I established Ash Cove Pottery in 1986, when I left all other jobs behind and became a full-time potter. I have been making pots for over 50 years, 36 of them here in Harpswell.
I was going to celebrate last year, my 35th, but then the pandemic happened. And, 36 is a better number! In Hebrew, letters have numerical value. The letters that spell “Chai”, which means Life, have the value of 18. 36 or “Double Chai” is a special number for Good Luck, and donations and gifts are often in multiples of 18.
This photo was sent to me by a long time customer. Many potters use a mirror to see their pots while they are throwing. I tried it for a short time when this photo, published in the Times Record in 1987.
I made these “36” Bowls during the Jewish holiday of Passover, which is celebrated by telling the story of the 10 Plagues, the escape from slavery, and the pursuit of freedom. We are reminded to love the stranger because we were once slaves in a strange land, and also acknowledge that we are not free until all of us are free.
My pots are the medium I use to connect with people. The threshold between my showroom and studio is where I meet people, talk about pottery and life, and develop long-lasting relationships as customers become friends. I give back to the community that supports me by donating pottery to most local auctions and fundraisers that ask. My “Pots for a Cause” help raise awareness of groups that I support, and also to fundraise for particular causes. The “36” Bowls will benefit ILAP, Maine’s Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, which helps low income immigrants improve their legal status and works for more just and humane laws and policies affecting immigrants. They will receive $18 for each bowl sold.
April 2021, newly vaccinated and with hope that the end of the Covid pandemic is in sight, surviving a plague and moving towards freedom is a story that resonates personally. As we emerge from the restrictions of Covid, please continue to stay safe. I invite you to fill one of the “36” bowls with your favorite libation, and say L’chayyim! To Life!