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ALL FIRED UP

Local handcrafted pottery for food and drink.

WRITTEN BY MAGGIE O'NEILL
PHOTOS BY CANDICE NYANDO AND JACI GOODMAN

Pottery is a beautiful addition to any display shelf or floral centerpiece. But if you're looking for functional items to give as gifts to friends, relatives, and those hard-to-please in-laws over the holidays, pottery fits that bill, too. Plenty of shops in our area offer handmade pottery vessels perfect for serving beverages, salads, and appetizers, or just beautifying a table. Take a look at some of the pottery items that can be found at these area locales:

Artists Co-Op Gallery of Reno

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This place will knock your socks off when it comes to the large variety of food and drink pottery available. Upon entering, you may run into the work of Joan Miller, who retired to Reno after teaching high school ceramics in San Diego. Her mugs and tumblers range from $14 to $18, but she also makes small bowls and serving plates. Cheryln Bennett, gallery director, notes that Miller is the Co-op's biggest seller of pottery.

"I like her mugs because they're light and nice and they fit in the hand well," Bennett says.

Miller also sells an exquisite French butter keeper. Other potters with work for sale at the Artists Co-Op include Reno's Joe Winter; Sharon Randall of Minden; and Isabel Perez Judge of Janesville, Calif., whose earth-toned bowls feature rock art images, as do many of Miller's mugs specifically made for the Nevada Rock Art Foundation.

Artists Co-Op Gallery of Reno
627 Mill St., Reno
http://www.Artistsco-opgalleryreno.com, 775-322-8896

Red Chair

Among the many fabulous gifts and home furnishings you'll find in this store are several pottery items that beautifully showcase food. Many of them are handcrafted by Kelsie Harder, a visual arts professor at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno. Among these is a shallow dish with hints of green and blue running through it — terrific for serving brie. Red Chair owner Aaryn Walker, who admits to having at least a half-dozen of Harder's bowls at her home and has sold Harder's work at Red Chair for 10 years, says his pottery is a huge hit simply because of its quality. She suggests many of his items for housewarming gifts.

"My clients love the weight," she says. "They say they feel like [Harder's items] are not going to break."

Red Chair
3434 Lakeside Drive, Reno
775-770-0111

The Gift Shop at The Children's Museum of Northern Nevada

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Carson City potter Robin McGregor believes in making pottery items that are useful, which may be why mugs, plates, and bowls are a big part of her product line.

"I am a functional potter and love making things for use with food," she says.

Case in point is a large blue bowl available (at press time) at the children's museum.

"You can use it for anything," she says. "Because it has a light background, something darker or very colorful — maybe pasta — would look beautiful in it. It could even sit on a counter and hold fresh pickings from the garden."

McGregor used an iron oxide wash on the bowl that allowed the bluish-gray color to be retained in its crevices. The outside is carved with flowers and vines. "It's a really gorgeous bowl," says McGregor, who also teaches pottery classes for adults through Carson City Pottery. She offers custom items upon request, too.

The Children's Museum of Northern Nevada
813 Carson St., Carson City
http://www.Childrensmuseumnn.info, 775-884-2226

Never one to shy away from exploring niche shops in town, freelance writer Maggie O'Neill enjoyed hunting down locally crafted food and drink pottery items. Due to the wide range of affordable, handmade items she found at the Artists Co-Op of Gallery of Reno, she's recommitted to giving locally made gifts over the holidays.

Make Your Own

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Learn to be a potter at The Wedge in Reno.

Inspired to make extraordinary pottery gifts this holiday season? Check out The Wedge Ceramics Studio. Opened about 18 months ago, the membership-based studio offers independent potters the space to do things that would otherwise require them to have their own studios or enroll in pottery classes.

Founded by Sutter and Samantha Stremmel, The Wedge provides everything from locker and shelf space to the use of electric kilns and pneumatic extractors.

"It's everything a pottery studio could have," Sutter says.

The open space is incredible, but the separate gallery space up front also provides an area away from the action where featured artisans' work can be presented. In fact, the Stremmels are unusually close by — they also own Sierra Water Gardens, which is located right across the street on Dickerson Avenue in Reno.

Memberships are available at $120 a month and each includes unlimited firing, around-the-clock access, and three storage shelves. Other options are the purchase of a 10-punch pass card for $100. Non-members can check out Open Throw Wednesdays. From 6 to 9 p.m., a fee of $20 gets you studio time, tools, clay, and a bisque firing. Classes and workshops also are available and more details can be found online.

Currently, about 20 to 25 members take advantage of the studio space, including Reno-Sparks potter Paulo Serapiglia, whose work can be found at Paulo's Pottery on Facebook.

"There is no other place like this," Serapiglia says on a Sunday at The Wedge. "I can come in any time I want."

He also doesn't fail to note the beer fridge that is available.

The Wedge Ceramics Studio
2095 Dickerson Road, Reno
http://www.Thewedgeceramics.com, 775-770-4770

Resources

Handmade pottery for any table also can be found at these area locations:

Argenta Earth & Fire Co.
1631 Main St., Gold Hill, Nev.
http://www.Nevpotter.com, 775-847-7466

Dreams to Reality Functional Pottery
http://www.Dtrpottery.com, 775-425-9271
By appointment only

Sells functional kitchen pottery and specialty pottery

Peavine Pottery
295 Oregon Blvd., Lemmon Valley
755-677-1103
Carries a vast assortment of functional pottery items for the kitchen as well as wooden products such as spatulas, salt and pepper shakers, and cutting boards

Playful Potter
1351 E. Prater Way, Sparks
http://www.Playfulpotter.com, 775-356-5811
Carries a wide assortment of functional food and drink pottery

The Clay Canvas
550 W. Plumb Lane, Reno
http://www.Theclaycanvasreno.com, 775-828-4118
Specializes in make-your-own pottery, but also can make pieces on request. Guests may find a few pieces of already-made pottery for sale at the store

T Pots Pottery
11012 Donner Pass Road, Truckee
http://www.Tpotspottery.com, 530-550-7822
Mugs, bowls, colanders, and chip-and-dip sets

Wildflower Village
4395 W. Fourth St., Reno
http://www.Wildflowervillage.com, 775-787-3769

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