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Have Decals, Will Travel: Greenwich House Pottery

Earlier this month, I had an exciting field trip down to Manhattan's West Village to the wonderful Greenwich House Pottery

This non-profit pottery studio is a bright and spacious ceramic creation space founded by fascinating early 20th century dynamo Mary Melinda Kingsbury Simkhovitch.  

Simkhovitch founded Greenwich House in a poor tenement building in 1902 with her husband, a Russian-born university professor.  She lived out her days there overseeing the creation of an invaluable community space in one of New York City's then poorest areas.  Greenwich House provided the local population with a "kindergarten,  infant wellness clinic, playground, and library, as well as offering classes in pottery, painting, sculpture, music, and more."  Today Greenwich House still continues Mary Simkhovitch's original mission, providing invaluable space for social outreach, community service and a variety of art programs.

Young ceramic artists shaping mud at Greenwich House Pottery, circa 1944.

Erika in the house!  Greenwich House, that is.

Greenwich House kindly opened its studio doors to me to teach a workshop titled "Advanced Decal Application".  Students looked on and asked questions while I presented a technique for applying large-sized decals using a template.  Using a template to apply a large decal allows for better precision and less decal wastage. 

In this instance I used a porcelain teapot, to which I had previously applied and fired a pattern to one half of the pot.  I then showed students how to make a template whilst navigating unusual curves like those around the spout and handle.  I then traced the template onto the decal, carefully cut out my shape and applied it. 

The students looked on, passed around some fired examples I brought along and asked many questions.  What a great group of thoughtful and interesting ceramic artists.  We are so thankful to have been provided with this awesome teaching opportunity and we look forward to going back to Greenwich Pottery in the near future!

If you are interested in seeing what we showed the students at Greenwich House Pottery, check out this tutorial on our blog.  We've got some photos of the teapot we made during the demo at the bottom of this post. 

Are you interested in having Milestone Decal Art come to your studio to teach a demo?  We are committed to teaching ceramic, glass and enamel artists the art of using decals.  Let us know what you want to learn more about and if we are in your neck of the woods, we can try and find a way to come on over!

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