, Salem, MA


July 25, 2013

Crafts take center stage at Olde Ipswich Days


“Jewelers run the gamut price-wise,” Burton said. “There are earrings for $10. But one of the craftspeople is working in gold and sterling silver with fine gems. It’s a little pricier. We have people here who make handbags — they go from beach bags to fine evening bags.”

There are 62 crafters in all, and in addition to jewelers and potters, they include painters and photographers, toy makers and people who make fleece or knitted hats, as well as people who create quilts and clothing for dolls.

The potters include Fumihiko Mochizuki of Merrimac, who will be participating in his 13th Olde Ipswich Days.

“I’m working in stoneware, and the type of firing is called high-fire reduction,” said Mochizuki, who grew up in Japan and previously lived in South America and California.

“The reduction means reduce the oxygen during the process of firing, so that you can get some colors like red and deeper colors.”

Mochizuki makes bowls and unique sculpted teapots, along with expressive faces he calls “funny faces,” which can be hung on a wall or fixed to steel surfaces with a magnet.

Mochizuki got the inspiration for funny faces, which he shapes with a ballpoint pen, four years ago during one of his creative rituals.

“I use a hand-sized stone for texturing my sculptural bowls,” he said. “Normally, I take a walk, looking for these stones in the road. Then, one day, I pick up the stone and it looks like a face. So, I make faces — stone-like faces — smiling or angry or winking.”

“It’s fun; each face is different,” he said.

Another potter, Jane Ward, who lives on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts, makes pottery out of clay she digs from clam flats at low tide.

“It is called blue clay when raw,” she said. “The Native Americans used it as a poultice. They also fired this clay.”

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