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VCPG Newsletter

VCPG October 2023 Newsletter
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VCPG October 2023 Newsletter

Members' Meeting : Monday October 23rd

Annual Members Meeting; BOD Election and students presentations

For Your Calendar:​

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

October 16th…….....…....Gallery Members Meeting, 7pm

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

October 23rd .............…..Annual Members Meeting, BOD Election, Residents Presentation

..........................................on Zoom; 6:30pm Gathering, 7pm Meeting

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

November 13th……........Happy Hour @ 5:00pm at Margarita Villa

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

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

December 9th ...........…..Members Meeting at Barranca Vista Park, 2 - 6.

.........................................Clay Challenge and Holiday Potluck

President’s Musings • October 2023

More Fragments… Stuff I think about…_

The Newsletter being late this month is fully my fault. I’ve had a really difficult time writing this month. Everything I start turns to the human disasters in Ukraine and Israel where both are faced with violent intent to eliminate a people, a culture and a country. So, this is a quick tour through my thoughts…

In such atrocities like this, I remember a meme from the Vietnam era, "I’ve seen the enemy, and it is us."

It reinforces existing questions in my mental observations. 

Where am I being autocratic? Where am I dismissing someone’s suffering and crying for help?

Buddha framed ethical, moral actions as Wholesome or Unwholesome. Not as good/bad, right/wrong. Wholesome actions are good for oneself and good for others. Unwholesome actions are harmful for oneself and/or harmful for others. It’s about the well-being of the community.

Underneath all of this is… What’s my life about? What’s the central theme? What’s the organizing question I’m living my life into?

When I was young my dad taught me to look at things from multiple angles/points of view. He taught me about the Scientific Method. 

In sixth grade I was sitting in school one day and realized everything around me, what I was being taught, the rules, language…All of it… was made up by humans—a mental construct. At that moment a question also arose, “Is there anything not made up by humans?”

In Junior High I realized that social conventions, social structures, and beliefs were among the “made up by humans”. 

Somewhere along the way, the quest for something that is not a conceptual construct, turned into the questions, “What’s real? What’s true? What is this?”

A main branch of my inquiry became identifying beliefs and letting them go. A belief being “an acceptance that something exists or is true without verifiable data”.

About 20 years ago during a couple-friend's argument he asked her what she was up to in life? Was she up to something big enough that it was probably uncompletable or answerable? But, it was alluring enough to keep one engaged in the activity and inquiry.

He turned and asked me what I was up to. Another way of asking “what question I was living into”. Without thinking I said, “I want to know if it’s possible to be fully awake before I die.”

That’s the 40 year evolution of my 12-year-old question, “Is there anything that’s not made up by humans?” My inquiry was not to escape the human world. It’s to have an experience, a frame within which the Human Made, the conceptual construct is clearly knowable.

OK. That’s where the human disaster of Ukraine, Israel, Climate Change, etc. takes me…

On to our Ceramic World.

If you don’t know the podcast, “For Flux Sake”, I recommend you check it out. It’s one of many wonderful Ceramic podcasts supported by the Archie Bray Foundation and the Brickyard Network.


For Flux Sake is good evidence based conversation on ceramic materials, clay bodies, glazes, firing, the mechanics of being a Ceramist, a human working with Clay.

A recent example of what you could call “ceramic myth busting” relates to what gets called rocket firing…

…glaze firing bisque pots at 600°F, an hour until 200°F before the shut down temperature. At 200°F before shutdown, slow the kiln down to 60°F an hour. The reason to slow down at that point is that the melting and chemical reactions are taking place in that last 200°F. 

And, our reasons for firing slow—I was taught to go about 200°F an hour in bisque and glaze firing are not really true. Turns out that quartz and cristobalite inversions, etc. that we were taught to be careful of are not an issue with well formulated clay bodies and one can actually “Rocket Fire” their kiln. Less time. Less fuel. Less wear on electric elements.

Test, test, test…

Happy Potting,

Wyn Matthews, VCPG President

50+ year potter


Members Program Meeting • October 23rd

The Annual VCPG Member Meeting will be held Monday, October 23rd via Zoom. Please find the link below. It is very important that you attend this meeting as there are very important items on the Agenda:

Election of VCPG President and Secretary

• Guild Membership for 2024

• Process for Gathering Member Feedback for Proposed Changes to the Jury Process and Shows and Sales Guidelines

• Presentations by Guild Mentorship Participants

The Meeting will begin with social time at 6:30pm with the business meeting starting at 7:00pm. The first item of business will be the election of a new VCPG Board President and Secretary. Per the VCPG Bylaws, a quorum of 25% of our members must participate in the election of Board officers. If your time is limited, please try to at least attend the election at 7pm. Nominees for the election are:

President – Stacy Rowe, Secretary – Rebecca Catterall.

Nominations can also be made during the meeting.

Statement from Board President Nominee Stacy Rowe:

I have been a member of VCPG since 2016 and Guild Secretary since 2018. During that time I have had the privilege of working with Board members – past and present- who are thoughtful, hard-working and dedicated to the Guild. The Guild has grown considerably since I’ve joined – in terms of the number of members, member benefits, events, marketing, outreach and sales. Much of this growth has happened rapidly, and the Board has worked hard to strengthen the organization to accommodate this growth.

But as with all things – even the best changes present challenges. With that in mind, my priorities moving forward will include:

• Expanding ways to gather feedback from members, particularly working to develop a shared

vision for the Guild’s future.

• Improving regular communication with Guild members and developing new ways for member


• Continuing to improve the organizational infrastructure of the Guild to meet the present and

future needs. We’ve made a lot of progress with this, but there’s more work to be done,

including the implementation of QuickBooks to manage our finances; determining the benefits

of a 501©3, and making sure all our policies and procedures are consistent and practical.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with clay? We, all of us, have built one of the most dynamic clay communities in Southern California. To manage and sustain this takes good organizational skills and quite a bit of effort. In my prior life, this was my job. I worked with local governments and non-profits to develop new programs, build their organization capacity, manage budgets and gather community input. I would be honored if Guild members would partner with me to put those skills to work for our wonderful clay community.

Statement from Board Secretary nominee Rebecca Catterall:

I joined the Pottery Guild prior to moving from Topanga to Ventura in an effort to check out this

potential new community. I moved here in 2016, obviously Impressed with the Guild and community. I became a Pottery Gallery participant soon after.

I have been volunteering somewhere or another since high school. It is important to give back and hopefully make better. I am proud that I spearheaded the reopening of Topanga Canyon Gallery in 2000 and was its president for six years. My goal with that Gallery, and with the Guild, is to participate in ways that support the organization. My belief is that what is good for the organization is also good for its individual members.

I do feel somewhat intimidated to follow Stacy’s stellar footsteps as the Board Secretary. However, she has promised me to give support where needed! I look forward to joining this remarkable team.

The October Guild Meeting Program will include:

Presentation by the Guild’s Summer Studio Residents: Izzy Catalano at ClayZen, Dannah Hidalgo and Max Gaynes at Clay Studio. 

Each resident will share with the Guild the focus of the work and examples of pieces created during their three-month residency.

VCPG is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: VCPG Monthly Member Meetings

Time: 6:30 PM- 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:

November Board Meeting • 11/2/23 @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 Board of Directors Meeting

Time: 3:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 880 6793 7721

Passcode: 558245

Find your local number: 

Our next Happy Hour

Monday, November 13 from 5-7 at Margarita Villa in Ventura Harbor, right across from the Gallery. There is an elevator near their back steps.

We plan to be outdoors on the front patio (up the front steps) unless the weather is bad. If you are new to the group, or have trouble finding us, just ask the hostess.

No need to RSVP - just show up, Margarita Villa allows for separate checks so folks can come and go as needed.

We would love to see you! Rebecca Catterall and Sue Cline

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.

Please Donate:

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 donated bowls: 

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.

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}

Holiday Potluck and a Clay Challenge

• Saturday • December 9th • 2-6 • at Barranca Vista Park

in Ventura (on Ralston, east of Johnson).

This year Clay Challenge is to make a serving dish for the food you will bring to the potluck. Afterwards, we will have a dish exchange that will send you home with a different serving piece. This idea was inspired by our April speaker, Polly Ann Martin, who talked 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.)

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

Sign up here: December Holiday Potluck once you know what you will be bringing.

In addition, there are Team service slots for someone to set up and break down the tables and chairs. If you have not yet fulfilled your TS for the year and plan to attend, this a good chance to take care of that. Sign up here: Holiday Potluck/Clay Challenge.

We all had such a nice time gathering at the Pit Firing, we're very much looking forward to getting together again in December.

The VCPG Library

VCPG’s Library offers members invaluable practical information as well as being a great source of artistic inspiration. You will want to take advantage of this excellent 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

Often as the seasons change, we shift into new modes of ceramic production. If creating handmade ceramic tiles is on the list of your upcoming projects, the VCPG library has you covered. Handmade Tiles by Frank Giorgini is a comprehensive guide that provides practical information and artistic inspiration for ceramic artists of all levels. This book is organized into three main sections: designing, making, and decorating tiles. Clear, step-by-step technical instructions and explanations of numerous decorative techniques make this an invaluable resource.

An additional VCPG library treasure is Handcrafted Ceramic Tiles by Janis Fanning and Mike Jones. An excellent introduction to the world of ceramic tiles, the authors cover a wide range of decorative techniques, including special paint effects, stenciling, transfer design, and wax-resist. Detailed explanations and step-by step photographs make this a must-read for anyone interested in the world of ceramic tiles. Both books provide a fascinating look at the history of handmade tiles, which will be of interest to readers of all skill levels.

Second Place for our own Maree Cheatham

At the American Ceramic Society 2023 Clay Festival at the Arboretum for Naughty Lady Teapot, “Lulu Belle.”

Saturday, February 17, 2024 10am-4pm

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

Saturday, February 17, 2024 - 10 am - 4 pm

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:

Workshop with CJ Jilek - Sunday, February 18, 2024

There are only seven 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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