Wednesday, April 18, 2007

end of an era

“Verdigris Clay Studio and Gallery wants to be to San Francisco’s ceramic community what North Beach once was to beat poets.”
— SF Chronicle

I heard the sad but not unexpected news the other day that my girls at the Verdigris Gallery in San Francisco, Mary Mar Keenan, Christa Assad, and Rae Dunn are going to be closing their workshop and gallery. Verdigris has been providing a place for Bay Area ceramic artists to show their work and a working studio for the "Verdigris Girls" for 8 years. The building they are housed in, The Cannery, is a beautiful old brick building near the Fisherman's Wharf. For reasons that I don't understand the building has never attracted a lot of foot traffic, and the owners finally gave up and sold it off to some entrepreneurial types who have visions for it, the first vision being a staggering increase in rent.

I met all three of these amazing women through different connections: I've known Christa since I've been an exhibiting artist and she managed a Berkeley gallery I was in many years ago. I was irresistibly drawn toward Christa and her pottery, and we have been good friends ever since. I met Rae a bit later when we juried into the Clay and Glass Association the same day and had our work set up across from each other. I loved Rae's whimsical style of creating pottery and jumped on her when jurying was over, probably overwhelming her just a tiny little bit. Rae was already partners with Mary Mar at Verdigris, and so I met Mary Mar soon after. Verdigris is really Mary Mar's baby, so when there was an opening in the partnership, she called me up and asked if I wanted to join them. I didn't want to work in San Francisco, but right then Christa was making noise about not having a place to work and moving back east, so I stuffed her in my car and took her over to Verdigris, where she has been working ever since. They are all such different types of people, and I have always been totally impressed that they run such a great gallery, and create pottery in the same space without going crazy or constantly complaining about each other. The Verdigris Girls are truly an unusual threesome.

They are having a closing party and sale next Wednesday evening, on April 25. This will be a great chance to scoop up some great pottery at a discount, check out the gallery before it closes, and hobnob with some of the Bay Area's finest potters. Hope to see you there!