ELDRED, NY — On Friday, March 13, Jessie and Crandall Lazar packed for what they thought might be a long weekend. Their daughter’s school in Brooklyn had shut down, so they were faced …
ELDRED, NY — On Friday, March 13, Jessie and Crandall Lazar packed for what they thought might be a long weekend. Their daughter’s school in Brooklyn had shut down, so they were faced with homeschooling in their small apartment. Through seven summers and many holidays stays, the Lazars had built an enduring affection for their vacation home in Yulan. It was cozy and built for four seasons; just after their daughter was born, they had spent the winter months. Jessie is a pottery artisan and Crandall is a film and video editor; both could work remotely.
“I’ve met a lot of others who came up until COVID blew over, but here we are eight months later and it’s been fabulous. It was a hard choice to commit to doing school up here, but it was scary to be in Brooklyn for what might be a second wave. I sublet my shop in Redhook and needed a place to work, not necessarily a store to sell from. While there’s lots of empty space around, I realized you need to drive to Narrowsburg or Livingston Manor to find a retail shop. So, why not rent a store in Eldred, where I can make some money selling my own work?”
Jessie has joined a growing community of pottery artisans centered in the Barryville-Eldred area. Nonneta and Friends Creative, Hillside Studios, Sunshine Studios and Terry’s Ceramic shop are all with a five-mile radius. She has received a warm welcome, since opening her shop last summer.
“People stop into the shop pretty regularly, and hundreds wished me well on the local website. Some of the local potters have come in to welcome me, and that’s been great. In fact, Nona has been my friend for 20 years; we took our first pottery classes together. Each of us in the area has their own voice, style and business model. For example, Nona is offering classes and Hillside Studio is more about ceramic art than function. My own work reflects mid-century design; I like clean, simple forms without decoration. It takes up to a month to go from a lump of wet clay to a finished piece; and the bulk of my business is wholesale.”
Jessie described her experience here as an adventure, and rather like making lemonade. “We’re still dealing with being displaced by COVID. Our interests have been nuclear-family based, but we hope to become more of a part of the larger community.”