Name: Avis Akers Cherichetti
Address: 31 Barndoor Hills Road, Granby
Member of Granby Artists since: 2002 (charter member)
Avis Cherichetti grew up in a family that made things. Her mother quilted and her father was a woodworker so she grew up knowing it was acceptable to be an artist. She discovered the medium of clay during her second term of college and was so taken by it that clay became her primary focus.
The process of making is what inspires Cherichetti most with her pottery. She says, “It is the limitations of the materials used, the tools available, and my own skill—or lack thereof—that keeps me interested in the next creative possibility.” She appreciates the constant challenges of the medium with the extraordinary choices of clay bodies, construction techniques, the range of surface finishes (color, texture, or glaze) as well as the many final firing choices. No matter which technique she uses, she tries to convey her joy of the process in all her work.
For Cherichetti, clay is a very freeing medium. She likes to work in three dimensions, manipulating it without someone else specifying the parameters or trying to duplicate nature. And once fired, the object is not reversible. “The giving up to the heat and fire excites me each time I open the lid from a finished firing.” She adds that the most exciting part of her artwork is “opening the kiln after the bisque firing and finding the pots that went in as fragile creations have become hard objects that will be around for centuries.”
She enjoys hearing from people in Granby who use her pieces in their daily lives—it keeps her emotionally, as well financially, sustained. One of her small pots was even carried to the top of Mt. Everest and returned to her. She is also appreciative that artists in Granby support each other, acknowledging that the choice they all made—to be artists—was the right path.
In addition to being a charter member of the Granby Artists Association, Cherichetti is a member of the Women Artists Collective and maintains art center and art museum memberships in the region. She was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Greater Hartford Arts Council and has a bowl in the permanent collection of the Slater Museum. She taught for 23 years at Expressions Pottery Workshop, an adult pottery cooperative in East Granby, where she is still an active member.
Name: Bill McGonagle
Member of Granby Artists since: 2020
What inspired you to become an artist?
I turned a walnut cookie jar when I was in junior high school and loved the process, the feel and smell of the wood as I worked it. Sadly, I did not return to woodturning until I retired. The feelings I had about this art form/craft were quickly rekindled as I began taking lessons at the Homestead Woodworking School in Newmarket, N.H.
What made you choose your primary medium?
I primarily work with local hardwoods such as maple, cherry, walnut, apple, and ash and to a lesser degree black birch and oak.
Tell us about a satisfying art accomplishment you have had.
While living in New Hampshire, I was a member of the Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers and the Granite State Woodturners. A satisfying accomplishment came as a part of a critique session organized by the Granite State Woodturners. The club invited a well-known and accomplished woodturner to critically examine members’ pieces. His compliments and assessment of the wood turned pieces I presented did wonders for my confidence as a developing artist.
What is your most exciting aspect of being an artist?
The most exciting aspect of my art form is the look and feel of a finely finished piece. The depth and variations of color in the grain patterns are always intriguing. The satin-like feel of a platter or bowl once it is sanded to perfection —or as close as nature allows— is truly inspiring. I apply a fine wax finish to my pieces that provides a wonderful tactile experience for whomever is touching it.