Pottery tour is a Minnesota tradition

Meet 50 potters at seven local pottery studios at the 21st Annual St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour and Sale on May 10-12. Each studio/pottery is just a short drive from the others, allowing some or all to be visited in a single day.

This springtime, self-guided tour is anticipated by all who enjoy handmade pottery. It is nationally recognized as a gathering of exceptional potters.

Always held on Mothers Day weekend, “The Tour” is an opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of local potters in their rural studios. This year, you can meet 42 accomplished guest potters who have been invited especially for this weekend event.

Begun in 1993 as an outgrowth of potters’ individual studio sales, “The Tour” has maintained its welcoming, open house-style hospitality. It has grown to be a once-a-year place to lay your hands on thousands of pots and meet with a total of 50 potters. This friendly, face to face connection between makers and users of pottery has proven satisfying to visitors and potters alike.

Visitors have said they found “unexpectedly warm hospitality,” “the highest quality anywhere,” and “stuff that I can afford and is American made.”

The seven host pottery sites include Linda Christianson’s distinctive studio and log home, nestled in a clearing in the woods; Guillermo Cuellar’s hilltop home and studio, overlooking the St. Croix River; Connee Mayeron’s pottery gallery-in-a-barn, just down the road from Franconia Sculpture Park; Jeff Oestreich’s early Minnesota farmstead, remade into home and studio; Richard Vincent’s oak-shaded, backyard studio; Will Swanson and Janel Jacobson’s studio along the Sunrise River; and the picturesque, woodland setting of Robert Briscoe’s home and studio.

“The Tour” has earned a reputation as a source of high-quality, functional pottery and an intriguing array of accomplished, ceramic expression. Visiting potters repeatedly say they enjoy the knowledgeable and appreciative audience that they find in Minnesota.

This year the potters are coming from 15 states and one from Scotland. They are bringing a wide range of handmade pottery to sell. Their work ranges from everyday functional to purely decorative, from rustic to refined, from whimsical to sublime. One visitor remarked about his day in the country, “It’s the kind of event where you want to bring your friends along so you can talk about what you saw.”

The seven pottery studios are located in the St. Croix River valley and Chisago County. Admission to all the studios is free and open to everyone.

In appreciation of community support, each year the potters donate a portion of their sales to a local or regional, educational and/or arts resource organization.

Visit www.minnesotapotters.com for a printable map, photos and more information about this year’s participating potters or call 651-674-4555.

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