Meet Us

This page will introduce you to individual studio potters, show you some of their current work, and special interests. Just click on a name to navigate.

Alan Bell; Michael Bradford; Marilyn Catasus;  James Breuler;  Jeanette Dias;  Alice Fritz; Mary Hadley; Margie Haggerty; Violet Harlow; John Hedden; Joan Kliger; Karen Haselkamp; Cheryl Schechter; Sara Hsiang; and Mei Wong.

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Alan Bell
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Al BellAlan began his pottery career at CAW in 2003, first studying with Charles Jones, and then later with Stephen Rodriguez. He is currently working as a studio potter in both stoneware and porcelain, reinterpreting timeless forms from ceramic history, although generally in a larger scale. One of his artistic focuses is to explore modern and unique glazing techniques that can reawaken classical thrown forms. An example of his recent work, shown below left, showcases his throwing and glazing talents. It’s finished in Shaner’s Red, spray glazed onto the piece to create multiple red and black softly intermingled, vertically modulated zones. The scale, positioning, and contrast of the white diagonal overglaze stripes bestow the piece with a sense of action and dramatic counterpoint. Most of Al’s pieces are glazed in combination, another example being the tall Tenmoku flask (below right) with an overglaze design covering the upper third of the piece. The overglaze, which is Old Yellow, was allowed to migrate randomly during firing. Vertical glaze lines applied with a slip-trailer simulate the effects of lobing, giving the piece a segmented, grecian appearance. (Click on photos to enlarge)

Stoneware, cone 10 reduction, 14 in h x 10 in dia

Stoneware, Shaner’s Red Glaze, Cone 10 Reduction, 13 in h x 10 in dia.

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Stoneware, Tenmoko Glaze, Cone 10 Reduction, 12 in h x 7 in dia.

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Al currently lives in Hamden, and exhibits both locally and around Connecticut. He has participated in openings at CAW’s Celebration of American Craft, River Gallery at Fair Haven Furniture, and at the Gregory James Gallery in New Milford. His ceramic accomplishments have been featured in several local art magazines. Among other talents, he is also a licensed arborist, and hosts a “blues…..” program on WPKN (89.5 FM) radio. 

Selected other pieces are shown here below; but make sure to also visit Al’s facebook page, Alan Bell Pottery, for his most recent work, visitor comments, and studio info !

Bowl, Stoneware, Shino Glaze w Wood Ash highlights, Cone 10 Reduction, 3.25 h x 15.5 dia

Raised Bowl, Stoneware, Shino Glaze w Wood Ash highlights, Cone 10 Reduction, 3.25 h x 15.5 dia

Porcelain, Tenmoku w Old Yellow and Opalescense overglazes, Cone 10 Reduction, 12 in h x 7.5 in dia.

Vase, Porcelain, Tenmoku w Old Yellow and Opalescense overglazes, Cone 10 Reduction, 12 in h x 7.5 in dia.


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Vase, Porcelain, Copper Red w Opalescense overglaze, Cone 10 Reduction, 11 in h x 9 in dia.

Vase, Porcelain, Copper Red w Opalescense patterned overglaze, Cone 10 Reduction, 11 in h x 9 in dia.

 

Platter, Tenmoku Glaze w Plum Red slip overglaze, Cone 10 Reduction, 4.5 h x 13 in dia.

Platter, Tenmoku Glaze w Plum Red slip overglaze pattern, Cone 10 Reduction, 4.5 h x 13 in dia.

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Michael Bradford

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After earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering at UCONN, Mike moved to New Haven in the early 70’s, where he began working with stoneware at CAW, beginning study with Robert Parrott and David Frank. This instruction grew into a lifelong fascination with everything having to do with clay. He works in all scales, all forms, and every type of clay. A regular contributor to the Celebration of American Craft and CAW faculty shows, he also has been juried into local exhibits including GAC’s North American Exhibition of Functional Clay, the Orange Library gallery, New Haven Paint and Clay, and CAW’s Tiny Gallery. (Click on any photo to enlarge)

Classically-inspired pedestal vase with sculpted figure in high relief. Shino glaze ; 9 inches dia by 16 inches tall

Serving Tray; circular fiery glaze pattern on a black background. Stoneware; Thrown and Modified; 12 inches wide x 18 inches long. Presented at the Orange Library, October 2010

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He is inspired by Greek and 19th century ceramic design, and strives to integrate natural forms with classic ceramic styles in his current work. From a basis of wheel-thrown functional ware, his forming techniques now include combined wheel & hand-formed pieces, and wheel & pulled-form architectural assemblies. His work in assembling multiple thrown, pulled, extruded, and carved elements into larger thematic structures is believed to be unique in the craft. Examples pictured below include a pendulum clock, a centerpiece candelabra, and a castle-themed birdhouse.

Pendulum Clock; 15″ wide x 24″ tall; Stoneware with shino glaze

Candelabra; 24″ wide x 7″ tall; Tenmoku with orange rutile highlights

Tree-Mounted Birdhouse/Yard Ornament; 10 inches dia by 22 inches tall; Turquoise glaze

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Mike also works in smaller scale stoneware and porcelain; for instance, the hand-formed custom chess set (glazed in contrasting shades of brown) shown here. The King is six inches tall, with a 0.75 inch diameter base. All the pieces are solid, wheel-thrown, carved or sculpted, and fitted with a felt base to avoid scratching the board.

Another example is this sculpted, life-size set of cupped hands recently made for a private collector. The raw stoneware for this piece was reinforced with hair-thin nylon fibers to increase the clay’s “green strength.” This allows the form to withstand modelling forces without developing a fracture.  Shown here in the greenware state, the hands were eventually mounted to a pedestal, dried, and then slowly fired together as an assembly of solid elements.

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The Temptation of Eve (shown below), a sculptural interpretation of the biblical subject in terra cotta, was accepted into the 113th annual juried exposition of the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, one of New England’s oldest arts organizations. 

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The Temptation of Eve, Terracotta, Sintered granite surface, 20″ l x 10″ w x 4″ h, 17 lbs

In the sculpture, taken from the Third Book of Genesis, Eve is approached and deceived by the serpent into tasting fruit of the forbidden tree, which she knows is against God’s will, and which ultimately leads to her and Adam’s expulsion from their life of leisure in Eden.

Eve and the serpent are separately modeled, fired to cone 05, spray glazed with a mixture dominated by pulverized granite from Stony Creek, and refired to sinter the granite and bind it to the clay.

 

 

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Marilyn Catasus
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“As far back as I can remember, I have always been up to my elbows in some kind of project. Little has changed. Happiness is going to the pottery studio to push myself to new levels of expertise, or using my camera to share my perceptions of the world with others. My career as a special educator taught me to challenge preconceived limitations in order to help my students reach beyond what was expected of them. I have taken that as my inspiration to challenge myself to grow and reach for the unexpected within me.”

Highlights of Marilyn’s art education
include the time she spent studying ceramics at the Brooklyn Museum School of
Art and at Kingsborough Community College, where she continued her studies in ceramics, as well as in painting and photography. She recently became a Studio Potter at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut, where she had the privilege of attending Stephen Rodriguez’s Monday night advanced pottery class. 
A native NewYorker, Marilyn received her Bachelor’s degree from New York University where she majored in Industrial Arts – one of only a handful of women at that time to do so. She received her Master’s in Special Education from Brooklyn College.

When she is not working in the pottery studio or making photographs, she can be found playing her guitar, contra dancing or seeking out an Irish music session.


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Photos of some of Marilyn’s recent work are shown adjacent and below.

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James Breuler…....(Click on any photo to enlarge)
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Jeanette Dias
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Alice Fritz
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Mary Hadley
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Margie Haggerty
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Violet Harlow
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Recent Work :
Recent work includes creation of Sculpture Masks shown below in both the green and final stages; a series of hand-formed, stoneware “Barn Owls; and porcelain plates with sketetons illustrated in cobalt slip :

Sweet Gum Tree “Green Man” Sculpture Mask – Greenware

Sweet Gum Tree “Green Man” Sculpture Mask – Glaze fired

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Barn Owl Totem ; Porcelain ; 2" tall with Co Oxide and celadon

Barn Owl Totem ; Porcelain ; 2″ tall with Co Oxide and Celadon

Lazy Grey Owl Family ; Stoneware ; Tallest totem stands 3", smallest just over 1"

Lazy Grey Owl Family ; Stoneware ; Tallest totem stands 3″, smallest just over 1″

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Wheel – thrown Porcelain Faux Delftware Divided Skeletons Plate; front image

Divided Skeletons Plate ; back detail

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John Hedden

John feathering a slip design during 'Open Studio'

John feathering a slip design during ‘Open Studio’

It was back in the mid 70’s when John first walked down the hall toward metal sculpture and happened to glance into the pottery. “Oh, Oh…. that looks interesting !” In a change of plan, he skipped sculpture, and signed up for summer pottery with Adele Firshein; although in later terms, he studied mostly with then pottery director, Rob Parrott. He joined the Studio Potters, and for about 10 years people will remember he monitored the Sunday morning practices, where you could count on the door being open on time, the relaxing music of NPR’s Sunday Classical, and unique Quasimodo sculptured mugs.

A three day workshop with Makoto Yabe (now deceased) was to become an important influence in John’s pottery. (Some of Makoto’s work can still be spotted on the high shelf over the left side of the studio.) Makoto inspired John to change the whole way he approached clay; to set a definite plan for each piece; and to meld the creative process, treating preparing and creating as continuous rather than individual steps. Wedging integrated with centering and centering became part of throwing.

14 in dia White;Blue;Rutile;Blue Slip bands

Bowl: 14 in dia, Contrasting feathered slip bands;
White slip central spiral

The results are evident in this large, feathered-slip bowl. Four contrasting slip bands circle the perimeter, applied by brush as thickly as possible while the clay was still damp (white & blue, then rutile & blue). Advancing the wheel in small steps, the slips were sliced radially with the edge of a feather, producing a circular theme with linear counterpoints suggestive of light rays shooting out from the middle. After bisque, John plans to overglaze with Leach’s Celedon, a glossy and translucent iron green that will allow the slips to shine through.

John grew up in New Haven, which explains his familiarity with real estate here, and is a graduate of Hopkins. He holds a Batchlor’s of Arts degree from Yale University, class of ’58; and began his career as an international banker in Manhattan before spending about a year on travel in Japan. Currently, he’s a full time real estate agent with Weichert. John credits his ceramic education entirely to CAW. At the studio, he prefers the Shimpo and Brent wheels about equally, and throws exclusively on a bat; either plaster, or one held with pins .

Goblet; 3.5" dia x 5" h; Stoneware ;Dunham's Blue Glaze

Goblet; 3.5″ dia x 5″ h; Stoneware ; Dunham’s Blue Glaze

Some of his recent recent work includes this visually intriguing Dunham’s Blue wine goblet, formed from two thrown pieces joined leather hard, and whose height-diameter dimensions are scaled to the artistic Golden Ratio. The height & diameter of the individual pieces are also in proportion to each other, giving the profile yet a deeper level of symmetry. Functionally, note that the rim is just slightly flared for a better fit to the mouth. If you find yourself staring at this piece, those may be some of the reasons why.
John tries to keep his glazing simple, often using just one glaze to avoid excessive color effects. He even used dipping tongs to avoid overlap lines in this case. John finds that most of our glazes have enough natural variation to create interesting surfaces on their own:. “Glaze combinations quickly become unmanagable with all the individual and overlap colors; unless the piece is large enough, it tends to get really busy.” . The goblet has just the variation you’d want, going from a rusty spotted blue at the rim, to a thicker blue, to a white cloudy blue where thickest at the base. In recent years, Dunham’s Blue has been unreliable for reasons not understood. This piece is an excellent reminder of how nice the glaze has been, and still can be.

Shallow Bowl, Wall Hung; 16" dia x 4" h; Stoneware

Shallow Bowl, Wall Hung; 16″ dia x 4″ h; Stoneware

This large bowl, from John’s personal collection, is one of those “treasures of the kiln” so valued in a potter’s career. The piece was sprayed (to control thickness and variation) first with red underglaze, and then with a careful overcoating of opalescense. Done correctly, the glazes gradually merge, then slightly flow during the firing to create the blending seen here. A thin gray rim – where the red has pulled away – frames the piece, and merges into the red body, which is then overtaken by a deep blue altering to light blue, then green and finally to the crystally white center. A large classic shape with stunning glazes: it really doesn’t get much better !

Toad Abode; 8" dia x 6" h; Birdhouse; 7" w x 8.5" h

Toad Abode; 8″ dia x 6″ h; Birdhouse; 7″ w x 8.5″ h

On the whimiscal side, John has designed garden ornaments that bring a smile, as well as practical homes for small wildlife. The birdhouse (right side of the pic) is formed from two wheel thrown pieces. Its conical roof is pin-combed to give a rough thatched look, and left unglazed. The main house is the reverse conical shape, fitted with a 1.375″ entry hole and non-skid landing platform. It’s glazed inside and out with copper red; John recommends one long (~ 2 second) dip to achieve the best color. He’s included a window to let in air and light, and allow spray cleaning with the hose. It hangs from a rope extended from the roof peak and held with a small ball.
The Toad Abode (left side of the pic) is designed to allow entry by, and protection for small toads. It lays directly on the ground under shrubbery, and has a window and chimney to promote air flow. This piece is a must for anyone aspiring to join FrogwatchUSA, the national organization that tracks local frog and toad populations as indicators of environmental health. New Haven’s chapter is associated with the Peabody Museum.

Casserole; 8.25"dia x 4.75"h; Stoneware

Casserole; 8.25″dia x 4.75″h; Stoneware
Stoneware LP Matt with Gloss White interior

Anybody for Tex/Mex ? This two-quart casserole showing John’s mastery of the covered container is just what you’re looking for. Its boldly stamped Hedden’s Chili name tag erases any doubt about what’s inside. The design of the base may remind you of Makoto’s work. John then formed handles by cutting a small thrown cup in half, and hand tapering them onto to piece. The cover was thrown right side up and trimmed with a smooth rounded rim that allows it to self-center onto the base, which has the matching profile at about twice the width of the container wall.
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Joan Kliger
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Enjoying a bowl of soup at 2011 Bowl a thon

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Karen Haselkamp
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Cheryl Schechter
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Cheryl Schechter has been a studio potter for 3 years.  She began her pottery passion in college at The University of Arizona where she was enrolled in a class making basic forms.  She eventually moved to Connecticut to complete her studies in Physical Therapy at Quinnipiac University, and didn’t have a lot of time to pursue art.  On a whim Cheryl enrolled in a CAW class in 2004 with a friend.  She began throwing basic forms on the wheel in the Stephen Rodriguez Monday evening class, then eventually with Louise Harter.  “I enjoy the process of creating something by hand. The evolution of the clay from beginning to the end is always fascinating to me”   Cheryl enjoys both the wheel and hand building.  “The possibilities in working with clay are endless!”  She also enjoys the communal environment of working at CAW.  Cheryl has a husband and two children, one in college at The University of Delaware, and one graduating High School this spring.  Her son Brandon is pictured below.
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Recent Work

Some of Cheryl’s recent work is shown below:

Hand Extruded Mug with Chicken design; Stoneware

Hanging Orb; Stoneware

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Large Tray with Leaves

Turquoise Bowl; Stoneware

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Sara Hsiang
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Mei Wong
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