Potters Market | The Detroit Jewish News

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Potters Market is a great place to shop for Christmas gifts.
Potters Market is a great place to shop for Christmas gifts.

The 45th annual exhibit will take place December 1-4 in Southfield.

Hundreds of innovative ceramic items are being displayed by three of the 125 Michigan and Midwestern artists offering their work at this year’s 45th Potters Market taking place December 1-4 at the Southfield Pavilion. along the Southfield Municipal Complex.

The market, the largest event of its kind in the country, will put up for sale some 35,000 original pieces with offers from 55 new artists included.

While Huntington Woods’ Donna Pearlman and Bloomfield Hills’ Ruth Weinbaum have experience appearing in the sale and have designed new items for this year’s show, West Bloomfield’s Rachael Polakoff is a first-year artist submitting original projects.

These three women agree that working in ceramics offers them a chance to relax as they prepare to display the talents they have developed through study and use.

The return of the market after two years of closure due to COVID has no entry or parking fees except on opening night and offers a section for the benefit of Leader Dogs for the Blind. At each event, usually annually, a different community organization is chosen to benefit.

“I’m showing planters, birdhouses, fountains, bowls and small plates,” said Pearlman, who does her work at the Michigan Art Center in Garden City and also does acrylic paintings and collage projects.

Potters Market | The Detroit Jewish News IMG 1408

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A selection of works by Donna Pearlman

Pearlman had established a career as a special education teacher before turning to ceramics, first taking classes at Oak Park High School and then going on to study at Oakland Community College (OCC).

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“It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to be creative,” Pearlman said. “I developed a passion for ceramics, and I find working on it very relaxing. I like the feeling of handling the clay. My first objects were for the family”.

Pearlman, a board member of the National Council of Jewish Women and a member of Adat Shalom Synagogue, keeps a small statue she made by copying an image that reminds her of her late husband. That piece stays on the mantelpiece in her living room.

The late Charlie Blosser, who taught at OCC and was married to Bridget Blosser, the woman who later accepted responsibility for managing the event, had asked Weinbaum to join Potters Market.

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Selected Works of Ruth Weinbaum

Potters Market | The Detroit Jewish News WeinbaumIMG 4719

“I’m an eclectic potter, so I make Judaica pieces as well as quirky and functional pieces,” said Weinbaum, proudly OCC-trained and working on her art in a home studio. “I spent the holidays making clay items and even made hamantaschen out of the material.”

Weinbaum, who has taught preschool at Congregation Beth Ahm, took a ceramics class at OCC and taught her students skills. She is also a knitter and makes gifts for family and friends.

“As a bubbie for over 20 years, my chicken soup is a hit and I like to put it in a handmade bowl,” Weinbaum said.

Thinking of art as a form of healing, Weinbaum has expressed that he wants it to remain available to young people for their individual benefit.

A Temple Israel member whose previous career had placed her in human resources responsibilities, Polakoff began learning ceramics about a year ago and works through the Clawson Clay Guild, where she has established a sense of being part of an artistic community.

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Potters Market | The Detroit Jewish News 22 Raachael Polakoff 3 pots
Works by first-time exhibitor Rachael Polakoff

Potters Market | The Detroit Jewish News 22 Rachael Polakoff

“I make a lot of bowls, vases, and plates,” she said. “I got started in ceramics when a friend asked me to join her at the Creative Arts Studio in Royal Oak, and then I moved to Clawson. I love clay. I relax and lose myself in the material.”

Polakoff said the combination of creativity and social connections make the learning experience all the more important. He likes to work with dark blue and green colors while developing different pieces.

“I spend a lot of time researching and combining glazes and have fallen for the full experience,” she said. “I have encouraged people to experience the Clawson Clay Guild. It’s a wonderful escape.”

Blosser explained that the potters go beyond showing their work. They are in charge of the other responsibilities inherent to the event.

“If you’re looking for that great handmade Christmas gift, this is the art show for you,” said Blosser. “The advantage of this sale is that we constantly restock.”

The 45th Annual Potters Market takes place December 1-4 at Southfield Pavilion, 26000 Evergreen. Preview Night, Thursday, December 1, 6-9 pm ($10 admission); 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, December 2 (free admission); 10 am -7 pm Saturday, December 3 (free admission); 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, December 4 (free admission). For more information, email [email protected] or visit www.thepottersmarket.com.