Going to pot in Highland


The Hudson Valley region’s best-kept secret just might be West’s Ceramic Supply, tucked into an industrial court off Route 9W near Highland. A family-owned business now in its 47th year, West’s supplies Skutt Kilns, Laguna clay, Mayco Colors and scads of greenware and bisque products to high schools, colleges, businesses and potters all over the Northeast.

What locals may not know is that West’s also offers classes at very reasonable prices – most are free of charge, in fact. Anyone, kids and adults, can come to the small classroom to play with clay, get the feel of hand-building a piece and have it fired. Drop in and experience throwing a pot or two at no charge for anything but the material. For instruction in using one of the potters’ wheels, ceramist Peggy Yost can be engaged for a $40 class that includes all materials and firing in one of the three kilns on the premises.

A brief tour of the facility at 4 Lumen Lane given by Jo Ann Wilkin, daughter of founder Louise West, reveals a huge storeroom full of greenware and bisque, ready to be purchased and painted. “Gary [McCord, Wilkin’s brother] produces these, mixing dried powder clay with water in those,” she points to a couple of large mixing machines, “and pours the liquid slip into these molds to build up the right thickness. They dry for two or three days here. These are all our molds. He’ll pour into these every day for a week, then swap them out.”

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Over 5,000 different molds are numbered and stacked neatly on gigantic racks in another room, making it evident why the family moved from Montgomery into this facility two years ago. Wilkin explains the difference between greenware and bisque, and says that they are available at both wholesale and retail prices. She shows me the array of totally food-safe Mayco glazes to choose from for finishing these pieces, and says that people can bring in their own works for firing in one of the computerized kilns that heat up to 2,300 degrees. They carry Laguna Clay from Ohio and a large selection of potters’ tools.

At West’s Ceramics, no appointment is necessary. Just show up and have fun with clay. West’s delivers products to certain areas and will accommodate groups. Think birthday parties for your children. The atmosphere is casual and friendly. It’s rumored that they’ll even order in lunch.

Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, to 7 p.m. on Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Contact westceramicsinc@yahoo.com or call (845) 691-6060 for further information.

 

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