Nicodemus Center For Ceramic Studies Holds Annual Pottery Sale at Penn State Mont Alto

Nicodemus Center For Ceramic Studies Holds Annual Pottery Sale at Penn State Mont Alto

The Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies (NCCS) will hold their 15th annual holiday pottery sale on Thursday, November 29th from 1-8 pm,  Friday, November 30th  from 10 am – 4pm, and Saturday, December 1st from 10 am – 2 pm. in the center’s Mont Alto pottery studio, room 008, next to the commuter’s lounge, in the General Studies building on the Penn State Mont Alto campus.

The sale will include a variety of wheel-thrown, slab and hand-built stoneware bowls, mugs, cups, pitchers, teapots, flowerpots, vases, plates, jars, platters, trays, and tiles, created by Ceramic Arts Center and Mont Alto guild members. The cost for most of the sale items will range from $10 to $30.

In addition to the pottery sale, the 2018 John Bell Reproduction will also be available to purchase. The year’s reproduction is a Jar, made of red earthenware clay, in a limited edition of 60. The cost is $60.00, plus tax for NCCS members and $68.00, plus tax for non-members. Orders may be placed on-line at and are available for pick up on November 29th  from 12-8 pm, November  30th  from 10 am -4 pm and December 1st , from 10 am to 2 pm.

Bell was born in Hagerstown, Md., in 1800. The oldest of 10 children, he was trained by his father, Peter Bell, and influenced by Hagerstown’s large and active community of immigrant potters. Before the birth of his son in 1828, Bell moved to Waynesboro, Pa., along with his wife, Elizabeth, and established a successful pottery shop, John Bell and Sons, on South Potomac Street.

The Ceramic Arts Center (CAC) of Waynesboro houses many of the artifacts in Bell’s pottery shop and parts of his kiln, which were recovered from the 1994 excavation conducted by James Smith, the former executive director.

The annual John Bell Reproduction is a fundraiser for the NCCS as it continues to promote the history of American folk art, with emphasis on the region’s rich historic pottery tradition.

This event is free and is opened to the public, with parking available on the campus’ lower parking lot.

Along with the holiday pottery sale at Penn State Mont Alto, pottery is always available for sale at the Ceramic Arts Center, 13 S. Church Street in Waynesboro on Fridays, 5 to 8 pm, Saturdays, 10 to 4 pm and Sundays, 1 to 4 pm.

For more information about the pottery sale and other on-going events, visit their website at, or send an email to Mary Ashe-Mahr at or 717-372-7906.


Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies Loans John Bell Pottery to Renfrew Museum

Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies Loans John Bell Pottery to Renfrew Museum

The Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies in Mont Alto has permanently loaned Renfrew Museum fifty-nine pieces of pottery that include John Bell along with pottery from Daniel Baker, Jacob Heart, Peter Bell, Jacob Kimmler, Upton M. Bell, and a few pieces that are not marked.  The new acquisition has been arranged and is displayed in the Changing Gallery room of the Museum House.    All cases in the Changing Gallery are filled with beautiful pottery that have ties to Waynesboro or the local area.

Mary Ashe-Mahr, Director of the Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studios approached Dade Royer, Renfrew’s Executive Director, and offered the permanent loan.  Renfrew jumped at the opportunity to expand our current collection.  “The collection on loan from the Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies is an incredible addition to our Bell Family and Cumberland/Shenandoah Valley pottery exhibit.  We are excited about this partnership with another great Waynesboro non-profit.” said Dade Royer.

The pottery collection contains unique pieces including earthenware, stoneware, crocks, bowls, jugs, a funnel, hanging flower pot, bed pan, pitchers, a pie plate, and a bowl from the Snow Hill Cloister.  One of the most unique pieces in the donation is a small faux stoneware crock; slip decorated with cobalt hatching on everted rim and cobalt floral pattern on the exterior of the crock.  Beneath the rim in cobalt is printed April 22, 1858 Waynesboro, PA.  The crock is stamped John Bell/Waynesboro on the exterior below the rim.  The piece is signed JWB in cobalt.

Another Bell piece that is worth a look is the lead-glazed earthenware vegetable dish.  The eight-sided lead glazed earthenware vegetable dish with applied handles, slab made, decorated with four sprigged hunters with dogs and two sprigged eagles and sponged manganese on the rim, foot and handles.  It is stamped John Bell on the side panel below the handle.

The Visitors Center houses the largest public collection of Bell, Shenandoah, and Cumberland Valley in the nation and we are grateful to add an additional fifty-nine pieces.  Renfrew is exploring the possibility of relocating the collection to the Visitors Center so all the pottery is housed in a central location.  The latest collection takes our extensive pottery collection to over 300 pieces.

The collection showcases a variety of Bell pottery along with other local potters who learned the craft locally around Waynesboro, PA.  The new display will be kept in the changing gallery until a permanent pottery case is built and installed in the Visitors Center.