Step inside this storefront and see a world of stunning platters, mugs, plates, saucers and a few quite striking teapots that look like Dr. Seuss went to Japan and designed his own line of whimsical brewing vessels.
At Stone Window Gallery in Accord, artist Brinton Baker creates imaginative ceramic works of art; however, they are not intended to be placed up on a shelf simply for aesthetic appreciation.
“I try to keep the prices affordable so the pieces will be used,” says Brinton Baker of his unique line of pottery, on display and always in process at his studio/gallery.
Before settling down in the Hudson Valley and raising a family, Brinton and his wife Greta lived in Japan where he studied ceramics. In contrast with the States, Japan has a rich history of the ceramic tradition. He apprenticed for four-and-a-half years, working ten hours a day, six days a week.
It’s uplifting to be around imaginative handmade tableware, and it raises the quality of life in a subtle but meaningful way.
“Training in Japan taught me the value of not telling the whole story, of having some restraint in the design, and leaving a little room for your imagination.”
“The Japanese most often use handmade tableware, platters, vases, and teacups on a daily basis. Major shows usually take place in department stores, and they have rotating exhibitions of some of the finest handmade work in the country. Here in the US, we tend to keep these things on the shelf in the living room and take them down only for special occasions,” says Brinton.
Some of Brinton’s most gratifying experiences are when customers let him know they are using his ceramic works. He emphasizes that implementing handmade things into our everyday home-life enhances any food or drink experience. It’s uplifting to be around imaginative handmade tableware, and it raises the quality of life in a subtle but meaningful way.
There is something satisfying about buying the pieces in the room where they were made, from the man who made them.
One principle Brinton learned from studying ceramics in Japan is that the process is as valuable as the finished work. If you do all the right steps, and work attentively, it will lead you to a quality finished product. Everyday for the first two months of his apprenticeship he made the same mug over and over.
“Each piece may be handled more than 20 times in the process of creating it. You work the clay, it’s on the wheel, it’s designed, measured and formed, then into the kiln, then glazed, back in the kiln and so on.”
He teaches pottery classes and workshops, both to groups and individuals. On one occasion, a bride and her bridesmaids teamed up to collaborate with Brinton on designing a set of plates as gifts for the wedding party and the couple. Imagine: a group of people in a studio with a lump of clay—and they ended up with an artistic collaboration, a set of gifts that will resonate with memories for a lifetime.
“The tradition in this country is, you go to a department store like Macy’s and register for your serving platters and tableware. How much more fun is it to work with an artist, on exactly what the couple wants?” New designs emerge through designing together, and creating the story as the piece develops. Brinton is happy to customize any special order and offers wedding registry services. Visit his store and you’ll be surrounded by an abundance of imaginative ceramic housewares that are contemporary, affordable, and practical, with a majestic Asian influence.
One delightful aspect of Brinton’s work is that there is always a little surprise in the design when you open the teapot or turn over the cup or plate; there is always a little more to it than meets the eye. “The training in Japan taught me the value of not telling the whole story, of having some restraint in the design, and leaving a little room for your imagination.” he says.
stone window gallery
17 Main Street
Accord, NY 12404
Open 11-5 Saturdays & Sundays
by appointment on weekdays