San Joaquin Pot­ters Guild will ex­hibit clay and glass works at an­nual show

Lodi News-Sentinel - - PANORAMA:WEEKENDER - By Lori Gil­bert www.san­joaquin­pot­ters­guild.org.

The first time Kathy White dug her hands into a piece of cold clay was in the 1960s when she was a stu­dent at San Joaquin Delta Col­lege.

“I wanted three easy units, and it sounded like fun,” White said. “I’ll take a pot­tery class. Bruce Duke was my in­struc­tor. I had no idea that one class would lead me on such a long jour­ney. I’ve been with clay ever since.”

White and fel­low mem­bers of the San Joaquin Pot­ters Guild will ex­hibit their clay and glass works at their an­nual show at the Good­win Gallery this month. A re­cep­tion is 4-7 p.m. Dec. 8.

Some Pot­ters Guild mem­bers also are mem­bers of the Stock­ton Art League, but for years the league has opened its gallery at 1902 Pa­cific Av­enue to the Pot­ters Guild. This is the sec­ond year the show has been in De­cem­ber.

It comes a month after the Pot­ters Guild’s two-day Fine Arts Show at St. Basil’s Church. That event has grown so large — this year there were 34 artists — that artists must be juried to be ac­cepted.

This month’s show at the Good­win Gallery is open to all mem­bers of the Pot­ters Guild, and that in­cludes artists who work in clay and glass.

White has stayed with clay all these years, mostly cre­at­ing func­tional pieces.

“I like the feel­ing of clay, be­ing able to take a ball of clay and wedge it and cone it and make a bowl or make some­thing,” White said. “It’s a real chal­lenge. It still is a chal­lenge to this day to try to make new shapes. You have to work at it. There’s just some­thing about clay, be­ing able to cre­ate some­thing and see a fin­ished prod­uct.”

Painters, of course, and artists in other me­dia, have the same ex­pe­ri­ence, but White wouldn’t know. Paint­ing is not some­thing she’s ever tried to mas­ter.

San Joaquin Pot­ters Guild pres­i­dent Glenda Burns is pro­fi­cient in both, though.

“I started out as a pain­ter and a friend of mine and I took a class to­gether,” said Burns, whose fa­ther was an artist as well as her sis­ter. “I liked do­ing it. I could use pot­tery as a ve­hi­cle for my paint­ing, us­ing col­ors and that kind of thing.”

Burns spends more time with ceram­ics than paint­ing these days, hav­ing found a unique cre­ation. She uses old pho­to­graphs from her grand­par­ents and par­ents and works them into her pieces in a se­ries she calls Gen­er­a­tions.

Ini­tially she tried im­pos­ing a photo di­rectly onto the clay, but the im­age was too blurred.

Now, she makes a de­cal from the photo, puts that on the clay piece and uses a fine pen to de­fine the im­age and then ap­plies color. She fires the pieces four times.

“I started them in 2017,” Burns said. “I had that fea­tured artist show (at the Good­win), and I was go­ing to do paint­ings. I needed to fill the space, and I came up with the idea for lit­tle plates (with pho­to­graphs). I filled up the space out of ne­ces­sity. I made a cou­ple and love do­ing them.”

In ad­di­tion to con­nect­ing her to the past and fam­ily mem­bers she knew or only heard about, Gen­er­a­tions al­low Burns to com­bine all the skills she’s learned — draw­ing and paint­ing from classes she took at Delta after re­tir­ing as an ele­men­tary school teacher in 2006 — and ceram­ics from for­mer Pot­ters Guild pres­i­dent Jeri Ross.

It was Ross who in­tro­duced her to the Pot­ters Guild and Burns re­mains ac­tive be­cause of the mem­bers, who num­ber 49 and come from the foothills as well as the Val­ley.

“The peo­ple are re­ally nice and we’ve be­come friends over time,” Burns said. “That’s the main thing, and we talk ceram­ics.”

White joined the group that formed in 1991 around 1999, she said.

“When I joined it was like it opened up a whole new world of ceram­ics to me,” White said. “I heard about work­shops in other lo­ca­tions. It’s a great place to hear about things and gain ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion. You can hone your skills by tak­ing work­shops in other ar­eas. Once you com­plete the classes at Delta Col­lege, you’re on your own look­ing for work­shops.”

White has honed her skills to the level of be­ing ac­cepted into the As­so­ci­a­tion of Clay and Glass Artists, a Cal­i­for­nia group that ju­ries its mem­bers. White, who con­sid­ers her­self a pro­fes­sional pot­ter since re­tir­ing in 2006 as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the San Joaquin Den­tal So­ci­ety, was ac­cepted on her sec­ond try.

But she’s still de­voted to the San Joaquin Pot­ters Guild, which meets once a month at the Good­win Gallery, has a sum­mer gath­er­ing at a mem­ber’s home, puts on work­shops and holds a pit fire, in which artist glaze their pieces in the way Na­tive Amer­i­cans did.

The San Joaquin Pot­ters Guild is open to any­one.

For in­for­ma­tion visit

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