The 31st Annual St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour is May 12-14, 2023
Potters are a special group of people. They are not only connected to the earth and clay moving through their hands and hearts, but also to one another – sharing their techniques, studios, clients, and more. This shared sensibility led to the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour, which is celebrating its 31st year Mother’s Day Weekend.
The Valley has become a haven for dozens of talented artisans who make their art here, surrounded by the extraordinary beauty of forest, glacial topography, and the St. Croix River.
This national, invitational gathering of potters and sale of ceramics is an exciting destination for anyone who appreciates handmade pottery and their makers. We invite you to explore the beautiful Chisago Lakes area during the 31st year of this incredible weekend!
Pottery Tour Roots
The St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour was started in 1993 by a group of area ceramists, led by Will Swanson and Robert Briscoe, who envisioned a shared event of multiple studios open on the same weekend. The St. Croix Valley was an ideal place to host a multiple-site tour because a number of artists are clustered here in relatively close proximity. The vision of the Tour was to provide a place for pottery lovers to enjoy a self-guided tour and visit a variety of unique studios that each hosted potters invited from around the country and world.
What started as a relaxed, self-guided tour of seven studios has evolved into a destination event with international reach and reputation. The original Tour hosts included Robert Briscoe, Richard Vincent, Linda Christianson, Jeff Oestreich, Richard Abnet, Warren MacKenzie, and Will Swanson and Janel Jacobson. The hosts began inviting guest potters to show and sell at their studios. Today, the Tour has both original and new hosts, and draws thousands of visitors and displays up to 10,000 pieces.
From the Tour’s website: “The Tour’s scale and scope have evolved too. Originally just a weekend sale, the event expanded to include Friday in 2009. In 2020 and 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tour pivoted to an online sale. The return to an in-person event in 2022 brought out enthusiastic, supportive crowds, happy to take part in this Minnesota tradition once again.”
Host sites and invited artists have changed through the years, but the anticipation of the event, and the welcome, inspired feeling you get when visiting the studios has only gotten better.
“Ceramics is a way of life in Minnesota, and the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour exemplifies the passion of both the artists and the collectors who consider it an annual pilgrimage.”-Lyndel King in the Introduction of A Culture of Pots: The 25th Anniversary of the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour
The 2023 Tour
At this year’s tour, seventy-three potters from nineteen states and three from England will present thousands of ceramic creations for sale at eight different host studios:
- Linda Christianson (with 7 guest potters), Lindström
- Jeff Oestreich (with 8 guest potters), Taylors Falls
- Ani Kasten (with 8 guest potters), Taylors Falls
- Guillermo Cueller & Alana Cuellar (with 8 guest potters), Shafer
- Will Swanson & Janel Jacobson (with 8 guest potters), Harris
- Richard Vincent (with 8 guest potters), North Branch
- Matthew Krousey (with 8 guest potters), Harris
- New Site This Year: Peter Jadoonath (with 6 guest potters), Shafer
The addition of guest ceramists from different backgrounds and cultures at each host site has expanded the variety of artistic expression, allowing visitors to see something new each year!
From the Tour’s website: “Since 2020, the Tour has been actively working to sustainably and respectfully broaden racial representation among guest and host artists. This remains an ongoing priority for the group.”
“The Tour always feels like a bit of a family reunion for me. I’m the co-host at my dad Guillermo’s studio and many of the guest potters and longtime volunteers who help out over the weekend are folks we have known for years. It feels great to get together after months of somewhat solitary time in the studio and share what we’ve been working on. I always learn so much.”
– Alana Cuellar, Potter
When You Go
Grab the Tour map (and you’re going to want your wallet!) and prepare yourself to explore beautiful, rural studios; thousands of unique pots and other ceramics; and the friendliness of potters both from near and far. The host sites’ three decades of welcoming visitors is apparent: you’ll find food trucks, music, and even wood-fired pizza (make sure to visit Guillermo Cuellar’s studio on the Saturday to get a slice!).
While it’s possible to visit all eight studios in one day, we suggest making a weekend of it (see below for ideas)!
Make It a Weekend!
There are wonderful attractions and places to eat/drink along the Tour route and we recommend making it a weekend! Book a hotel room, get a campsite, or find a short-term-rental and enjoy three days of exploring Chisago Lakes!*
Here are some of our suggestions for St. Croix Valley eateries and attractions to explore as you bop from one Pottery Tour stop to the next:
- Glädje Gallery
- Gustaf’s Eatery
- Northwoods Roasterie
- Anderson’s Ice Cream Shoppe
- The Oven Mitt
- Allemansrätt Wilderness & Swedish Heritage Park
Center City & Taylors Falls
- Al’s Saloon / Alan Honn Glass
- Pizza Pub
- Franconia Sculpture Park
- Wild Mountain
- The Drive In
- Heritage Park Overlook
Almelund & North Branch
*The Tour website has a comprehensive list of places to stay. If you want more help planning your visit, check out the Chisago Lakes Visitor Bureau and Chisago Lakes Chamber websites.
2023 Pottery Tour Dates:
- Friday, May 12, 10am-6pm
- Saturday, May 13, 10am-6pm
- Sunday, May 14, 10am-5pm
Find more tour information:
- Facebook: St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour
- Instagram: @stcroixvalleypotterytour
Download this year’s poster HERE.
Download this year’s map HERE.