Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8 and 9, seven pottery studios will be open for visiting from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The inaugural Midcoast Potters Tour ranges from the St. George peninsula, up the St. George River valley farmlands and along the Penobscot Bay coast

The seven participating studios will be welcoming tourists and clay aficionados alike to their workshops and galleries. The tour offers the opportunity to learn about the studios, working methods, kilns and processes; and to shop for finished pieces, knowing that purchases support the local creative economy. Following are participants in the tour loop.

George Pearlman of St. George has shown his work internationally and has been the recipient of numerous grants, residencies and teaching positions throughout the United States and abroad. A potter for 30 years, he established George Pearlman Pottery in 1999 after designing and constructing his three-story building on Route 131 over seven months.

Hanako Nakazato of Union (and Karatsu, Japan) is a 14th-generation potter. She is rooted in the traditions of her family, but her years in the West have influenced her shapes and surfaces. She has a wide variety of simple functional pieces at many galleries and shops in the U.S. and Japan.

Betsy Levine of Liberty built her soda kiln and established Prescott Hill Pottery in 2006. Formerly a painter, her incised technique and atmospheric "painting" distinguish her high-fire stoneware and porcelain tableware, storage jars, vases and evocative vessels. Her work can be found in collections in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, as well as in local galleries and shops.

Barbara Walch of Thorndike has been making handbuilt pottery since 1973 and is one of the few American potters who work primarily with the pinch technique. Walch and her husband, Charlie Krause, are proprietors of Fire Flower Garden, where her studio has been since 1989. In addition to her handcrafted stoneware dinnerware, they offer extensive cottage gardens, cutting beds and a roadside plant stand.

Jody Johnstone of Swanville established her studio in 1996, when she began the design and construction of a 24-foot long anagama tunnel kiln after a two-year apprenticeship in Bizen, Japan. Johnstone makes a wide range of tableware, vases and large garden jars, firing similarly to the way they did in Bizen, although she has gradually discovered new techniques, especially in glazing and loading.

Siem van der Ven of Lincolnville worked as a goldsmith, carpenter/builder and art educator and, while still teaching, earned an MFA  concentrating his studies on ceramics and drawing. Van der Ven’s distinctive work, characterized by meticulous and delicate carving, has won awards in several national juried competitions and is held in both private and public collections including the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, the Canton Museum of Fine Arts and Harrisburg Community College.

Autumn Cipala of Rockland discovered working with clay in 1992, while a student of painting at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Her engagement in the ceramic arts has led to many learning and teaching experiences throughout the United States and abroad. She holds a BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University; and an MFA from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work in translucent porcelain is inspired by nature and the work from many cultures, from China to Western Asia, North Africa and the Americas.

For interactive map and more on the tour, visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or