Down to Earth

Finding peace through pottery.

(DoNorth/Samantha Barcomb)

When Trisha Best made the decision to retire in the Adirondacks, opening her own pottery studio was a must.

Best was born in Santa Monica, California. She attended college at Colorado State University and the University of Denver before moving to Bay Shore, Long Island, where she worked as a courtroom deputy to a federal judge.

Best has always had a passion for pottery, but she began earnestly pursuing the craft in 2000.

“I was living on Long Island, and I needed a creative outlet,” Best says. “This pottery studio opened up near my home, and they were giving classes, so I signed up immediately.”

Within two years of joining the Earth’n Vessel Pottery Studio, Best became a teaching assistant and was hooked.

She moved to Keeseville in 2013 and found a house at 394 Mace Chasm Road.

The previous owner was a mechanic and had already installed the wiring she needed for her kiln and equipment. She and a lifelong friend spent six months rearranging the garage to open up space for the would-be studio.

“If I didn’t put the money into doing it, then I would’ve never gotten it done,” Best says. “So it was the first thing I did, and my kitchen is suffering for it.”

Her studio, Mace Chasm Pottery, is one stop along the Keeseville road, which is home to many local businesses, such as Ausable Brewery, Mace Chasm Farm and Butcher Shop, Clover Mead Cafe and North Country Creamery.

“Mace Chasm Road is a very happening place,” Best says.

The beauty of the Adirondack Park inspires her work—salt-fired pots, leaf-cut magnets and berry-shaped bowls. She coats her handcrafted kitchenware and bakeware in seasonal glazes, such as pastel pink for spring and burnt orange for fall.

Best throws each vessel on a wheel using food-safe commercial clay before firing. Her coffee mugs sold so quickly she began making them in batches of 12.

“The mugs I designed will fit into the cupholder in your car,” Best says. “It won’t slosh all over the place when you run out first thing in the morning.”

Best describes her pottery as functional.

“Things that you can use every day, but I think everyday utensils should be special,” Best says. “If you’re going to go through all the trouble to make a soup then you should eat it out of a special bowl.”

The North Country Potters Guild sponsors Best’s work, which is featured in craft shows, makerspaces and galleries throughout the Adirondacks.

Rulfs Orchard, a local farmer’s market, requested Best craft pie plates and berry bowls for strawberry picking season, which runs from May to June.

Since moving to the Adirondacks, Best has not only honed her craft but teaches others. She hosts classes for kids at her pottery studio throughout the year. When she isn’t crafting a new vessel, she’s dedicating her time to slabbing clay and planning crafts.

“Even if it’s just to clean up and check on things,” Best says. “I’m out there every day.”

Issue 11: Summer/Fall 2018

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