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A Potter and an Artist

St. Lawrence Pottery located on Route 12N about  5 miles east of Clayton, features John Arnot’s ceramic art as well as Sarah Ellen Smith’s paintings and glass beads.  

John and Sarah grew up in Thousand-Island communities - John has a link to the Summerland Group and Westminster Park, while Sarah comes from Fisher’s Landing. 

John earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at University of Oregon, and also studied ceramic arts at the Penland School of Crafts located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He has worked on the west coast at Schultz Porcelain and Hoyman Browe Studio and in Baltimore for Clayworks. In addition to his work experience, John has also participated in several shows and exhibitions.  

He returned to the River in 2006 when he assumed the position of Potter-in-Residence at the Thousand Islands Arts Centre.  He continues to be actively involved in the Centre and currently serves on its Board of Trustees.  John, and his wife Lori, are volunteers in the Thousand Islands Young Leaders Organization (TIYLO) which was created to help young professionals and community members become more involved in the Thousand Islands region. 

Sarah Ellen Smith studied painting, printing, and precious metals, at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois. In 1988 she moved to St. Petersburg, Florida where she producing jewelry and developed her career as a commercial artist.

Saah many artistic credits to her name.  She has illustrated several books for the Tampa University Press and also produced a series of prints which served as trophies for the US Olympic Sailing training regattas. 

Sarah, for several years, was a participating artist in ArtLink, a program that matches professional artists with artists who are intellectually-challenged. In 2003, this led her to Japan where she helped to introduce the ArtLink program to over 1,200 people from agencies and advocate groups.  She was invited to return to Japan in 2007 to present at forums at the Kyoto Museum of Art and the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art.

Both are well recognized in their fields. John’s work was recently featured in the Thousand Islands Sun in a piece by Pamela McDowell in the “Vacationer”.  Sarah’s photographs appear in several North Country magazines including Save the River’s publications.  Most recently here photographs are featured in the Black River New York recreation brochure.

So as summer draws to a close, we encourage our readers stop by St. Lawrence Pottery which is open from Thursday to Saturday, and watch for the flag to fly.  It means the artists are in house and ready to show their talents. Do take advantage and stop.

Pottery by John Arnot

Photographs courtesy Sarah Ellen Smith, Click to enlarge

Pitcher  John Arnot Small Pitcher John Arnot jug John Arnot


Vase John Arnot Mug John Arnot


Platter by John Arnot painted by SE Smith

One of their newest creations is a collaborative effort. John Arnot throws the pots, while Sarah Ellen Smith paints the River scenes. Both seem to be amazed at how quickly these pieces sell, it is easy to see why.

Bowl by John Arnot paited by SE Smith

Works by Sarah Ellen Smith

Photographs by Sarah Ellen Smith

Earrings Sarah’s hand crafted glass beads are transformed into unique pieces of jewelry.  Her “River Beads” depict some of her favorite Island scenes.  She also creates wonderful “fish”, as you watch her heat the glass rods – all the while she explains the process and enthusiastically expresses her passion for the River, the Studio and her Art.


Grindstone Storm, Sarah Ellen Smith
Storm over Round Island, Sarah Ellen Smith
The Narrows, Sarah Ellen Smith
Storm over Grassy Point, Sarah Ellen Smith

St. Lawrence Pottery: 41468 Route 12 Clayton NY 13624

Approximately 2. 5 miles from the intersection of

Route 12 and Interstate 81.

Website: Sarah Ellen Smith

The potter’s kiln is impressive both when firing and when idle. If you are lucky to visit on a day when John Arnot is on site, you will get a lesson in physics with an artist’s eye

 By Susan W. Smith, 

Posted in: Artists
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Amy Linton
Comment by: Amy Linton ( )
Left at: 9:06 PM Monday, August 30, 2010
Great article -- wonderful art.