The Glastonbury Art Guild debuted its online member exhibition with the work of Lois Eldridge (1928-2018) . As one of the Art Guild’s founding and longest continuing members, the organization recognizes her for her foresight and support of the arts in its many forms.
Teaching, traveling and pottery are the focus of Lois Eldridge’s world. She refers to them as her three careers, and has woven them into a life creating beauty, discovering faraway places and sharing knowledge.
A founding member of the Glastonbury Art Guild, Lois set out to be a teacher, and pursued that vocation both here and abroad. She taught Spanish and French, and was a teacher in Glastonbury for students from third grade through adult education. “I’ve always loved teaching,” she says, “It is the most noble profession.” Later, she tutored and volunteered at Glastonbury’s Buttonball School.
Along the way Lois was introduced to pottery. She joined Wesleyan Potters and began a life-long study of clay, design, and glazes. Looking back on the years that she was establishing herself as a professional potter, she recalls shipping wholesale orders all over the northeast as she studied with fine teachers and visiting potters from around the world. She came to realize that her income as a potter would not be enough to allow her to pursue the kind of travel she wanted, so she found another solution. She took a desk job with American Airlines and managed to travel to fourteen countries during her years there. She thrilled at the unique pottery of South America, the breadth of history in Greece’s antiquities, and the glorious porcelains she saw in Shanghai. Museums were a highlight of her travels.
Chemistry and mathematics, once among her least favorite subjects, are now tools used to create magnificent glazes for her pottery. Lois worked on a team at Wesleyan Potters to develop crystalline glazes. Her conversation is sprinkled with words like celadon, zinc oxide, titanium, manganese and iron. The glazes sparkle and reflect light as though stars were beaming through the pieces.
Lois Eldridge admires crafts people, saying “whether they work in wood, metal, gems, or clay, or any other natural material, these artisans take what is available in the earth and bring them to life. It is an amazing process.”
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