Inaugural Hudson Valley Women Who Woodfire Tour | Design & Decor | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

The Hudson Valley has long been a hub for artists and artisans, but in recent years, the density of talented ceramic artists has increased noticeably. With the advent of gas-powered and electric kilns, the ancient art of wood-firing ceramics has become a niche technique. But a brand new annual event, Hudson Valley Women Who Woodfire Tour will celebrate the artistry of local women makers in the field with two days of free, self-guided studio tours.

The inaugural event will take place from May 21 to May 22, between 10am and 5pm, and will showcase the work of 12 artists in the studios of three: Meg Beaudoin, Joan Shulman, and Meredith Kunhardt. The pottery studios are just a short drive from one another in Ulster County, offering a pleasant and educational outing. At each stop along the tour, the artists will share about their diverse creative and technical processes. There will also be hundreds of pieces of pottery work for sale.

Located in Stone Ridge, Meg Beaudoin left a career in psychology to become a full time ceramicist. Each firing of her anagama kiln lasts between three and seven days—a labor of love that involves stoking and feeding the fire. In her West Shokan studio, Joan Shulman brings decades of experience to the wheel, including almost 20 years with woodfiring specifically. “With each firing comes the same intensity, anticipation, and excitement as the firing before,” Shulman says. Meredith Kunhardt met Shulman at a firing in 2014 that Dan Greenfeld organized for Skidmore College students. She went on to work at Sugar Maples and eventually built her own woodfired brick kiln in West Shokan.

Each of these women has invited three guests. Visiting ceramicists include Barbara Allen, Eileen Sackman, Christine Owen, Lynn Isaacson, Deb Heid, Puneeta Mittal, Emma Kaye, Emma Silverstein, and Kayla Noble. The styles on display range from functional to sculptural, simple and timeless to playful and eccentric.

“Firing methods, which demand close interaction with the fire itself, tug at my heart,” says participating artist Puneeta Mittal. “I love the hard work involved, the community effort, the feeling of collaborating with nature to complete the work. I seek surfaces that purposely encourage touch and by inviting the hand to explore the forms as well as the eye.”

Learn more about the art of woodfired ceramics and the artists involved in this community during the inaugural Hudson Valley Women Who Woodfire Tour, May 21-22.

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