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VCPG Newsletter

VCPG September 2023 Newsletter
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VCPG September 2023 Newsletter

Members' Meeting : Monday September 25th

Members are invited to share a piece of ceramics/pottery that is in their personal collection

For Your Calendar:​

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

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

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

October 16th…….....…....Gallery Members Meeting, 7pm link to come

October 21st & 22nd.......Ventura Pottery Market & Bowls of Thanks

October 23rd ............…..Annual Members Meeting on Zoom; 6:30pm Gathering, 7pm Meeting

November 2nd…….........Board Meeting @ 3:00pm

November 27th ........…..Members Meeting on Zoom; 6:30pm Gathering, 7pm Meeting

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

December 9th ..........…..Clay Challenge / Holiday Potluck @2:00pm, Barranca Vista Park

President’s Musings • September 2023

REMINDER: our Annual Meeting is on October 23rd.

At that meeting we’ll have our election for President and Secretary of the Board of Directors and review this year's ByLaw Changes.

Please put this meeting on your calendar. 

We need a quorum — 25% of members — for the votes to count.

More Fragments… Stuff I think about…

It’s my birthday today. September 14th. I’m in Tucson at a friend’s house having a solo meditation retreat. Just me and Sherman, my dog.

It’s September 14. Neither September nor the 14th actually exist. They’re a mental construct, a grid pattern for counting, overlaid by our human minds over patterns of the natural world.

Just to say, I’m not repeating something I’ve codified previously. I’m thinking my way through the thread that got pulled by the initial observation that Sept 14 has no connection to the naturally occurring world.

Tens or hundreds of thousand years ago we began recognizing patterns of change we could discern in the natural world. We named that measurement of change, time.

We’ve progressed from measuring the cycles of seasons, moon phases, sun rise/set, breathing, heartbeat, hunger, thirst, sleep, and for women the fertility cycle. From these cycles we created dance and music. 

In the 70’s I heard Buckminster Fuller say we are primarily pattern recognition machines. Event #1 is random. A recurrent Event #2 raises curiosity. Another recurrent Event #3 forms a pattern giving data to predict Event #4 verifying the pattern. There may be variations discovered over time related to temperature, etc.    

In archaeology we look for calendars, writing, and mathematics as milestones of the increasing organization of society around abstractions. This mentation is required to continue seeing into the workings of nature beyond our sensing ability. 

So, we began to divide natural cycles into smaller measurable patterns, using sundials, water clocks, sand clocks, etc. Cultures began dividing up the day to the degree that a culture could measure. In ancient China that was 100ths of the 12 primary divisions.  

What cultural force caused this decrease in the unit of time measure? What necessitated “I’ll meet you at the river’s elbow two days from now when the sun is 1/3 of the way between Zenith and the horizon?” becoming “I’ll meet you by the river’s elbow on Wednesday at 2:20” (or 14:20).

The two areas I see that require increasing precision for two or more things to occur at the same time are manufacturing and killing/warfare.

Measuring smaller and smaller increments of change/time a wrought computers with billions of calculations per second, taken humans to the moon and the depths of the sea, robots that perform human tedious tasks, missile weapons that fly hundreds/thousands of miles and land within a very small target radius thanks to GPS.

And yet… our minds and bodies do not live in harmony with these artificial clock demands. Biorhythms, Sleep Cycles, our body/mind capacities push and pull against this unrelenting imposition of time too small for our senses to register. We call our being out of sync — stress.


Meditation, what I’m here in Tucson exploring, can be looked at as the unwinding of these imposed cycles, this overlay, returning to our being an expression of the natural world.

When I first sat down to meditate 50 years ago, it was to somehow stop this loud, incessantly crazy-busy mind and body. The incessant movement of thought and emotion was mostly disturbing. Replaying past incidents looking for validation. Listening to justifications and external causes for emotional reactions. These cycles of thinking and feeling something’s wrong here went on and on, endlessly and uncontrollably. I wanted OUT! So, I tried harder/better.

At some point I got tired of trying harder/better to fix things and got curious about what’s actually occurring. From that moment the chaos began to quiet down into watching, experiencing the inner world I actually have—not the one I want to have. The whole heaven and hell of it. Watch, experience, understand, release.

I gift myself 2-3 times a year a quiet week or more to refresh, reset, reboot. Away from the day to day impositions of my cultures there is time and space to update an inventory. Noticing what is still bouncing around in awareness. Any resentments floating by? Any obsessive worries, needs/desires, fears? Any old addictions? These visitors all come with stories that keep them intact and alive. listen to their stories. They are never true. I look for and experience what is actually true. From there I forgive myself and any required others for our part in creating these horrid worlds.

Sometimes one hearing is enough for them to dissolve. Sometimes it takes many hearings. It depends... After all, we’re dissolving PTSD patterns..


Creating ceramic ware is built of cycles and spirals. Repeated cycles increase skills — familiarity and understanding.

Different processes have different cycle rates . The making process has a higher cycle rate. Decorating and Glazing has a lower cycle rate. Firing has the lowest cycle rate.

Cycles... when I’m teaching beginners I tell them that they will progress at the rate that they’re willing to fail. I’m just seeing that a better way to express this is to create an intention to increase one’s cycle rate. Learning to recognize and accept when what’s happening is not ‘fixable’, can’t be recovered from…call it a failure and start over. Cycle on…

A critical pattern to learn is finding the golden nugget (or 2 or 3), the tiny increase in knowing, in each cycle.

On the wheel the cycles are imbued with spirals. Working on the wheel is a dance within the creation of spirals.

One way we meet time in Art is the Flow State when there is no time. No measuring. There was a thread a while back on MemberConnect about working with clay and PTSD. The Flow State is the process, the cycle, of healing, the heart of meeting the Natural World, hidden underneath the human overlay of abstracting.

The purpose of living as a creative being, in art, in business, in life... is to be changed by the process of creating. It’s never about the objects. It’s always about our evolution.

Happy Potting,

Wyn Matthews, VCPG President

50+ year potter


September Program • September 25th

Our meeting presenter has had a family matter arise and will be unable to present our meeting program.

We have put our heads together and would like to host a program, on Monday September 25th, that invites members to share a piece of ceramics/pottery that is in their personal collection.

The piece could be one that was the creation of a known or unknown maker/artist that captured your interest or a piece you created that you have been unable to part with.

Ideally, you would send a digital image of the piece to If that is too much for you, and you have a piece you are willing to share and talk about about why you have chosen it to be in your collection, just drop us an email at the same address and tell us you have a piece to share. We will put together a slide show of images sent and a list of other members who will be sharing.

Each member offering to share a piece will have an opportunity to do so at the meeting. All of us enjoy seeing the work of others. It opens us to seeing work through the eyes of another maker.

Please take the time to be part of making our September meeting successful. We will learn about other artists and a bit more about the rich diversity of our membership. It would be wonderful to know by this Monday, September 18th that you will be sharing a piece at the meeting.

Questions can be directed to This meeting cannot happen without member participation.

VCPG is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: VCPG Monthly Member Meetings

Time: September 25, 2023 06:30 PM (PDT) Gathering Time, 7 PM Meeting

Meeting ID: 880 2758 8377

Passcode: 893843

One tap mobile

+16699006833,,88027588377#,,,,*893843# US (San Jose)

+16694449171,,88027588377#,,,,*893843# US

Find your local number:

October Board Meeting Link • 10/5/23 @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: September 7th, 2023 03:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 880 6793 7721

Passcode: 558245

Find your local number: 

Bowl of Thanks October 21st & 22nd

2nd Annual Ventura Pottery Market and Bowl of Thanks

It’s not too late to participate in this year’s Ventura Pottery Market and Bowl of Thanks event, October 21st – 22nd on Main and California Streets in downtown Ventura.


Registration to sell at the Ventura Pottery Market will be closing September 25th. If you’re a juried Plus member of the Guild this is a great opportunity to sell your wares in downtown Ventura at the beginning of the holiday season. Some spaces are still available on Main Street and California close to the happenings!

Worried you don’t have enough ware? Share a booth!

Sign up ends on Sept. 25 so head on over to the Member Page and register! This is a great opportunity and a good cause for our Guild and City.


Our Bowl of Thanks event will be held during the Ventura Pottery Market. We would greatly appreciate it if all guild members would consider creating and donating bowls for this event. Bowls can be from 1lb - 2lbs of clay. Bowls of all sizes, shapes and colors are welcome!

During the event customers will be able to purchase a bowl for $25.00, and they will receive a punch card to receive FREE food samples from over 15 restaurants and pubs in Downtown Main Street.

Proceeds from the “Bowl of Thanks” will go to Ventura's “Family Reconnect Program”. This program 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. A great cause!

DROP OFF OF DONATED BOWLS: October 1 - 17 th

WHERE: Ventura Pottery Gallery or Brenda Burgess’s home:

Brenda Burgess has kindly volunteered to collect these bowls. Her instructions:

1. Text or call Brenda at 805-612-1670 to let her know you are making a drop off

2. Drop off your bowls at: 5402 Woodbury Street, Ventura 93003

3. When dropping off bowls, please leave a note with your name and the # of bowls you are

dropping off.


You can also help with this fun event while you do Team Service! We need folks for a couple hours Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon to help folks set up or take down their booths. Or do a shift at the Information or Cashiers booth. Our Lead Cashier has asked us to mention how fun it is to collect the cash and is looking forward to seeing both her regulars (you know who you are!) and new folks. There are other fun opportunities as well. After your shift you can buy a bowl and sample downtown Ventura’s fine food and drink!

Sign up to help out here: Team Service Sign Up

[If the links don’t work – log in to}

Next Clay Challenge and Holiday Potluck • December 9th

Food has a crazy way of engaging our senses. Many of us find delight when we sit down at a table and find handmade place settings and/or serving vessels to present and enjoy the meal ahead.

Our December Clay Challenge invites our members to create a special serving vessel for their potluck dish. At our Guild’s April member meeting, program presenter Polly Ann Martin spoke about her study of culinary practices and how she incorporated the essence and heritage of the food that would be served into the design of the vessel that would hold it. We invite you to do the same for this challenge. (If you missed the meeting, you can view it on the Videos Page.)

We will be having an in-person holiday potluck at Barranca Vista Park in Ventura (on Ralston Ave., just east of Johnson) on Saturday Dec. 9 from 2 - 6 pm.

Make a plan now for what you will be bringing as your contribution to the potluck and then design away!

The holiday event will end with an exchange of serving vessels. If you are lucky you may be able to leave with some tasty leftovers too!

VCPG Potters Lend a Helping Hand at Pacific High School -

Eight VCPG potters and four community potters joined classroom teachers at Pacific Continuation High School on August 24 to facilitate a beginning of the year school-wide clay project called "Helping Hands"

During a preparation day at Ellen Wohlstadter's studio and the actual morning event we got to know students, teachers and each other. The PHS principal and teachers expressed warm appreciation for our support. We look forward to additional opportunities to connect with future potters and their teachers throughout Ventura County. 

Thanks to everyone who helped to make this happen - VCPG potters, community potters, Ellen Wohlstadter, Foz, and Kathy Elliott at PHS. Bravo!

The VCPG Library

Looking for artistic inspiration, or trying to solve a glazing or firing issue? VCPG’s Library offers members an abundance of practical information, as well as being a great source of artistic inspiration.

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

On a personal level, many of us are compelled to investigate our family roots and are able gain a deeper knowledge ourselves through this genealogical research. Color and Fire: Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics 1950-2000 by Jo Lauria explores our collective family tree as ceramicists by examining the talented artists who worked together to produce the ceramic breakthroughs which we tend to take for granted today.

Lauria provides us with a captivating journey through ceramic history, allowing us an

understanding of these ceramic icons and their relationship to each other. Present day social

media provides us with instant access to our ceramic fan favorites, but there is great value to

be found in a familiarity with the shoulders that we now stand upon.

New VCPG aprons

The VCPG marketing team has purchased 25 aprons with our guild logo for members’ use at the gallery, during outside sales and outreach activities. 

Aprons are hanging in the gallery’s back room and also available from Ellen Wohlstadter.

Terry Wilson was the first to show one off. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024 10am-4pm

Surface Development – A Hands-On WORKSHOP with CJ Jilek –

Saturday, February 17, 2024 - 10 am - 4 pm (closed)

Sunday, February 18, 2024 - 10 am - 4 pm (spots open)

Cost: $60 VCPG Members, $90 Non-Members

Location: MUSE Studio, 808 Santa Clara Street in Ventura. Parking is available on-site.

By integrating color and texture we will create vibrant surfaces inspired by nature.

Planning for color during the building stage of the work allows for a surface with depth. Using various techniques to create opacity, blending, highlighting and detailing we will create interest on our textural surfaces.

This will be accomplished with basic tools, brushes, slip trailers, resist products, and underglazes. These techniques may be used for vessels or sculptures and by artists of all skill levels. Attendees should bring two or three nature inspired bisque pieces to the workshop. CJ Jilek is an American artist. Numerous key galleries and museums such as bG Gallery have featured CJ Jilek's work in the past.

In MutualArt’s artist press archive, CJ Jilek is featured in LAUNCH Gallery Presents Two Solo Exhibitions of Works by Hiroko Yoshimoto and Cj JilekCJ is to be find on Pinterest, instagram,facebook .

The $60 member/$90 non-member fee may be paid in two installments: A $25 non-refundable deposit will hold your spot in this workshop. The balance of the workshop fee will be due by January 1, 2024 or you may pay the full workshop fee now.

For more detailed information and to register, please go the Calendar section on the Guild’s web home:

There are only a few spaces left in the Sunday offering of this workshop.

If you are interested in attending, best not to delay. Sign up and make at least your $25 deposit to hold a space. The balance will be due no later than Jan.1, 2024.

Registration can be accessed through the Guild Calendar -- look for the date of FEBRUARY 18. Click on the event and you will find more info and a button on the right side of the info taking you to registration. Questions should be directed to event lead, Vera

Team Service Opportunities

If you have the time to support our Guild community or still need to complete your Team Service for 2023, please check out Team Service Sign Up under Guild in the web home menu bar. Specifically look at Outreach, Ventura Pottery Market and under Programs - the Holiday Potluck. There are just a few activities remaining in the year for Plus Tier members to complete their Team Service commitment for 2023.

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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