Eagle Archives, March 19, 1954: Artist Adams’ ‘Clay Way’ Pays Off in Pleasure and Money | Story

Whether she turns to portrait painting, sculpture or ceramics, the quiet red-haired Mrs. A. Winslow Harrington of Big Four Farm in Adams is highly successful. With her excellent art background, which includes graduate study at the Philadelphia Academy of Art and actual work in an art gallery, Ms. Harrington brings a fresh individualism and working-class approach to her art.

Wife of a dentist and mother of two boys and a lively five-year-old girl, Mrs Harrington keeps her home in a charming old colonial farmhouse overlooking the Hoosac Valley, teaches at Pine Cobble School in Williamstown and still finds the time to sneak artwork into his busy life.

She first became interested in ceramics when she joined a course at the Berkshire Museum. This began his career making figurines, ashtrays, cigarette boxes and other utility items. She sold many of her ceramic pieces, some to private individuals, others to her Pittsfield store, Stevens Inc., decorators.

“The only reason I’m selling the parts is to do cost,” Ms. Harrington said. “By filling orders during the summer and at Christmas, I paid for my two ovens and my materials.”

Although she does a great job, she says that “doing things for sale is too cumbersome and mechanical for my taste.

“In ceramics, I prefer to make figurines where you can show more imagination.”

Using a mixture of native clay, which she sparingly digs herself, and specially prepared commercial clay, she makes her own “slush”, the thin clay mixture used to pour into molds.

Some of these molds are commercially made, others she makes herself. For any individual piece of her creation, she must necessarily first make her own mold. This, she explained, would be too advanced for beginners.

“There’s no need to make your own molds,” she says, “because even with commercial molds, you can take a basic shape and modify it to your liking. Any simple shape can be adapted.

Matching ashtrays and dishes found around the Harrington household, many of which are from the same mould, will confirm this claim, as each is unique, even those made by children.

This story within a story is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

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