In 1955, fifteen budding potters banded together to organize The Potters Guild of Baltimore. The Baltimore Museum of Art had ruled that no student could attend more than two years of Olin Russum’s classes in ceramics, leaving his students frustrated for a way to continue in their work. With the help of then director Adelyn Breeskin, and the consent of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, articles of incorporation were drafted and the newly formed guild had the use of the Museum’s ceramic workshop for two days a week.
Lucinda Primrose became the first president of The Potters Guild of Baltimore under by-laws which stated in part the purpose of the Guild: “To further interest in sincere, honest and creative craftsmanship”. Members made contributions to cover rent, materials and a fund toward purchase of a kiln.
Armed with special museum passes, wearing overalls and sneakers, and carrying baskets of all sizes and descriptions; the members of the Guild trekked in and out of the Museum at all hours of the day and night leaving a wake of red clay dust on highly polished marble floors. On a few disastrous occasions, kilns were left to fire beyond their limits leaving a mess of melted pots and ruined shelves.
After two years of these early efforts, it came as no surprise when Mrs. Breeskin suggested the Guild look for a new location. After months of searching, the Guild settled into quarters at 201 Homeland Avenue. With the help of a bank loan and generous contributions from members and friends, they were able to put together a workable studio.
The following is a list of some of the important artist craftsmen the Guild, in the first 10 years, brought to Baltimore to lecture and exhibit their crafts:
1957 – Fong Chow – Oriental Division, Metropolitan Museum of Art
1958 – Priscilla Porter – Specialist Mosaics – Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.
1960 – Bernard Leach – St. Ives England
1961 – Marguerite Wildenhain -California
1962 – M.C. Richards – New York
1964 – Peter Voukos – California
1965 – Toshika Takeazu – Cleveland
1966 – Karen Karnes – Stony Point, N.Y.
1966 – John Mason – California
1967 – Bryon Temple – New Hope, N.J.