I had this plan in mind for Thursday, but it rained torrentially that day, so I moved it to yesterday. And what a fabulous day it was! I’ve known about Guy Wolff’s garden pottery for a long time, but it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind until my friend Tracie posted a photo of a favorite GW pot on Instagram. (Thank you, Tracie!) He’s very famous and when Martha Stewart started featuring his work (she collects his pots) and also gave one of his pots to Oprah Winfrey, his fame increased.
So I googled him because I wanted to order one of his pots and it turns out he lives and works in Connecticut. Hello! Practically right next door! Yesterday, GPS in hand, I drove to his studio in Bantam, CT. (Stopped to pick up flowers at Trader Joe’s, of course).
The area of Connecticut in which he lives and works is gorgeous.
His website said that they’re nearly always working and the shop is open daily so stop by – and I did. This is the shop. In the same building, but behind the shop, is the studio where he and his wife throw the pots. I don’t know how much you know about Guy Wolff, but go to his website and google him, as well. He has a love for antique pots and works in that tradition. He is a master craftsman and artist and has a love for history that is referenced in his work. He comes from a family of artists (his father was an abstract expressionist painter) and his parents were friends with Alexander Calder. Marcel Breuer was his uncle. Quite the lineage!
I walked in the shop and said hello to another woman who was shopping. Her words to me: Get ready to become addicted.
Truer words were never spoken.
I wanted to buy everything and my senses were on overload.
As I started to pick the pots I wanted to buy, in came Guy!
Oh my gosh, he is the nicest person, so friendly, so warm and down-to-earth. We proceeded to chat for almost two hours! We talked about everything: theater, life as an artist and the strain of making ends meet (we all encounter this challenge), his children, movies, music, and of course, his pottery. I can’t even begin to relate everything we talked about, but I had such a great time. His wife, Erica Warnock, joined us at one point and it turns out she was student at Boston University in the theater department just a few years before I joined the faculty. So we had all of that in common.
Guy is also a musician and he plays the guitar and the banjo and he treated me to a mini-concert on a banjo from 1881, which someone dropped off at the studio as a gift for him. (I shot a video of him playing and sent it to Don.) He and Don would get on like a house afire – they’re also the same age, so I’m going to take Don there when he returns from California.
Little did I know when I stopped by to buy some pots that I would be there all afternoon. He also showed me the pots he has designed that are either based on actual shards found at Presidential homes like Monticello, or evocative of the style and/or clay found at Presidential historic sites; Roosevelt’s home, Hyde Park, for example. There are several designs and they’re beautiful. (Next on my “must have” list.)
I was amazed and overwhelmed by the selection but I went with my first love, his white pots.
I took this late in the day yesterday. Let me show you some closeups I took this morning.
This design is inspired by a pot found in Cornwall. The edge is called a pie crust edge.
The mark “G. Wolff” means the pot was made by Guy. The year is inscribed in the clay and the number 4 relates to the wet weight of the clay for that pot. It’s also signed on the bottom with his signature.
This is the largest pot I purchased. It’s gorgeous, as are all his pots.
Guy told me the pots marked 1 or 2 are made by his wife, Erica, and sure enough, there was her signature on the bottom. You’ll notice it’s also marked G. Wolff Pottery, indicating that someone other than Guy made it.
I bought four pots. One is a gift for a friend.
I’m simply crazy about these and I have no idea where I’m going to put them! I’m afraid to put them on the porch because of the intense winds we encounter here that sometimes knock things over!
I’ll figure it out.
I have to stop myself from driving right back there today and buying more pots. I’m so thrilled to finally own some Guy Wolff pots and, even more, to have the chance to get to know him a little. He and his wife are truly lovely.
His son, Ben, by the way, is also a potter and has a studio of his own now: Ben Wolff Pottery.