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the small studio alliance update (long)

updated fri 30 jan 98


Tom Wirt on thu 29 jan 98

Following up on posts re: The Small Studio Alliance (TSSA) abut a year
ago, following is a press release just issued. The contact point is
noted at the end.

Tom Wirt
Clay Coyote Pottery
Hutchinson, MN

For Immediate Release:

The Small Studio Alliance (TSSA) Expands Membership

Starting in January 1998, The Small Studio Alliance (TSSA) will be making
its membership available to artisans in all of the fine crafts that make
up the contemporary American craft arena. In addition to expanding
membership, a website is being developed, increased information activity
is planned, a new logo has been introduced and a reorganization of the
dues structure will provide financial stability.

The Small Studio Alliance was initiated in February 1995 to help clarify,
to the retail trade and to consumers, the differences between ceramic
studios which produce work primarily by hand methods and studios which
use mechanical and manufacturing processes. We were responding to
frequently heard complaints that the identity of the small one or two
person hand-crafted studio was being confused with the work of much
larger production operations, says Ron Larsen who with Angela Fina, a
Massachusetts potter, is one of the founders.

During Its first two years, TSSA received coverage in the craft press,
ran several informational ads and held a number of organizational
meetings. Frequently people working in crafts other than clay attended
these meetings and encouraged the organization to broaden its memberships
beyond just ceramics. During 1997, I helped at meetings at 2 major
wholesale shows, said member Michael Jones. At each one, jewelers,
glass workers, weavers, woodworkers and others said that such an
organization was long overdue in their fields and that the objectives of
TSSA fit them like a glove.

In the fall of 1997, a steering committee decided that starting in
January 1998, membership would be open to small studios in all of the
crafts media. Criteria for membership includes:

-The studio shall have, at most, two principals.

-The making of all work shall involve, at every stage, the
direct, hands-on participation of the studio s
The Small Studio Alliance Press Release, Page 2 - January 15, 1998

-The work by the studio shall be by traditional hand methods. If
industrial/manufacturing techniques are
used, they shall be employed only to accomplish aesthetic

A new website ( will be on-line shortly
after January 1, 1998. This site will include information about TSSA and
its membership roster. Pages for individual members will be available as
well as links to current pages.

With increased financial resources, paid advertising will be undertaken
in trade publications, for the purpose of establishing the TSSA mark as
signifying the truly handmade in American craft. The new mark includes
the hand symbol as well as the full name of the alliance.

TSSA, and its members, will be distributing information at various
wholesale and retail venues during 1998. The organization will have a
booth at the February Market of American Craft in Philadelphia (Feb.
13-16), and distribute information at the ACC show in Baltimore (Feb.
17-19). This is very much a grassroots organization, says Larsen.
Members will be key to getting the word out, both to other artisans as
well as consumers and retailers.

Membership is $30 per year and includes, advertising, informational
handout materials, TSSA booth signage, TSSA informational material,
listing in the TSSA web site and availability of web pages. For more
information contact: Ronald Larsen, Crary Mills Pottery, 174 County
Route 35, Canton, NY 13617 (315) 386-4721.