New studio/gallery at Savage Mill is 'dream become reality' for artist

Anna White was leaving Rams Head Restaurant at Savage Mill last spring when she noticed a space available on the second floor of the mill.

Recently moved from New Jersey, the ceramic artist had been looking for a new studio space. What she saw at Savage Mill also spoke to another vision she had.

"I always wanted to help other artists," said White, sitting in the recently opened Feldspar Studio & Gallery in the space she redid from top to bottom.

"This is a fine art gallery unlike any other. It obviously looks very different," she said. "It is an amazing space to showcase art."

Unlike most galleries, the space is also White's working studio. A potters wheel sits promptly in one corner. Wood tables that White made herself feature her completed pieces while the works of other artists hang above the windows that circle the entire space.

"It is large enough to have a fine art gallery and a working studio," White said. "You can see both sides: artists working every day and you see what they produce. You also see work of other artists."

In addition to White's pottery, the works of three other artists are displayed: Kirsten Bowen, a painter, Nicole Deponte, a collage artist, and Ian Cairl, a wood artist. All of the artists White knows personally.

"Quality is so important to me," White said. "All of the artists here are at the top of their game."

White plans to keep each of the artists' works on display for long-term, and will take only a small percentage of any sale.

"Unlike galleries where shows come and go quickly, these are here long-term," White said. "Paintings will change as art work sells."

"A huge part of sharing my work with her is knowing her character and her work ethics," said Bowen, who works out of New York City. "Anna is a person of integrity. On the East Coast, it is nice to have someone like Anna showcase my work. It is planting seeds in new places."

White has traveled the country extensively with her pottery. She has met many artists through her travels, and said she hopes to showcase more of them.

"There are amazing artists in this country doing amazing work," White said. "I think the market is ready — I hope it is — to appreciate having a piece that is theirs alone. The painting on your wall no one else has. To enjoy the things we use and the things around us."

In her own work, White strives to create unique pieces. Her "Stitched Series" features tea pots, vases and more marked with delicate rows of ceramic stitches. Each piece requires cutting, collapsing and putting back together, White said, a process that is a little "crazy and done with a lot of patience."

"I've always wanted to push what clay can do," White said. "To do something new and eye-opening in a medium is exciting work to me."

A grand opening at Feldspar, which is named after a mineral in clay, was held on June 30.

"The reception was well attended," White said. "It brought a lot of people to the mill who had never been here before."

"It is such a cool place," Bowman said. "I'd like to see her achieve the success she deserves for all her hard work."

White hopes that more people will find her gallery and stop by to watch her work and to admire the art.

"This is a dream I had a long time," White said. "It is great to see it become a realty."

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