A life with pots

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 7:00am

Since 2002, Ann Hedgcock has exhibited her unique pottery every summer weekend at the Boothbay Region Arts and Crafts Show. Her pieces range from wheel-thrown mugs, jugs, bowls, and dishes to whimsical handbuilt creations both practical and decorative.

Born in Damariscotta, Hedgcock has been working with clay for more than 30 years. At art school she majored in painting and drawing and after graduating she worked as a photographer and graphic artist in West Hartford, Connecticut. She moved back to Maine with her family in 1973 and did freelance work in a variety of media, but in the mid-1980s changed tack.

She took a pottery class at Maine College of Art. “They had a gas kiln, and that was the end of it. I was hooked.” Her husband had built her a studio at their home in North Yarmouth and now they have added a gas kiln and an old kick wheel. “It sounded like a train,” she said, laughing.

For 16 more years, she taught art at Freeport Middle School and in her free time worked with porcelain and stoneware at home. Then, in 2002, she retired. She and her husband moved back to East Boothbay where she now has a studio overlooking the Damariscotta River.

She likes every aspect of working with clay but her favorite thing is to create new pieces. “I could never be a production potter,” she said. “Everything’s one of a kind.”

She makes her own glazes and is always looking for new ones. Lately she’s been working with iron oxides, rubbing them onto the surface of her work before firing.

She tries hard to control the conditions that create her unusual finishes but, she said, “there are always surprises when you open the kiln. Most are just fine but some have colors and combinations that are amazing and unusual and, of course, some are disappointing.”

Despite practicing the craft for so long, Hedgcock feels joy every morning when she enters her studio and also has a sense of “mild anxiety that comes from making each new batch of pottery.” But, she said, that anxiety is all-important when it comes to working with clay, a medium that has and always will inspire and surprise her.

Hedgcock and Stonehedge Pottery can be found at the show on weekends and on the library lawn every Wednesday through the summer. Also see her works at her gallery on Farnham Point.