Weehawken Arts opened its All Fired Up Clay Center in March of last year. Now it is opening again.
Actually, it has been operating all along – yet goings-on at the center feel new. The center has a fundraising campaign in full swing, and it will offer an open house to greet new patrons this coming Monday, October 23. It is all because the ceramic studio, an underappreciated gem, is in a fight for its life.
Since its inception, Weehawken’s pottery center has offered classes in Hand Building, Wheel Throwing and Specialty Techniques to adults and children in the Ridgway community, and hosted youth camps, birthday parties and community events. The center has been quietly growing – too quietly, it turns out. Though the ceramics studio offered a new artistic medium to the community, few heard of it. Perhaps it’s because many of the classes were at least as much (and maybe more) about painting pottery rather than creating it. Although pottery-painting courses are popular, and the studio will continue to offer a chance to come in and paint ceramics, walk-in, paint-your-own classes won’t be offered any more. The strategy seems deliberate; Ridgway is a community of artisans (indeed, more than 10 percent of the town’s population are visual, design, publishing, performing, culinary and brewing professionals) and the people who could really benefit from using this place might be working potters like Deidra Krois, who is collaborating with her good friend, the poet Erica Moss Gordon, to create ceramics with inscriptions such as this:
A pause, a word
space for love, love
that only moments
All Fired Up has the potential to become a true working artisans’ studio, and the possibilities for creative synergies such as Krois’ and Gordon’s are limitless. On the other hand, the owner of the pottery equipment Weehawken had been leasing has recently moved, and All Fired Up must now purchase a number of new pottery-making pieces – kilns, wheels, tools and more – that are critical if it intends to remain a fully working studio. Without these resources, the studio will close at the end of the year. Accordingly, Weehawken has begun a fundraising campaign to raise the $10,000 it needs by December 31 to keep the studio afloat, and an anonymous donor has agreed to match contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $1,000 to help get things rolling. (To make a donation, visit tinyurl.com/lfdvbk9.) And on October 23, Weehawken will be displaying its spruced-up, sleeker space in an Open House at 167 N. Cora Street from 6-7:30 p.m., at which there will be pottery demonstrations, hand-building ideas, open studio information and a preview of classes and special events. Snacks and beverages will be served. It’s a great chance to see what the studio has to offer both working ceramicists as well as those who aspire to create. “It’s a wonderful space,” says Deidra Krois, who has taught at All Fired Up and also run the Ah Haa School’s pottery studio. But too few know about it, and those who do may not realize how it is changing to accommodate the needs of this small, but very artistic, community. On October 23, they will.