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Feb 14, 2016 | Kevin Thompson

From Clay to Communion: Potter Spins Liturgical Creations

 

From small labyrinths you can trace with your hand or a stylus to chalice and paten sets, there’s not much you can’t get from Wortman Pottery. The intricate clay labyrinth helps calm and focus people according to Emily Wortman, David’s wife and studio partner.

 

“We’re from South Louisiana and first I’d have the occasional Catholic priest that would want clay for Lent,” said Wortman. “We realized it was an underserved niche on the web so we got a webpage up.”

 

Wortman started prioritizing liturgical pieces almost ten years ago and today it makes up half of the studio’s business and is sold almost entirely online. “St. John the Divine in New York City bought a huge set for Lent this year,” said Wortman. “The altar is so big and so far from the congregation that they needed an oversized chalice. I had to upsize everything for them.”

 

The clay pieces come in a variety of colors and styles on Wortman’s website, where you can even find a travel set that comes in its own carry bag. The studios most requested items are chalice and paten sets, ciborium, cruet sets, and lavabo bowls for use in the weekly Eucharist, but they have also created pitcher and bowl sets for Maundy Thursday foot washing, altar candle holders and bowls and porcelain shells for Baptismal use.

 

“We did a convention in Austin right after Hurricane Rita and a number of coastal congregations that had lost churches, you know, with us you can put a whole altar together for $300 or $350, edpending on what you choose,” Wortman said.

 

You can find out more about Wortman’s liturgical stoneware at wortmanpottery.com.

 

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