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  • Writer's pictureMarcy LaBella

An Artist and a Grand Lady - A Tribute to Lois Eldridge - the lady who made a Pear

Updated: Jun 5, 2021

If the Painters Made a Pear by Lois Eldrich, Cone 10, reduction stone ware

Lois was someone I met when I first came to Wesleyan Potters, a craft school and arts co-op in Middletown, CT around 15 years ago. I had moved to the rural town of Durham from New Haven, CT which was very hip and artsy community and I felt like I had been dropped on my head into the middle of a potato field. There didn't seem to be any artists here or anywhere close by and I was used to lively banter and debate about art, music and ideas. I was also having health issues at the time and felt a little adrift. I had returned to working in clay about 2 years before going to "the Pottery" as it is affectionately known by it's community. People said if you are at all serious about clay you need to be there because it will be able to fill your needs better than other programs. It was in fact a real pottery studio, and in addition had fiber arts and jewelry making (metals) as well.

Lois Eldridge and Lori Lapin key members at Wesleyan Potters "sharing a moment of wisdom"

While I fell into a routine of classes I met lots of people there who became friends both among the student population and the key member population. Lois was a long time key member of the co-operative and still working very hard at her artwork. In fact there were a lot of very inspirational older ladies and gentlemen well into their 80's and a above working daily on their art. I loved the fact that they were there everyday or most days working on their work, creating and pushing the edges of their creativity daily. There is no greater hope for one's future then to be able to work at your passion for your entire life; and here was the proof that it could be done.

A grouping of Lois Birds - on a winter morning

Lois who just passed away in late 2018 was born in South Dakota in 1928. To say she was a potter would be an injustice because she was so much more. A true teacher and student of life - she loved to learn, teach and share her wealth of knowledge with others. Her work far and beyond craft - it showed the soul of an artist and the feeling and emotion of each touch of her hand. When I became a key member myself she invited me to her home to show me her lovely collection of pottery, collected over the many years. Her house was an old frame house in the New England style set back from the road in the woods in rural South Glastonbury. She potted in the basement and fired most of her work in her garage. She created lovely hand built birdbaths, and thrown pieces and her signature form the Pear which she sold all over New England and in many fine galleries. If you knew Lois you probably owned one of her Pears. A visit to Lois' house would always end in the kitchen with a cup of tea and talking about art and pottery.

Organic Bottle Form, Carved by Lois Eldridge

Long time Wesleyan Potters Key Members Lois Eldridge and Kunie Hesler Photo by Kathy Newell

Lois was a founding member of the Glastonbury Art league and a long time member of Wesleyan Potters. Lois was an educator in the US and abroad and traveled extensively. Her work was influenced by her travels in South America, Greece and China. Her greatest joy was her family, her 2 daughters and son, and her beloved Grandchildren. She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by so many. I hope you have enjoyed seeing just some of the work of this inspiring life long creative artist. Rest in peace Lois your work and spirit lives on in those who knew and loved you.

Peace and Namaste,


follow me on Instagram @bellamarcella1212

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