By Alison Rooney
Kelly Preusser, who grew up in Cold Spring, and whose family ran Guinan’s on Garrison’s Landing for more than 50 years, has been selling her ceramics since 2013 at the Garrison Art Center’s annual Riverside Crafts Fair, which takes place Aug. 18 and 19.
What has your experience been like as a vendor?
I always do well. There’s so much variety. A lot of vendors do the “craft-fair circuit,” and I like that the show gives them and visitors a sense of what’s here in Garrison and introduces them to the art center. Somehow I’ve never been caught in some of the epic rainstorms. I missed one year after I had a baby — maybe it was that year. A lot of locals buy my pieces, which could be because I notice them in the crowd and we wind up talking.
Guinan’s was practically next door to the Garrison Art Center. Did that influence your interest in ceramics?
I’ve always loved art. It was my favorite subject in high school. In college I started studying special education but switched to graphic design. I moved away, then, when I returned, I wanted to get back into doing art. I had never done ceramics. Lisa Knaus [the pottery studio manager at the Art Center] was my first teacher and is still my teacher.
Does the view from the Landing ever get old?
Never! It’s a beautiful spot.
How has your artistic style evolved?
I learned techniques from Lisa, and I pick things up online. Everything I do now is hand-drawn, freehand, never stenciled and never sketched out. I use different types of glazes, and make everything: bowls, mugs, plates, vases. Everything is functional. I want things to be used every day.
Do you worry about children around your ceramics?
Well … my daughters are 8 and 3. They’re actually good. The older one loves art, and she appreciates the pieces. The little one is so … enthusiastic … that sometimes … Luckily, I work in the basement, away from them. I make the objects at the art center but draw and decorate them at home. You know, handles break off and other things happen, but you must forgive. Things can go wrong in many ways; there are so many steps in the process. I’ve had customers who contact me, saying, “My piece broke. Can you fix it?” And the answer is, “Nope, but we can make a new one, and move on.”