During the holiday shopping season, do you ever stop and think about who created the items you’re purchasing? Over the weekend, District Clay Center held its holiday pottery sale, where local ceramic artists displayed their handmade wares. Beautiful vases, delicate ornaments, earrings and necklaces, just to name a few, were for sale. With each artist showcasing their own unique style, there was definitely something for everyone on your shopping list.
I had the chance to meet and chat with one of the artists at the event, Madeline Rothman. She is one (of three) of the Artists In Residence at District Clay Center. The Artist in Residence Program is year long, and gives the artists a stipend, studio space, clay to create and a solo exhibition at the end of her year.
Rothman, a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, says of her experience at District Clay, “The studio is sort of run by the people who use it, which is unique. There is a lot of trust and respect within all of the artists to make sure everything is getting done and running smoothly. This is the kind of environment that clay requires and is also why I love it so much.”
“The community is so accepting and supportive.”
The space definitely has a warm familial feel to it. The holiday sale was my first time visiting District Clay, but I truly felt right at home. You could definitely sense the feeling of community, as fellow artists mingled and shared laughs as they set up their tables. As I walked around and explored the plentiful goods for sale, I was really happy to see such a diversity in style and goods at an excellent price point.
When I stopped by Rothman’s table, among her gorgeous, larger pieces of colorful pottery for sale, there was a section of equally beautiful espresso cups (or shot glasses… pick your poison) for sale, with proceeds from those directly benefiting District Clay’s nonprofit program Community Clay.
“I have been teaching as well as trying to raise money to grow our program and hopefully be able to give even more students an opportunity to learn and make art,” she says. “It is extremely rewarding after a class ends [and] how excited the students are to return.”
The District Clay Center partnered with ArtReach GW (George Washington University) to create a free clay class for children in the Southeast part of DC. The classes are held at THEARC: Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus.
“A lot of these students in Ward 7 and Ward 8 neighborhoods don’t have access to many art opportunities, especially with clay.”
Naturally, I took a couple home with me, as well as some other incredible goods from the local artists at District Clay. As I headed home, I was filled with joy at the knowledge of how my holiday purchases would directly benefit my local community. That to me is the pinnacle of the holiday spirit.
District Clay Center: 2414 Douglas St. NE, DC; www.districtclaycenter.com