tutorial explaining the process under Members --> Tutorials --> Team Service. Plus Tier members made a commitment at the time of joining/renewing their membership that they would complete a Team Service during 2023. We are happy to report that just over 70% of this year’s Plus Tier members have signed up for Team Service with most already completing their 2023 commitment. Many members have signed up more than once to help in multiple ways - because that's what it takes and it's fun! Everyone is invited to visit the Team Service Sign-up page and find a way to lend your expertise to making our Guild the best it can be. Questions and suggestions should be sent to


The Guild held the annual Ojai Pottery Market on June 10 th and 11 th . Twenty-nine artists sold $37,799 in pottery over two days. This was slightly less than last year, perhaps due to the rainy weather that moved in on Sunday. Saturday sales were twice that of rainy Sunday’s. In addition to Guild artists selling their wares, there were demonstrations all day Saturday and Sunday and a live musical performance by our own Drew Lurie on Saturday. Thank you to Roe Estep, her team and volunteers for putting the sale together; and to Stacy Rowe, Randy Au and all the cashiers who collected the $$$. And a special shout out to the Ventura College Clay Club and 34th Parallel who provided invaluable assistance to our members loading and unloading the show and whose work was a valuable addition to the sale. After expenses, the Guild cleared $7,437 in proceeds that will support member services and community outreach – both key to our mission. If you have any questions on the financial report, please contact

August Board Meeting Link • 8/3/23 @3:00

All Guild members are invited to attend the monthly VCPG Board of Directors Meetings. 

Please contact Secretary on the Contact Us page if you would like to receive the Agenda Packet in advance of the Board of Directors Meeting.


Topic: VCPG May Board of Directors Meeting

Time: May 4th, 2023 03:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 880 6793 7721

Passcode: 558245

Marvelous Mug Show Sales Opportunity

September 9th and 10th is The Marvelous Mug Sale outside the Ventura Pottery Gallery.

It has been a very successful event in the past. So if you are a juried plus member you are eligible to participate.

Please email Jody Cooper at or call her at 805 701-7797 with any questions.

The VCPG Library

Looking for a great summer read? Check out VCPG's professional library. Our collection

currently contains 42 DVDs and over 140 books. There is something for everyone, so please

take advantage of this amazing resource!

Browse the collection by visiting the Library page under the Member Menu on Click

on Check Out Item to complete the check out request form. Items will be shipped at no cost to

you. You can return items via mail (at your cost) or to the gallery.

VCPG Library Book Review

Practical Solutions for Potters by Gill Bliss is a valuable resource for potters of all levels,

providing useful information on various aspects of pottery making. The book covers everything

from selecting and preparing materials, to throwing techniques, glazing, and firing. Each

chapter is well-organized and includes step-by-step instructions, accompanied by photographs

and illustrations. Practical solutions for common issues that potters encounter, such as

cracking, warping and glaze defects, will make this an excellent read for those looking to

improve their craft.

Bowl of Thanks October 21 &22

Just a reminder to start making bowls to donate to the Bowl of Thanks.

Below is a blurb about the organizations mission: When you donate bowls to the Bowl of Thanks event all proceeds will go to the The Downtown Ventura Partner’s Family Reconnections Program.

This charity provides free transportation to eligible individuals who, for whatever reason, end up vulnerable on Ventura’s streets and are seeking a way to reconnect with a family member or support group. This could include transportation to an immediate family member, a relative, a rehabilitation facility or assisted living center, among others.

The program works to place the client in an environment best suited for his or her personal success. Last years event was a great success for the organization, as well as the Potters Guild members who sold at the street fair. I hope you will consider donating bowls.

Food Share

Ventura County Food Share is hosting their event on September 23rd, 2023.

The event includes the largest signature event- the FED-UP and Empty Bowls Silent Auction, in which work of local artisans in the form of glass, wood, and ceramic bowls will be showcase.

This event raises critical funds to help feed hungry friends and neighbors. 

Last year 261,713 people in Ventura County were served, an enormous undertaking that could only be accomplished with the support of our community.

Would you be willing to donate a bowl to this cause? 

Food Share is a 501 (C3) non-profit institution, the gift is tax-deductible.

Food Share’s non-profit tax identification number is 77-0018162.


Thank you in advance for your consideration. 

If you have any questions and if you can contribute contact Michelle at:

(805) 983-7100 x133

For Sale

Tent; 10X10, perfect condition, alum. Frame

4 zippered sides with wheled storing and carrying case.


Victoria Littlejohn, 805/448/1869.

Also, assorted tools; 3 , 3 shelf rolling carts.

2 small 2' X 3' work tables with 1 drawer ea.

2 ,4 shelf free standing, 1 folding director chair

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