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Duluth Pottery is back in Duluth; grand opening Oct. 21

Remodeling of the former P&J Paint building is complete and Karin Kraemer is ready to launch her new Duluth Pottery studio at 1924 W. Superior St.

The shop opens at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21. A grand opening reception starts at 5 p.m. with Kraemer’s art on display along with works by Luke Krisak and other friends of Duluth Pottery. Live music by Cousin Dad begins at 8 p.m.

“It’s very exciting to be back in Duluth,” Kraemer said. “I spent a lot of time trying to find the right spot. I’m happy this was the one.”

Her previous studio was in Superior’s Trade and Commerce Marketplace, next to the Red Mug Coffeehouse. She referred to it for 17 years as “Duluth Pottery, Superior Division.” Now she’s happy to operate in Duluth’s West End, where she can bike to work.

“I went to every business association meeting around Superior and Duluth to see what each neighborhood is like and to see what people were doing,” Kraemer said. “This spot felt like the place to be.”

In the new location, Kraemer finds herself surrounded by a frenzy of upstart businesses in what has been dubbed the Lincoln Park Craft District. Bent Paddle Brewing, OMC Smokehouse, Damage Boardshop, Frost River, Hemlocks Leatherworks and Duluth Folk School are all within a block.

Duluth Folk School Director Bryan French is excited to have Kraemer’s Duluth Pottery across the street. Both buildings underwent extensive remodeling this year.

“She’s been a great friend and neighbor,” French said. “If we need anything, we can just call the other,” French said. “We share tools and equipment pretty often.”

Kraemer said she’s pleased her new place is around 3,500 square feet, including a 1,000-square-foot gallery.

“It’s good because I was working in a 700-square-foot studio before and it was not working for me,” she said.

The exterior of the building is painted orange and turquoise. Inside, the stairs leading to the office loft space repeat the color theme, as do the bathroom tiles.

Kraemer spends her work days creating pieces of art through pottery and tile. Finishing one piece takes about four days, but she creates art in batches to speed up the process.

“First you make the pot, then they dry out completely and then you fire them in the kiln up to about 2,000 degrees,” she said. “Then you glaze them with paint, and then fire it again to make it shiny and waterproof.”

The process takes time, but the finished product is always a reward for Kraemer. It’s like a celebration when she or others get to use her work for real life commonalities. Duluth Grill uses and sells her mugs to customers.

“I love making things people can use, like with food,” Kraemer said.

Working directly with pottery clay tends to get messy, leaving Kraemer with perpetually crispy trousers.

“All of my pants are dirty from the clay,” Kraemer said. “I have two pairs that I don’t wear here that don’t have clay.”

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