Northshore Magazine

May / June 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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60 | MAY + JUNE 2015 LIVE CONTACT Cynthia Curtis Pottery 80 Pigeon Hill St. Rockport 978-546-6186 cynthiacurtis sions a year, the studio buzzes with students of all ages, experi- ence, and skill levels. Curtis has become known for her specialized group classes, teaching visually impaired children, women with brain injuries, and older students with Alzheimer's disease. She also gives private lessons to individuals and families. "Families are fun," she says. "You get to see the dynamics, parents doing something really fun with the kids." Students have access to eight wheels, two kinds of stoneware clay, and 35 different glazes that Curtis mixes. "I like color so much," she says with a laugh. She names many of her glazes after fond memories. Cinnamon Bay, a Caribbean turquoise, is named after trips she took to St. John with her children. The gray-toned Oli- ver's Blue is named after one of the special studio cats. Curtis's own ceramics tell lyrical stories of nature, especially ocean waters. A hand-built tray is imprint- ed with a piece of Curtis's grand- mother's lace, with melted beach glass creating a sparkle effect. Lately she's been experimenting with white glazes and brown clay. Sea Fossils, a new line, are fash- ioned from brown stoneware in an eggshell-toned glaze that is wiped to expose the clay, and decorated with starfish and shells. Curtis, 56, started in ceramics in high school, but in college another part of her said it wasn't feasible: "I had to have a real job." She got her degree in special education and worked in retail management and marketing. After becoming a single mother 20 years ago, she enrolled in a class in Ipswich and her artistic fate was sealed. "I knew I wanted to make pots," she says. "The ques- tion was, how could I make pottery and take care of my children?" She began teaching in 1994, which was the start of a fulfilling side venture: community building. Bidwell notes that when Curtis built her studio, there was no place in the area to take pottery classes. "I've noticed that the ceramics art community on Cape Ann has grown," she says. "I would say Cynthia is responsible for growing a large ceramics community." Two years ago, two students and a teach - er created the Cape Ann Ceramics Festival, which draws potters from far away and from the local com- munity. Many credit Curtis with this new cultural identity. For Curtis, it's about giving and receiving. "There have been a lot of friendships that have started here, and so much community has been built," she says. "I'm so grateful for that." Left, Student Maggie Berkimose forms clay; Students have access to eight wheels, two kinds of stoneware, and 35 different glazes of Curtis's making.

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