Beneath the crowded weekend farmer stands and food stalls of Eastern Market lies Eastern Market Pottery. Prior to the April 2007 fire that shut down Eastern Market for two years, Eastern Market Pottery originally ran workshops and sold pottery on the second floor of the market above the food stalls. During the market’s renovation, Eastern Market Pottery moved to a temporary space in a carriage house in an alley off Third Street NE between Massachusetts Avenue and C Street. Since the reopening of the market in June of 2009, Eastern Market Pottery has returned to its permanent home in a renovated space beneath the market. Here the faculty continue the legacy of an organization has been a Hill institution since 1968.
We caught up with Susan Jacobs who has been teaching and refining her craft with Eastern Market Pottery since 1973. She works along side Ellen Jaffe, Audrey Jones and Lynn Murphy who have helped shape this organization and train potters since 1975, 1979 and 1991 respectively. While the workshop and showroom are in the basement, the well lit room and the beautiful stone walls of Eastern Market’s foundation create an inspiring place to work. The workshop includes several wheels, glazing stations and both an electric and a gas kiln.
Eastern Market Pottery specializes in adult instruction. The workshop focuses on making pottery on the wheel as well as decorating and glazing techniques. All skill levels are welcome but class size is limited to eight students. Classes take place in the evening between 7pm and 10pm Monday through Thursday. For those students whose schedule permits, a Thursday morning class is available from 9:30am to noon. All students have studio time available on Saturday from 1-5pm.
The cost for the evening course is $268 and $227 for the daytime course (at the time of this article). Each course consists of an eight week session . Weekly instruction, studio time, clay, glaze and firing costs are included. Do note that these classes are extremely popular and there is a waiting list to register.
In addition to teaching, the faculty of Eastern Market Pottery display their work in the showroom and sales area which is open on weekends from 10am – 5pm on Saturday and 10am – 4pm on Sunday. While the work focuses on wheel thrown stoneware, each faculty member has an area of specialization. For Susan Jacobs her stoneware focuses on simple, functional but beautiful designs while Ellen Jaffe enjoys exploring hand-painted, decorative surfaces. The prices are incredibly reasonable ranging from as little as $4 for chopstick rests, $16 for mugs and $30-$40 for larger bowls. If given proper notice, registries are available allowing one to offer a unique gift to newlyweds, family members or friends.
Eastern Market Pottery is located down the stairwell at C Street SE on the south side of the market, 225 Seventh Street SE, Washington, DC 20003. Their website is www.easternmarketpottery.com However, we recommend you call instead at 202.544.6669 or drop in for a visit.