Local Blend, National Trend: Millstream Arts Festival 2014

Joel Cherrico Pottery St. Joseph Minnesota Millstream Arts Stoneware Pots Throwing
Enthralling the youth with pottery.

With the winter-threatening winds howling outside, can you believe this sunny photo was taken less than two weeks ago? On Sunday, September 29th, the weather was a summery 80 degrees for the Millstream Arts Festival. Sixty-four artists sweated it out on the streets of St. Joseph, bringing in sales not only for themselves, but also for local businesses.

Local Blend Joel Cherrico Pottery St Joseph Minnesota Stoneware Pots
Bold new signage at the Local Blend.

Joel’s unique symbiotic partnership with the Local Blend continues to cultivate this relationship between artist and business year-round. This was Joel’s fourth year participating in Millstream and his second year throwing pots in front of the Local Blend. This location and his kick-powered wheel have consistently shown to bring in more sales. If you weren’t looking closely as you strolled down Minnesota Street, you may have missed him because of the crowd that gathered to watch pots being made!

No pressure, Joel.

Many of you may have heard about (and maybe entered!) Joel’s recent Shark Tank Pottery Giveaway. We selected the winners the day after Millstream, and gave those who stopped by the booth one last reminder to enter.

Shark Tank Joel Cherrico Pottery St Joseph Minnesota Millstream Arts Blue Nuka Glaze Pots Cups
Thanks again to all who took the time to enter!

As fun as this contest was, as much as Joel wants to bring his wheel to national TV – the local community remains paramount to his business model and poignant to him as an artist. This is where his pottery began. The local community is where Joel earns his livelihood, giving him the stability to pursue his bigger dreams and schemes.

Joel Cherrico Pottery Farmers Market Karatsu Wheel Mugs Stoneware Pots
The finicky process and the final product.

Joel participates in 3 weekly farmers’ markets in Sartell, St. Cloud, and St. Joseph, Minnesota. These farmers’ markets, along with art festivals such as Millstream and Art in Bayfront Park in Duluth, Minnesota, cultivate the local emphasis essential to Joel’s artistic philosophy. Here, customers can handle the pottery, watch it being made, and get to know the artist.

Duluth Art in Bayfront Park, Handmade Pottery, 2014
Throwing pots in Duluth at Art in Bayfront Park.

Then, when someone takes home a mug, its mysteries become more accessible and appreciated. That spiral in the clay, those finger marks in the glaze, they now have memory and meaning in them.

Joel Cherrico Pottery Stoneware Nuka Glaze Pots St Joseph Minnesota Millstream Arts
Blue pots, blue skies.
Joel Cherrico Pottery Throwing Pots Local Blend St Joseph Minnesota Millstream Arts
Make pots while the sun shines!

ROCK! Music that makes the wheel go round.

Rock is definitely my favorite type of music to throw to.  After a few hours of Red Hot Chili Peppers I just feel like I made more pottery than if I had been bobbing my head to Mr. Sunshine on my Shoulders, John Denver.  I do think mellow music can be great for detail work or anything tedious.  For example, when I mix and test new glazes I like some old Coldplay, like High Speed.  Here’s an image from a bunch of testing that I did during my senior thesis in Spring, 2010 on the Nuka glaze:

I’ve never been a fan of tedious work that takes a lot of concentration.  I’ve made tedious work even since freshman year in college, but I like to work fast.  I made this one for a cardboard project in our Intro to 3D Design class.  It was partly the result of a whole lot of Smashing Pumpkins.


In Spring 2009, I went to Northern Arizona University to see 6 artists at a 2 day workshop. Don Reitz really stood out in my head because of his style of working and because his sculptures seemed really fresh.  His process reminded me of drippy paintings by Jackson Pollock.  This is my favorite way to make artwork: fast and direct.  With Abstract Expressionism, you go with the flow and surrender to the process.


For me, the Red Hot Chili Peppers embody this artwork in their music.  Anthony Kiedis belts out catchy vocals and lyrics hidden in random sentences that would be grammatical nightmares.   Flea’s bass lines have a huge presence in every song, and they meshed perfectly with John Frusciante’s melodies and Chad Smith’s loud, fast beats- good luck finding a drummer that hits his drums harder. The band writes each song from jamming- just rockin out together and letting the music flow.  With Frusciante now pursuing his solo career, he trained in little Josh Klinghoffer to live up to his legacy.  After releasing their new single I’d agree with Rolling Stone that their “juicy funk-pop groove” isn’t going anywhere.  I have a feeling I’ll still be throwing pottery and sculpture to the Chili Peppers for decades to come, hopefully with the same energy embodied by their music, Abstract Expressionists and my Mindscape sculptures.

Take it from Dave Grohl, drummer of Them Crooked Vultures and lead singer/guitarist of Foo Fighers.  He rocks with the best of them and knows there are few things in this world that can get you going like a heavy rock song.  Well, maybe a FRESH POT!! 

Pottery Production, Year 2

Guest blog posting by Matt Staz

As of recent, Joel Cherrico has moved from the residency at Saint Ben’s to another studio located in the heart of downtown St. Cloud, The Paramount. Saint Ben’s has been mother’s milk to Cherrico pottery, a refuge for this clay slinging potter, however, as the tides change and the phases of the moon advance, so must Cherrico pottery. The Paramount will become the fortress from where the clay of the earth turns into functional vessels. Before bidding the Saint Ben’s Studio adue, a few projects for his Artist Residency were fired in the kilns at Saint Ben’s. The first included in total: 300 modest slim formed Communion cups, 2 immaculate pouring vessels, 2 pitchers and 2 bowls.

The other project was made for a Saint John’s Groom and Saint Ben’s Bride. Included was a 6 person tableset (6 medium plates, 6 dinner plates, 6 coffee mugs and 6 bowls) for a wedding Registry. Check it out on Etsy– it’s like Ebay, but entirely handmade (entirely awesome):


The new shift to The Paramount will produce new work from the same ilk. The artists’ community found at the Paramaount will bring forth a new threshold to the ever evolving techniques, styles, and form of Cherrico ceramics.

Cherrico’s ceramics can be viewed and purchased at the Paramount Gallery. On the tables of crystal glass, vessels and forms of all kinds sit in await of peoples attention. The Milky Way galaxy swirls of glaze draw people in from the main drag in downtown St. Cloud. Mugz are adorned with a Nuka glaze that begs for you to pour a bold hot coffee into it. And the serving bowls, wide deep as the Continental Divide basin, are ready for use at a summer event at the lake cabin or a get together in your home. Come in, stop on by, check out this display of pottery, and by chance you may meet the artist himself at the Paramount Gallery
The styles that are hatching from the new Residency at The Paramount Center for the Arts are creative and breakthrough. Shapes and forms are being experimented on to best honor the suite of Ceramic enthusiasts. Working all through day, and into the night, the artist plugs into the funky cerebral music and starts another fresh pot of coffee, in order to find forms that can jigsaw worldly tastes.