Three Rivers Clay Works
It all started in the summer of 2013 at a small neighborhood gathering on Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two local potters were introduced on the back patio, thus beginning the ongoing conversation that you now find yourself party to.
As their discussions continued over the rest of the year, Garick Tai-Lee and Charlie Alessi began thinking about their lives outside of the community pottery studios that they managed. They had endless talks about form, function, and fostering an audience for fine ceramic design. That winter, the two decided to put their ideas to task and formed Three Rivers Clay Works-- the name chosen to highlight their city, their medium, and to reflect Pittsburgh’s heritage of industrial production.
Since forming, Three Rivers Clay Works has worked around the mid-Atlantic region to teach and share their craft, their methods, and their ceramics. We regularly display our work and demonstrate our methods in galleries, performance spaces, arts festivals, and schools. We also regularly partner with restaurants, bars, and other businesses to design and build custom service-ware and architectural elements to create spaces that reflect the uniqueness of their services.
Three Rivers Clay Works took its current form in late 2016 with the addition of mold-maker and production casting expert Sam Berner. Since then the studio has been retooled with an eye towards employing techniques that allow us to work outside of the circular constraints of the wheel while creating easily replicable handmade forms. The recently released Brereton Avenue line showcases the early works of our three part collaboration.
To visit our Studio Or to discuss commissions, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Making pottery is about creating relationships: potter/clay, hands/wheel, glaze/kiln, and maker/user. Being aware and reacting to these interactions makes pottery a never-ending process. Additionally, at every stage of clay, not only does creation and creativity occur, but the risk of failure is ever-present. This draws me to making functional pottery in that the best pots are the ones that are deliberately taken through the process of creation and care. Pottery is also unique as an art form as it serves a utilitarian purpose, however abstracted! It should infer function and create a sense of intimacy while earning a desired place in your home.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Charlie Alessi spent time working in the culinary and theatre arts while pursuing degrees in politics and history. In the summer of 2007 Charlie relocated to Pittsburgh to take a job in the academic sector where he subsequently found his true calling in a ball of mud. After spending a few years learning the ropes working in, and subsequently running, a community based studio, Charlie began producing work professionally and selling in the greater Pittsburgh area. In 2013 he co-founded Three Rivers Clay Works with an eye to make the world better by enriching our material culture one coffee mug at a time. In addition to running Three Rivers Clay Works, Charlie has worked for a number of years with Potter’s Water Action Group to use ceramic technologies to deliver potable water to people in need across the globe.
One of a rare breed of artists whose chosen medium is clay yet never learned how to throw a pot on the wheel, Sam Berner is the chief sculptor and moldmaker of three Rivers Clay Works. He got advanced degrees and and makes great pots-- so poo to what you think about the potter's wheel.