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Pottery trail turns 10 this weekend

  • Tom White works on a bowl in his studio on Monday in preparation for the 10th Annual Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail this weekend, held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at nine potters' studios across the Franklin and Hampshire counties.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Tom White works on a bowl in his studio on Monday in preparation for the 10th Annual Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail this weekend, held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at nine potters' studios across the Franklin and Hampshire counties.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tom White displays some of his finished works at his gallery in Northfield on Monday.  He will be one of nine potters selling wares at the Asparagus Valley Potter Trail this weekend, hosting three guest potters and a band on his property for visitors.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Tom White displays some of his finished works at his gallery in Northfield on Monday. He will be one of nine potters selling wares at the Asparagus Valley Potter Trail this weekend, hosting three guest potters and a band on his property for visitors.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tom White finishes a wavey pattern on a bowl in his studio in Northfield on Monday in preparation for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail this upcoming weekend.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Tom White finishes a wavey pattern on a bowl in his studio in Northfield on Monday in preparation for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail this upcoming weekend.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • A thin film of clay sits on the tools, cups and walls of Tom White Pottery in Northfield on Monday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    A thin film of clay sits on the tools, cups and walls of Tom White Pottery in Northfield on Monday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tom White works on a bowl in his studio on Monday in preparation for the 10th Annual Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail this weekend, held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at nine potters' studios across the Franklin and Hampshire counties.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Tom White displays some of his finished works at his gallery in Northfield on Monday.  He will be one of nine potters selling wares at the Asparagus Valley Potter Trail this weekend, hosting three guest potters and a band on his property for visitors.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Tom White finishes a wavey pattern on a bowl in his studio in Northfield on Monday in preparation for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail this upcoming weekend.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • A thin film of clay sits on the tools, cups and walls of Tom White Pottery in Northfield on Monday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

For the past decade, the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail has brought folks to the area from far and wide, in search of the perfect pot.

This year, the trail will host 20 potters from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at nine locations in Shelburne Falls, Greenfield, Northfield and Hampshire County.

Area artisans will invite their customers into their studios, give demonstrations on their potters’ wheels and host musicians and guest potters.

“It grows steadily every year,” said potter Tom White of Northfield. “We’re getting more and more visitors, and sales have grown, too.”

White said last year’s pottery trail grossed about $58,000.

The northern leg of the trail begins — or ends — up in Northfield, at White’s 205 Winchester Road gallery and studio.

Last year, White hosted several other potters, a New Hampshire artist who weaves branches and twigs into sculptures, and Northfield musicians. He had hoped to give visitors a reason to make the trek to his studio, 15 miles from the next stop on the tour.

“After last year’s pottery trail, other potters were kidding me, saying people were showing up at their studios, and telling other people ‘You need to get up to Tom White’s, it’s quite the party,’” said White. “I had more people here than any other stop on the trail.”

This weekend, White will try to recreate last year’s success.

He will feature guest potters Holly Walker and Martina Lantin, as well as Sam Taylor, who has a massive wood-fired kiln in Westhampton. Local musicians Phil Watson and the Fiddlin’ Chiselers will play from noon to 5 Saturday, and natural materials sculptor Mark Ragonese will return to build another art installation.

White said he likes hosting live demonstrations, giving people a window into the artists’ world.

“People who come to the pottery trail want to see what you do, where you do it, see your kilns, chat, get to know the potters and see what your creative life is about,” said White. “It’s nice. They seem to appreciate what they buy more, because they get to know who made it. You don’t always get that when you’re shipping your work to galleries or participating in a big show.”

Other Franklin County potters also have a lot to offer, and White said most stops on the trail will feature live music and refreshments.

Lucia Pottery owner Lucy Fagella will be joined by potter Victoria Crowell, at 86 Leyden Road, Greenfield.

Three Shelburne Falls galleries will be open for the weekend sale. Mary Barringer will host Todd Wahlstrom at 5 Cross St., Molly Cantor Pottery will feature Nicole Acquillano at 20 Bridge St., and Stephen Earp Redware at 15 Masonic Ave. will also welcome pottery trail travelers.

White said the potters aren’t the only ones getting some good exposure at the annual event.

“The trail brings people right into Shelburne Falls, and if they can get you in, they’ll get you back,” White said.

He said the event also benefits other businesses along the trail.

“A lot of people come from far away, and stay at local bed-and-breakfasts, like Centennial House in Northfield,” said White. “When you have 300 people coming through town, they’re all going to need something, like a place to stay or a bite to eat.

Galleries in Florence, Hadley and Pelham will also participate in the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail.

Anyone who visits at least seven of the stops on the pottery trail and has their “passport” brochure stamped will have a chance to win one of nine mugs made by the host potters. Additionally, $5 tickets will be sold to win nine dessert plates made by the tour potters. Raffle proceeds will benefit the Crafts Emergency Response Fund.

For more event details, visit www.asparagusvalleypotterytrail.com.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279 @RecorderRain

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