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VCPG Newsletter

VCPG May 2024 Newsletter
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VCPG May 2024 Newsletter

Members' Meeting : May 19th Pitfire in lieu of regular program • info below

For Your Calendar:​

May 3rd ……..........…......Board Meeting @ 4:00pm

May 19th ……..........…....Pitfire in Arroyo Verde Park

May 20th ……..........…....See May 19th Pitfire in lieu of regular program

June 7th …….........…......Board Meeting @ 4:00pm

June 8th-9th …….........…Ojai Pottery Market

June 13th ……...…..........Gallery Committee Meeting @3:30pm

June 24th ……...........…..Program Meeting @ 6:30pm Gathering, 7pm Meeting

Clay Challenge – Teapots!

July ……...…...................No Board meeting

July 15th ……..................Gallery Artists Meeting @ 7:00pm

July 22nd ……...........…..No Program meeting this month

August 2nd ……..........…Board Meeting @ 4:00pm

August 8th ……...…........Gallery Committee Meeting @3:30pm

August 26th …….............Program Meeting @ 6:30pm Gathering, 7pm Meeting

September 6th …….........Board Meeting @ 4:00pm

September 23rd …….......Program Meeting on Zoom; 6:30pm Gathering, 7pm Meeting

October 4th ……..........…Board Meeting @ 4:00pm

October 10th ……...........Gallery Committee Meeting @3:30pm

October 21st ……..…......Gallery Artists Meeting @ 7:00pm

October 28th ……...........VCPG Annual Meeting @ 6:30pm Gathering, 7pm Meeting

November 1st ……..........Board Meeting @ 4:00pm

November 25th ……........Program Meeting @ 6:30pm Gathering, 7pm Meeting

December 6th ……..........Board Meeting @ 4:00pm

December 12th ...............Gallery Committee Meeting @3:30pm

December........................VCPG Holiday Get Together

All Board meetings have the same Zoom link

All Members meetings have the same Zoom link

All Galley Committee have the same Zoom link

All Gallery Artists meetings have the same Zoom link

A Message from Your VCPG Board President • May 2024

Thank you VCPG Members for your feedback!

Greetings VCPG Members

As you know, the Board recently surveyed our members regarding theavailable space in the Harbor for the potential expansion of the Gallery and creation of a workspace to offer classes and studio memberships. Sixty-six of our 163 members (40%) responded to the survey. As of this writing we are still analyzing the results (the survey just closed last night).

However, I personally scanned your written comments. Many of you are anxious that the Guild may move forward too quickly and without considering all the consequences for the organization and its members. I’d like to take this opportunity to assure you that the Board and others are doing their due diligence and that there’s been a lot of work going on behind the scenes.

In addition to the survey, the Board has:

Developed draft working and cash flow budgets and analyzed the Guild’s current finances; and began to develop an equipment list and budget. These are works-in-progress, but they do indicate that while cash flow will likely be adequate for both projects after 12-24 months

of operation, the Guild does not currently have the operating reserves to cover the initial 12-24 month of operations, nor to cover the equipment and capital costs involved with the project. Should we decide to move forward, additional funds will need to be identified and


• Met with and interviewed owners of four clay studios in LA, Ventura and Santa Barbara. We sought their advice and explored promising opportunities for collaboration if we do or don’t move forward. We also reviewed the websites and pricing at additional studios.

• Toured the space several times and sketched out a preliminary floor plan – mostly to gauge the number of artists/members the space could accommodate for budgeting purposes. The actual floor plan will come later with feedback from potential participants should we move forward.

• Did a simultaneous foot-traffic survey in front of both locations. While not strictly “scientific” it did provide interesting information – the proposed location had more foot-traffic but it wasn’t a huge difference. This survey was conducted from 1pm to 2pm on Sunday, May 5th .

• Sent an extensive list of questions to the Harbor to clarify their expectations and participation in the site improvements and operations.

• Conducted additional research on the benefits of a 501©3.

Next steps:

• Analyze the survey data. Where do the members’ interests lie? Do we have enough information to rule out aspects of the project (e.g., just not enough interest)?

• If the survey shows adequate interest in an aspect of the project, determine what additional information from the members and others needed at this time.

• Inform the membership of the project status, any recommendations, and survey for new information/feedback.

• Should there be adequate interest in the studio consult with the Harbor and City of Ventura Building and Safety to ascertain their permitting and other requirements.

• Update operating, equipment and relocation budgets and determine fundraising goals and timeline.

• Inform the membership of the updated information, project status, and gather feedback – likely through +6focus groups.

• Should the recommendation be to move forward, form working committees to help with planning, implementation and fundraising.

And this just gets us to negotiating the lease with the Harbor (or declining to do so)! This is a complicated process and it will take a village (okay a Guild) and lots of people hours. Just a brief glance at the comments from survey respondents shows that there are diverse and strident views regarding the project. Some people are enthusiastic about moving forward, others are happy with the way things are. The Board will need to balance the finances, the logistics, the feedback from members, and as much additional information as we can gather before coming up with a recommendation. But please rest easy knowing that the top concern of

your Board is what’s best for the organization and its members.

That’s it for now! More next month (if not sooner). Take care and make stuff.

Stacy Rowe

VCPG Board President

Pottery Jams

Come, hang out with your friends share your knowledge and learn from each other.

Please register for those in which you would like to participate by clicking on event listing found on the Home Page Calendar ( or by clicking GUILD on the menu bar and selecting Calendar from the drop down menu. These Jams will fill so do not wait to register.


Pit Fire and Potlucks (Breakfast and Lunch)

Sunday, May 19, 7:30 AM – 3:30-4 PM

Our annual pit fire and potluck event at Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura. Get your bisque ware ready!

No registration cap.

Pottery Jam #3 – Sgraiffto Sharing

Sunday, July 21 – 11:30 – 3PM

Genie Thomsen is opening her Ventura studio for a Jam on Sgraffito. Bring any completed sgraffito work. Bring your tools. Come prepared to share your knowledge, expertise, questions. This no cost Jam is targeted to include novices and experts.

Let’s visit and share what we know with each other. Potluck lunch will kick the Jam off. 

Additional details will be sent to registrants. 15 spots available.

PitfireSunday, May 19th in Arroyo Verde Park. 

Register now and get this event on your calendar. 

We are just about one month away from this wonderful event.

Just checking, have you made your piece? Is it bisque fired? Will it be ready for one of our Saturday prep sessions on Saturday, May 18?

Members attending the event in 2023 raved about how much fun they had and if you look at the Clay Challenge page on the website (under Members), you can see pictures of us having fun (click on square collage of images on R sidebar) and some of the stunning work that came from the firing. (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)

We are looking for mini-workshop leaders to teach us. Let us know by contacting Foz or

• A quick trick or simple project – what can you share?

Lori Lester will be doing ceramic fortune cookies

Terry and Stacy will have the photo booth at the ready so you can capture images of your work for posting on the Online Store or in your personal online portfolio

Maybe you want to offer to be a helper at the pitfire or just come to hang with your potting community. – ALL are invited. Please register so we know you are coming.

For those planning on participating in the pit fire please consider registering for one of the pit fire prep sessions on Saturday, May 18.


We will have a space set up where we hope members will bring samples of “feet” that were inspired by our January Program when Wyn shared his thoughts and demo techniques for creating/trimming the foot of a pot. It would be wonderful to see your feet!


Check the Calendar listing for more information and to register separately for the event, prep on Saturday (Ojai or Ventura) and the actual firing on Sunday. 

Team Service opportunities are available to help offer this event.

June Clay Challenge – Teapots!

It's coming up soon! We'll show our teapots at the June meeting.

You still have time to end the procrastination and get a teapot made.

If you have never made a teapot (but kinda want to), perhaps it's because you never took a class where it was a required assignment, or you just don't know where to begin. For all you self-taught folks out there, now you have an assignment!

Get on the internet or ask your fellow clay buddies, and learn how.

For everyone else, challenge yourself to make something new or bring forth your best effort for our reveal meeting in June.

The Beatrice Wood Show is coming up at the end of the summer, and the theme is "Non-Traditional Teapots", so if you choose to make something outside the box, or even non-functional, you'll be all set for this show. 

There is still time to register for team Service for the Ojai Pottery Market

Registration for the Ojai Pottery Market has closed. We’ve had more vendors sign up than in the recent past, and several new artists participating – it promises to be a great weekend!

There is still time to sign-up for Team Service for the event. In particular we could use some help:

• Assisting with booth set-up at 8am Saturday

• Cashiers for Saturday morning and afternoon.

• Assisting with booth tear-down 5:00pm Sunday.

Interested? Just sign-in to and click the Team Service button on the Home Page. Slots for the Ojai Pottery Market are on page two. More information about each task and sign-up are available there.

It’ll be a fun weekend, come on out. And thank you everyone who has already signed up!

It’s coming! Beatrice Wood Center Show

Our annual show at the Beatrice Wood Center is scheduled for September 28 - November 16. The theme this year is “Non Traditional Teapots”.

Let your imagination go wild, from fantasy to abstract. Have fun with this challenge.

It is open to all guild members and you can enter up to three pieces.

A reminder about upcoming clay order

We are going to start collecting the appropriate State of California Sales Tax on all purchases. If you don’t have a CA Seller’s Permit you will be taxed for all clay order purchases at the Ventura rate – 7.75%. Even with the sales tax, you should still achieve significant savings by ordering through the Guild due to the shared shipping costs and volume and distributor discounts available through the Guild and Clay Gurus.

Please note that Shawn/Clay Gurus needs the completed Resale Certificate BEFORE an order is placed. You need only file the Resale Certificate once, Shawn will keep it on file for future orders.

With a Resale Certificate on file, you will not be taxed on clay, glazes, underglazes and raw materials, but you will be taxed on equipment and tools.

You must file a CA Sales and Use Tax Return to report and pay the sales tax you collected.

If you don’t have a CA Seller’s Permit, click on the link below and fill out the form. It is free and approval is usually very quick, within a day or two. Once you have that, you can download and complete the Resale Certificate to submit to Shawn/Clay Gurus by AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Here is the link for the CA Seller’s Permit: and-fees/sutprograms.htm

CA Resale Certificate.pdf and Discounts March 2024.pdf

Secondary Teachers and VCPG Mentors Are Sharing Experiences with the VCPG Pilot Outreach Project

April Outreach Workshop with Genie Thomsen provided a special workshop for Outreach project teachers and mentors on April 27 in her home studio. It was a hands-on opportunity to learn new techniques and make great connections. Thank you Genie!

Ventura High School

Thank you to VCPG from Art Teacher, Megan McKee

I would like to say a huge Thank you to the members of the VC Potters Guild and its teaching outreach program.

I first was introduced to VCPG by an email from Jennifer Robles, asking if I would be interested in any help getting ceramics into my classroom. As an Art teacher, who had not been around clay since college, I was very worried about teaching ceramics and sculpture. I felt unsure of the logistics around teaching and using clay and glazes inside of the classroom.

On top of supplying me with updated information, the VCPG also invited and paid for one of my students and myself to attend a glazing workshop! I learned so much in those 8 hours during the workshop, that I felt ready to teach. One last hurdle I needed to wrap my head around was firing my kiln. Again, the VCPG stopped by my classroom with two members, Gayle Swanson and Shawn Felts. Both walked me through the programming of my kiln, and then I felt ready. 

I feel as if I have a community of artists that are extremely passionate about ceramics, that I can reach out to at any time.


Megan McKee, Ventura High School Art Teacher.

Balboa Middle School

John Grisafe and Lena Layman Report Success with Ocarina Project at Balboa Middle School

The week before, the teacher, Lena Layman, in preparation for the ocarina/clay whistle project

had the students make a lidded pot using the pinch pot method.

The first day the students created their form, using the pinch pot method and decorated them by attaching clay with the score and slip method. The students returned to the project two days later to make the forms into whistles. After instruction, the students created the whistle, under the guidance of the teacher and the VCPG mentor. On the following day, the VCPG mentor returned to assist students that had not competed the whistle component.

"I cannot wait to continue this amazing collaboration with the guild next school year. Their reactions when their ocarinas whistle is priceless.” Lena Layman

Program and Workshop Team seeking members

Do you want to be part of identifying, selecting and introducing programs for our monthly meetings? 

Maybe you have an interest in being on the Workshop planning team??? 

A few creative and enthusiastic members are being sought to join the effort of bringing great program offerings to our members. 

We try to meet once a month until the year’s program and workshop calendar is scheduled. Then, in small groups or individually, members shepherd their program or workshop. 

If you are interested in joining this team, please email to

share your interest.

Teaching opportunity

A start Up program in Santa Barbara is looking for a ceramic artist that likes to work with elementary aged kids. They have a digital electric kiln. Please contact me for more information.

Rebecca Russell or text 805-708-1637.

Ojai Pottery and Clay School is seeking an instructor for an intermediate to advanced throwing class beginning July 1.

Prior teaching experience is required. Instructors are expected to demo each project and to show a finished piece.

Trimming and glazing lessons should also be included in the 10-week class.

Interested instructors please contact Carole Paddock at 805/ 798-3603 or Bette Schneider at 805/745-5657.

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

Amazing Glaze: Recipes and Combinations by Gabriel Kline, c. 2021 offers an extensive collection of low-fire, mid-range, and high-fire glaze recipes, with a focus on reliability and consistency.

From the basics of glaze chemistry to advanced application methods, readers will

find everything they need to know to create attractive and durable finishes for their work.

In addition to the wealth of recipes and hundreds of color photos, Kline provides valuable guidance on glaze testing, with clear explanations, practical tips, and troubleshooting strategies. As a result, readers will be empowered to experiment with confidence and overcome common challenges.

Of the many texts available to ceramicists today, this should be considered an essential resource, and would be a valuable addition to any potter's library.

VCPG members should be aware that although this book is not currently available in the VCPG library it can be purchased online.

Ventura High School Sale

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