Photos by Janel Jacobson
Reserve a stretch of your weekend for the 26th Annual St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour. The self-guided, three-day tour, May 11-13, draws potters and pottery aficionados from across the country to Chisago County to see, shop, and talk pottery.
Always held on Mother’s Day weekend, the tour encourages visitors to enjoy the hospitality of local potters in their rural studios. This year, seven pottery studios—each just a short drive from the others—will host accomplished guest potters from around the nation who have been invited by their host potter especially for this weekend event.
The tour includes 62 potters, showcasing work ranging from everyday functional to decorative and/or sculptural, from rustic to refined, from whimsical to sublime. Most of the work shown is functional and meant to be used. While you browse among the thousands of pots on display, you can meet and talk with the potters. This face-to-face connection between makers and users of pottery is part of this tour’s attraction, satisfying to visitors and potters alike. Past tour visitors report unexpectedly warm hospitality (as well as handmade works they can afford to buy).
The seven pottery studios are in the upper St. Croix River valley, less than a one-hour drive from Minneapolis and St. Paul (see map here). This year’s host sites are Linda Christianson's unique studio and log home nestled in a clearing in the woods; Will Swanson and Janel Jacobson's studio, near Wild River State Park; Richard Vincent's oak-shaded backyard studio; Guillermo Cuellar's hilltop home and studio overlooking the St. Croix River; Jeff Oestreich's early Minnesota farmstead remade into a home and studio; Ani Kasten's pottery gallery-in-a-barn, formerly Connee Mayeron’s; and Matt Krousey's picturesque, woodland home and studio.
In thanks for the support they receive from the community at this event, the potters donate a portion of their proceeds each year to arts and educational projects. Admission to all the studios is free and open to everyone. Tour hours: Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12, 10 a.m. to 6.p.m; and Sunday, May 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.