I have studied pottery and ceramics with Adrienne for almost 20 years at her studio. As a teacher, Adrienne offers guidance, feedback, tutorials, and inspiration from the perspective of what each student is trying to achieve with their work - whether it is form, a particular line, function, statement, color, or mastering the technical properties of working with clay. Adrienne brings together a community of artists in an environment where we are encouraged to explore, be creative, be expressive, and be open to learning from our experiences with clay and from each other.
Adrienne and third avenue clay reframed my artistic practice after years of not working in a studio. After giving birth to my oldest child nine years ago I needed a space. A respite. A safe and creative studio to receive guidance and inspiration. Adrienne’s approach to gentle but pointed guidance offered just that. Always open to exploring the emotional content and practical or structural considerations of a piece as well as at the ready to share images of other artists work that I can connect to or gain perspective from. I continue to learn so much.
I don’t know how else to describe the impact that Adrienne and the community she has built at 3rd Avenue has had in my life, other than to say that she found me, and in so doing, helped me find my way back to myself.
I remember my first class vividly…I showed up at 418 3rd Avenue a little before 7 pm, unsure of what to expect, and to be honest, a little nervous. I was greeted by a scene that looked more like the start of family reunion than a class. At first, only a few people were there, gathered around the huge studio table eating takeout and chatting. Then, the doorbell started to ring, and the room slowly filled. Presiding over the whole scene was a diminutive woman, who exuded wisdom, warmth, power, and love. I knew Adrienne was the real deal, and an artistic force. That’s a quality that can’t be described, only felt.
Adrienne’s teaching style? She meets people where they are in their development as an artist. For some, it’s technical guidance, pulling from her deep (40 year?) practice. For others, it’s creative provocation, challenging both process and concept. And for others, it’s inspiration. In my case, it was all three.
I came to 3rd Avenue Clay knowing I wanted to reconnect with clay. At this point, I hadn’t touched clay in about 16 years.
I returned to the wheel—the thing I thought I wanted to do—and threw a few timid vessels. Adrienne watched, provided pointers, listened…and let me do my thing…for a little bit. And then, when the time was right, she suggested that I experiment with handbuilding (something I had discounted out of hand—“handbuilding is for craft fairs and kids, and for people who can't throw”).
Early on, she recognized that the wheel no longer served me, but allowed me the space and time to come to that realization on my own. And this is the mark of a master teacher and mentor. Adrienne waited until I was ready, and when I was, provided me the spark, the encouragement, and yes, permission, to let go of what I thought I should do, and instead, happily surrender to what I want to do.
3rd Avenue Clay is much more than an artist space. It’s a place where we have the freedom to learn and grow, creating community and re-creating ourselves through artmaking. The people and the place are my sanctuary.
And I’m proud to say that I haven’t touched the wheel since.
I’ve been involved creating and studying pottery for over 60 years.
I have a MS degree from Pratt Institute, where I studied with Karen Karnes and Byran Temple. For about the last 5 years I’ve been under the tutelage of Adrienne. I am extremely fortunate to at this point in my pottery career to work with her. She has guided my art to be conscious of areas I have neglected. The “finesse” learned has allowed my art to be more reflective of my personal style.
Her knowledge and expertise guides all of her many students.
Adrienne is the kind of teacher you hope to get once in a lifetime! I have been lucky to be under her mentorship since I was a child and that was over 30 years ago. Most ceramic classes make you choose hand building or wheel work etc. Adrienne lets your creativity be the guide. She is generous with her hard earned knowledge and teaches you how to really look at things on a micro and macro level and understand aesthetic proportion form and function. I can’t help gushing about her talents and the influence she has had on me and my work to anyone who asks. Her compassion and intellect is real. She is a true artist and teacher of the highest order.
I started doing pottery as a little girl, at Greenwich House. Later, in college, I rediscovered it but it wasn't until I was firmly ensconced in the working world, years later, that I started to feel the pull to do something creative again. Without really knowing anything about her, I signed up for lessons with Adrienne after a brief phone conversation. That was over 12 years ago. Going to Third Avenue Clay and working with Adrienne has become not just a creative outlet for me but an integral part of my life and well being. Her teaching style is hand's off: if you need her, she is there by your side, imparting all of the wisdom of nearly 6 decades of clay work; but if you want to do your own thing, you are free to roam. Adrienne has her own aesthetic, and she has strong beliefs about the artistic process, but she embodies the ultimate spirit of teaching, I think, in her ability to push each student to further her own voice. And without Adrienne, I never would have the appreciation for process--journey versus destination--that I do now. She taught me the immense reward of making something is often so much bigger than the delight of seeing a finished product.
I have studied ceramics with Adreinne for over 25 years. It has and continues to be a wonderful experience. The atmosphere in Adrienne's studio is always one of freedom to pursue your ideas with support from her and fellow students. In the midst of discussions about food, politics and personal experiences, there is always encouragement to reach your full potential in clay.
After visiting the studio when they were in elementary school, both my children expressed an interest in studying with Adrienne. They enjoyed working with Adrienne for most of their elementary and high school years. Adrienne continues to inspire me with her capacity to continue to see all the possibilities in clay.
Eight years ago, I was feeling pretty stunted creatively. The collages I was making were no longer satisfying me, and I needed to explore something new. It’s difficult making work in a one bedroom apartment which is also inhabited by another human and two curious shedding felines. I needed to be around other artists. I needed to work outside of my home.
A friend mentioned to me that there was a space in Adrienne’s ceramics class. This friend had been working there for over a decade and asked me if I was interested in taking some classes. I said to her that I was very interested in sculpture and pretty “meh” about wheel throwing. She said that I would fit right in.
The room was a cacophony of sounds; chatter, laughter and food were everywhere. This was what was missing in my life. Community. Adrienne has built a community of thoughtful and supportive students who have learned from her example, many of which had already been around for at least a decade, each exploring their own way. It was beautiful, and I was ecstatic to be part of it.
Adrienne’s teaching style is well suited for my learning style. I like to explore independently, and then have someone around to ask questions to then lead me to explore something new. I am very interested in all aspects of the artistic process. Adrienne will kindly tell me that something won’t work, but then let me pursue it anyway to see why it won’t work.
She sees what you are doing and where you are struggling and helps you find your way. She brings materials that she finds that she thinks will inspire you further in your process.
Eight years later, I had a body of work that I am proud of. I can load and unload a kiln, grind like the best of them, make a glaze, and even occasionally throw a vessel or two. I have become immersed in all things clay, and I am so grateful to have such a wonderful teacher.
I've been attending Adrienne's clay studio on/off for over 40 years (OMG)
I started attending Adrienne's classes back when I was 8 yrs old. On my own; I would travel to her studio on President St. every Thursday after-school. I remember it fondly as a time in my life where I was starting to get my own independence. The class comprised of approx 6 elementary school kids all from different schools from my own.
I don't think I could explain why I was interested in clay at the time; but there was something about working w/ a medium in 3 dimensional space that I could manipulate w/ my hands. The thing I remember most about that time in that class was Adrienne's way of trying to bring out creativity in all of us. She had a bunch of reference books, magazines, and cut out articles she'd found. Every couple weeks we would go through these references and discuss them in class.
She never forced ideas / styles on us. LOL...I think if she did; I would've left the class. Instead she pushed us to experiment w/ different techniques and to document them so that we could develop our own styles, techniques, and references. If we didn't have any ideas on what we wanted to work on she would suggest projects that shared a theme the class could work on together. It was a great way of sharing ideas from one another. I had know idea at the time we were being "creative". Learning that art like everything in life is a process of iterating and pulling ideas from your own surroundings.
I think the biggest thing I learned from Adrienne and her class is patience!! Art is a process that never ends - as it always changes. Clay as a medium where you simply have to go w/ the flow.
When you have an idea and/or theme:
keep working on it
keep iterating on it
you never know what you may discover.