Fifty years and counting
What: 50th Anniversary Party
When: 11 am Sat., Aug. 17
Where: Good Earth Pottery, 1000 Harris Ave.
Cost: Entry is free
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
The summer of 1969 was a busy one. Not only did astronauts land on the moon, but the Stonewall riots became a symbolic force for the burgeoning gay rights movement, Muhammad Ali was convicted of evading the draft, and Woodstock made musical history. Additionally, a cooperative studio space dubbed Good Earth Pottery opened in mid-August in the historic Fairhaven district in Bellingham. Fifty years later, owner Ann Marie Cooper says the ceramics-focused venue is still going strong, representing more than 45 artists juried from within about an 80-mile radius of Bellingham.
Cascadia Weekly: You took ownership of Good Earth Pottery in 2018. Who owned it before you?
Ann Marie Cooper: I became co-owner in 2016, partnering with Deb Martin when Linda Stone retired and sold me her half of the business. Deb retired at the end of 2018, making me full owner in January of this year.
CW: Was it always called Good Earth Pottery?
AMC: Yes, from its beginning, through its various ownership structures, it has always been Good Earth Pottery.
CW: Since its inception, the store has been in the Morgan Block Building. What have been the benefits of staying in the same place the entire time?
AMC: People know where to find us, and they love the nostalgia upon visiting again.
CW: How long have you been involved as an artist, and what made you want to be the proprietor?
AMC: I’m just celebrating my own 10-year anniversary at Good Earth. It’s hard to believe! From the very beginning it felt like where I belonged; I found my creative voice and my community. I cherish Good Earth for what it has made my life. I feel honored to carry its legacy onward, and look forward to nurturing its further evolution.
CW: How do you choose the monthly featured artists?
AMC: I like to give everyone a chance in the spotlight. It’s exciting to watch an artist explore new ideas with their work, which often happens with a feature. And because we represent so many artists, the continual rotation keeps things fresh and interesting.
CW: What are the benefits of having a space that highlights local and regional ceramic artists?
AMC: It helps to forge a connection between the artists and their own community members, as well as tourists who want to bring a part of Bellingham home with them.
CW: Do you feel supported by the community?
AMC: Absolutely. We have many regular customers who feel like old friends whenever they come in, and when their friends come to visit, they share us as a must-see destination.
CW: What do you envision Good Earth Pottery will be up to in the next 50 years?
AMC: In addition to specializing in local artists, I’m also planning to have a couple of juried shows a year featuring artists from across the United States and Canada.
CW: Are you looking forward to the 50th anniversary party this weekend? What can people expect?
AMC: I am excited! We’ll have live music, door prizes, commemorative pots by various Good Earth artists, a display featuring former owners, anniversary apparel and—this is the big one—we’re taking 15 percent off everything in the gallery.
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