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Emma Silverstein (Left) and Lily Fein (Right) talk outside of Silverstein’s studio, a half shed in her backyard where she works in the warmer months on Oct. 26, 2020, in Athens, Ohio.

Ceramics celebrated at local pottery sale

As the saying goes, some things come around rarely – “once in a blue moon.” This weekend’s pottery sale, at 7888 Luhrig Road, is one of them.

The Blue Moon Pottery Sale is this Friday and Saturday. Hosted by Emma Silverstein, the sale will boast hundreds of handcrafted, unique pottery pieces. Silverstein and guest artist Lily Fein will have pieces for sale. 

Silverstein has been an artist her whole life, but she never really thought it would be her career. From the East Coast, she attended Syracuse University and got a B.F.A. in ceramics. Later, and more recently, she attended grad school at Ohio University. 

“I’m not really into the academic art scene,” Silverstein said. “I started grad school at OU two years ago, but I dropped out last winter and it was a great decision.”

Silverstein sees great value in art education, but school isn’t for her. Instead, she built a small, home studio this summer to continue making ceramics.

Both Silverstein and Fein attended Syracuse and have maintained a strong relationship; Fein visits Silverstein about five times a year, she said. Fein finds that she doesn’t really have a home base, unlike Silverstein and her Athens studio. 

Ceramics are affected by environment, location – a lot of things, Silverstein explained. 

“My work is more functional,” Silverstein said. “I make pottery for the home; kitchen, living, dining space. The kitchen is the test zone – like, an inspiration and a collaboration.”

Fein often travels and makes her pieces in different seeings. Fein’s pieces for sale this weekend were made in Texas and Montana. 

“When I make work in a new place, I am inspired by artists and working together and the natural environment,” Fein said. “It ends up being different each time.”

Also unlike Silverstein, Fein’s work is more “artistic” and Silverstein’s is more “utilitarian.” Fein also said her work is more delicate and sculptural, whereas Silverstein described her work as “everyday, sturdy and somewhat antiquated.” 

Paige Nico, Silverstein’s friend and housemate, thinks that Silverstein’s work captures the little things. 

“Emma is sage and relishes in the pleasures of slow food and respective economies,” Nico said in a message. “Her work captures the small moments of sensory delight without relinquishing tradition or being too flashy.”

The field of ceramics is very vast, Silverstein said. Silverstein and Fein also make their work with different methods; Silverstein uses a manual wheel, Fein hand-builds. There are also different types of ceramics, such as porcelain.  

But both must use kilns to finish their pieces. Kilns solidify the clay and make it usable; otherwise, a mug would dissolve mid-morning coffee. 

“This winter I’m going to Middlesex, New York to have access to a kiln,” Silverstein said. “The work I made here (in my home studio) is to continue my creativity.”

Silverstein’s home and studio sit right outside of Athens in a beautifully peaceful, wooded area. She quite literally builds her pieces from her inspiration – with clay from a nearby stream. 

Silverstein loves a good home sale and is excited for her pieces to find their forever homes. It feels good to see her work move on.

“It’s nice to show what you’ve been working on,” she said. “It’s a nice time where people are thinking of gift-giving – it’s timely.”

Fein and Silverstein estimate there will be about 300 pieces for sale this weekend – everything from small flower pots, vases, pours, jugs, pitchers and more. 

“It’s a wide spectrum,” Silverstein said. “There will be all different objects with different purposes. Some are even versatile.” 

The pottery sale runs from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. Masks are required, and cash, Venmo and checks are accepted. Parking across the road in the gravel lot is requested. 


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