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updated thu 22 may 03


Louise Jenks on sun 12 oct 97

We are looking for information about starting a Pottert-Clay Group/Guild. The
group would not have shared studio space but would be for the purpose of
providing education, support, resources, possible workshops, charitiable
endeavors, shows and such. Any information about organization, rules of your
groups etc. would be appreciated.
Feel free to email me privately.

Barbara Reeley on wed 6 feb 02

We are a group more than a "guild" or "cooperative". I will be happy to
share information.

River Street Pottery
contact person: Barbara Reeley


Judith S. Labovitz on wed 21 may 03

I've been following this thread with interest...and decided to chime in.....

guilds are not for everyone!!!

I'm a member of the Greater Lansing Potters' Guild...a cooperative now its
our 34th year....we seem to function similarly to the Ann Arbor Potters'
Guild (no surprise there...we were patterned after them)

As a cooperative, we all do the work necessary to maintain a
studio, prepare for our 2 sales each year and the rest....committee work
(we have dozens of committees), kiln work, clay work, assisting with
classes and lab hours, ...we each are responsible for a glaze....we have a
cleaning rotation schedule and each of us must clean the guild at least 5-6
times a year...)the guild is cleaned EVERY week)...we also must hose at
least once a year (we hose every month)...and so it goes

Our president in fact DOES do the same work as the rest of us, including
cleaning the bathrooms....we have a 9 person board; three folks leave and
are replaced by 3 more elected folks every year.

The only people we hire are our instructors (who must have an MFA in
ceramics, and often are also our own guild members), and major
construction jobs..we hired Donovan Palmquist to design and build a
reduction car kiln and our salt/soda car kiln. (we also had a building
contractor add on a room to the studio a few years ago...hey...old potters
can only do so much!!!!)

We operate on the "point" system, as do other order to fire
pots in our kilns, members spend their earned points...1 point = 1 cubic
inch of kiln space. Points are earned by doing guild work at a rate of 300
points an hour, regardless of the nature of the work.

While committees may (and usually do) meet frequently, the entire guild
membership has only 3 mandatory meetings a year...our annual meeting, and
one preceding each sale.

Most of our community activities are non-points-earning events...folks do
them because of a special interest in whatever it may be....Empty
Bowl, sponsoring a tree at a Festival of Trees fundraiser etc

we operate (and so far rather successfully) on an honor system. There are
no guild police.

As in many groups, (I assume) there are folks who are more active than
others...but my experience with the GLPG is that to a greater or lesser
extent, EVERYONE really does participate...that's why we are still here!

It is not always rosy....there are personality conflicts, seemingly
endless debates over trivia (IMHO)...and much discussion among the 30+
diverse and strong willed potters.

Too...there are some very deep and lasting friendships...and I suspect
there are many of us who consider the guild to be second family.

Participation in our sales is mandatory. Pots are not juried as this
process occurs prior to someone being asked to be a member.

Membership is by invitation only. We have a Visiting Potters program as
an adjunct to our education program. Advanced students (and others with
potting skills) may apply to be visiting potter, and may be invited to a
1 year renewable (for 1 additional year). VP's have all the
responsibilities and rights as members EXCEPT voting privileges.

Of the current 31 active members, 7 are original founding
members. Probably less than 1/4 of us actually use the guild as a
studio, although many more fire their pots at the guild

We have a fully equipped studio...12 wheels, 6 kilns, slab roller etc

we sponsor several workshops a year, having had the good fortune to host
folks such as Pete Pinnell, Robin Hopper, RuthAnn Tudball, Mitch
Lyons....lots and lots of great and talented folks not mentioned...this
post would REALLY get long...

yes, in a coop we share the labor, we accept others handling our
pots, and we rejoice together when we have a really spectacular
firing! There are times the firing schedules may not coincide with a
personal schedule and need for pots ...times when the guild is really busy
and we bump into each other.... there are also many times when I am the
only one there...sometimes enjoying the quiet, sometimes wishing for
companionship. We learn from each other, and we teach each other.

I repeat. a cooperative guild is not for everyone. However, it works for us!

Folks uncomfortable with it tend to self-select themselves out....or don;t
apply to get in in the first place.

questions? email me off list


judy in sunny (albeit chilly) mid Michigan