Pottery has been an integral part of the arts community in the St. Croix Valley since the 1950s. Nationally and internationally renowned pottery has been produced here for decades, and that pottery tradition has amplified the diversity of arts created in artist studios dotted throughout the rural communities of the St. Croix Valley.
For 25 years, the anchor of this pottery tradition has been the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour. The host potters, many of whom have studied and thrown pots with legendary potter Warren MacKenzie, are known for continuing the tradition of mentorship for emerging ceramic artists. And while the tour brings thousands of visitors to the valley in May, the dozens of potters based in the St. Croix region continue to produce and sell beautifully, hand-crafted, functional pottery year round.
Open studios during Take Me to the River provide an opportunity for artists to mingle with visitors, talk about their craft and spread their love for pottery to others.
Peter Jadoonath Backyard Pottery Sale can be found in just north of the Hwy. 8 traffic circle by Franconia Sculpture Park. Peter moved his studio to this Shafer homestead in 2014 are resumed the annual Backyard Sale he began in St. Paul. With fellow potters Joe Singewald, Jason Trebs, Mike Helke and Sarah Dudgeon, Peter’s sale is one not to be missed. Work by these potters showcases the young talent in ceramics that will carry the St. Croix Valley pottery tradition into the next several decades. Oh, and you have to check out the chickens hanging out among the pottery.
Just north of the Osceola bridge in Shafer, you will find Guillermo Cuellar and Friends: Fall Pottery Sale. Guillermo moved to the St. Croix Valley 12 years ago from his native Venezula. He chose the St. Croix Valley after meeting and working with Warren MacKenzie at the latter’s workshops to the South American country. In addition to being a host studio during the spring pottery tour, Guillermo hosts a fall pottery sale with guest potters. This year he will be joined by potters Dick Cooter, Jim Lorio and Mike Norman as well as textile artist Debbie Cooter. Guillermo’s open studios are known for high-quality ceramics as well as amazing views and welcoming hospitality.
Nick Earl Fall Pottery Sale at Abnet Farm is a new event in a familiar pottery space. The Farm, owned by Edie Abnet, was a was a key location in the pottery community in the St. Croix Valley when it was established by the late Richard Abnet. The converted dairy barn that housed his studio and showroom for decades was re-opened a few years ago by host potter Nick Earl, but the space still has a few of the last bisque-fired pieces by Richard in the studio. In addition to Nick’s pottery, fellow potters Bill Gossman, Ernest Miller and David Swenson will have work available for purchase.
- Guillermo Cuellar and Friends: Fall Pottery Sale, 1885 263rd St., Shafer (Sept. 22-24, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; free admission)
- Nick Earl Fall Pottery Sale at Abnet Farm, 16885 Square Lake Trail, Stillwater (Sept. 22-24, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; free admission)
- Peter Jadoonath Backyard Pottery Sale, 30208 Tern Ave., Shafer (Sept. 22-23, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; free admission)