Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sally Rothchild

For my last post on our vacation in the Catskills, I'm turning to what I consider our official final experience of the trip. And man oh man, I couldn't have dreamed up a better ending. My mother used to collect pottery from each of her trips, and each time I visited home we'd go hunting for new pieces together (my favorite piece now was once her own favorite piece - one we found together when I convinced her to try thrifting). Though I was completely satisfied with our time in the Catskills, I was slightly lamenting having not found a pottery piece from this region of New York, so rich with artists.

Almost to Woodstock, on our way home, we drove by a sign reading "Pottery Studio" and yep, pulled over in two seconds flat. I thought it was a store/studio, but it turns out it was actually someone's home and studio. As I approached the door of the studio,  Sally Rothchild greeted me from the front door of her home (likely a bit startled).  I apologized and explained my mistake as I headed back to the car, but Sally invited me inside her Studio and then kindly welcomed me to photograph and write about it.

The kiln was full of her young student's work, she explained, like the cat toward the front of the photo (love).   Don't you just love it when a master of her craft shares her knowledge and inspiration (particularly with eager and open little ones)? And her studio was in an abnormal state, she said, as most of her stuff was off for a show.  But I found it beautiful and perfect - full of the process, work and love behind those stunning end results.

Sally, a mother of teenagers (with whom she regularly swaps music), has been a potter since she was a teenager, herself. She moved to the area from New York City, where she ran her business for years.

The pieces I bought from her are well used and loved, our favorite being the berry bowl, chipped from it's maker's testing and use.  She was a bit reluctant to sell it due it's "damage", but when I explained that the maker's marks would only add to it's charms, she was happy to pass it on to a new home. We've used it almost daily ever since. I continually find new and interesting dimensions to her pieces, like the way the color on the inside of a cup shines an iridescent purple in the light.  I imagine these little gifts will continue until each piece is as intimate as a twenty year old blanket, and even then new appreciations continue to arise, don't they?

Sally: a beautiful name. one of my favorites, actually. I've never met one I didn't instantly love.

Thank you, Sally Rothchild, for sharing your work and space with me, and for giving me the most perfect and meaningful ending to a such a memorable and special trip. Your grace and gentle manner continue to resonate with me each time I enjoy one of your works.

images: taken with my iPhone © Kristen Gregg


  1. Lovely pottery. I was just thinking about the name Sally the other day, wondering why you don't hear it more often. It's very sweet, and I've known only one.

    1. Yes it is! A dear friend of mine was named Sarah Claire and goes by Sally.

  2. As a child, my imaginary friend was named Sally. She wore a lot of red.

  3. I know a Sally, a little younger than me. But most Sallies seem to usually be my parents' age (late 60s). I think it's an adorable name or nickname that you just don't see much anymore. I've never known a Sarah who went by Sally either.