Hilltown 6 Pottery Tour moves online this month

  • A piece of pottery by Knox.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Hilltown 6 potters

  • Designed floral pottery cups by Christy Knox.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Hilltown 6 potters

  • A cooking pot made by potter Constance Talbot.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Hilltown 6 potters

  • A piece of pottery by Constance Talbot.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Hilltown 6 potters

Staff Writer
Published: 9/10/2020 9:20:37 AM
Modified: 9/10/2020 9:20:25 AM

The annual Hilltown 6 Pottery Tour, featuring the work of nine potters across six hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, is moving to an online/hybrid format Sept. 26-27 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been a tour where we invite you to travel on these back roads and come and meet us and our families and all our helpers,” said Constance Talbot, who owns High Hollow Pottery in Windsor. “It’s all about making pots and enjoying the summer at our homes … Now we have to make all these big changes. We’re trying to give people a virtual experience to visit online.”

Many of the potters and artists featured in the tour, now in its 14th year, have been impacted financially due to canceled events that were scheduled prior to the onset of the pandemic, she noted.

“This year has been really hard because all of the shows are down, and so this tour is a big, important thing for all of us,” Talbot said. “We’re all potters who are making our living doing it.”

This year, potters will be selling their wares online or, in some cases, via scheduled appointments on site, she said. Any in-person tours will be in keeping with public health guidelines. Twenty guest artists will be selling their art online in addition to the Hilltown 6 members.

The pottery tour will also give back to the area community via a fundraiser called “Art Supplies for Kids” (ASK), in which potters will donate $600 to $1,000 in art supplies to local public schools in the hilltowns, Talbot said.

“Many of our rural schools can’t afford adequate art supplies for our kids,” she said. “We’re all concerned that they have a kit or something that is theirs so that they can take it home and have enough supplies so that they can paint and draw and express themselves during this period.”

Cummington resident Christy Knox, who owns Natural Elements Pottery, said she thinks art is crucial now, at a time when there’s a “cultural void” of arts events.

“The pandemic provides lots of disappointment for everyone,” she said. “It’s sort of the universal thing we all share. But one of the things that I think has been really hurt by the pandemic is the cultural richness that we have as a culture — the art.”

Local potters featured in this year's exhibit include Westhampton artist Robbie Heidinger; Christy Knox, of Cummington; Maya Machin, of Ashfield; Michael McCarthy, of Williamsburg;Worthington potter Hiroshi Nakayama; Mark Shapiro, of Worthington; Eric Smith, of Cummington; Constance Talbot, of Windsor; and Westhampton artist Sam Taylor. Guest potters are Hayne Bayless, Ben Bonsall, Ben Eberle, Annette Gates, Ellen Granadier, Tiffany Hilton, Janel Jacobson, Jody Johnstone, Rie McCarthy, Mathew Meunier, Stephen Procter, Ikuzi Teraki and Jeanne Bisson of Romulus Craft; Paula Shalan; Adam Spector; Will Swanson; Reid Temple; Steve Theberge; Sumiyo Toribe; Tom White; and Adero Willard.

For more information about the Hilltown 6 Pottery Tour visit hilltown6.com.

Chris Goudreau can be reached at cgoudreau@gazettenet.com.

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