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Ceramic artist Susan Beecher leads Sugar Maples Center for Creative Arts summer workshops

SHA-NIA ALSTON | 6/1/2017, 4:03 p.m.

Sugar Maples Center for Creative Arts will have a series of workshops during the summer. Sugar Maples is a part of the Catskill Mountain Foundation. The Catskill Mountain Foundation is an organization that provides arts to youth as well lifetime learners.

Sugar Maples Center attracts students and art lovers from all over. Under the direction of Susan Beecher, people of all ages can find art classes that best suits them.

Beecher serves as the director of the Sugar Maples Center. She teaches classes in ceramics.

Susan Beecher is no ordinary potter. Her work has appeared in more than six national juried exhibitions throughout the Northeast. Her pottery has been featured in several books and articles.

In her style, she uses past folk traditions. She likes to make pots that are beautiful and lyrical. Her work has won awards such as the Purchase Award; the L&L Kilns Permanent Collection 2007 Prize; the “Arts Festival,” Long Boat Key Center for the Arts, Long Boat Key, Fla. 2006; and Artist in Residence, Carla’s Clay, Sarasota, Fla. 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and Grants for New York State Artists 2001, awarded by the Craft Alliance of NY 2001.

Beecher began her career in ceramics with a formal education in ceramic studies from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich. She finds it imperative to pass on her lessons from her teachers to her students.

“The most important thing for me is to share what I have learned, aesthetics, and aesthetic values, and pass on what my teachers have taught me,” Beecher said.

She also makes sure to include the use of ceramics in her everyday life. She likes to use other artists’ work as dishes. “It’s kind of a conversation starter,” she said.

The summer program starts Friday, June 23. Classes that are offered include Ceramics, Magnificent Mosaics and Chinese Brush Painting. The series will kick off with a three-day workshop called “Learn, Refresh, Refine,” taught by Susan Bogen.

Alongside Beecher, teachers include Bogen and Alan Willoughby from New Jersey, Ben Carter from California, Martha Grover from Maine, Lorna Meaden from Colorado and Richard Aerni from Rochester, N.Y., master raku potters Randy Brodnax from Louisiana and Don Ellis from New Mexico, art professor at the University of Missouri Bede Clark and Canadian-born artist Lisa Chicoyne.

Beecher finds that arts enhances students’ quality of life.

“Clay and making pottery enriches people’s lives and gives it substance,” she said. “We got really far from making things, and I think that we’re coming back to that.”

To learn more about the classes offered at Sugar Maple Center, log on to www.sugarmaples.org, or website susanbeecherpottery.com.