The Memphis Potters' Guild had its modest beginning in February of 1976, when local artists Cissy Jones and Patti Lechman met at a pottery class at the Memphis College of Art and decided to join together and open their own studio. They rented a space at the corner of Hollywood and Summer Avenue, and began offering classes to the general public. "Workshop Inc.", as it was first named, was readily received by the public.
In the fall of 1978, the group received a charter from the Ann Arbor, Michigan Potters' Guild, at which Patti had studied. Patterning themselves after that guild, the Memphis Potters' Guild was launched. Several of the current members (Pat Billmeier, Holly Jenkins, and Jackie Ware) were the first to join, and were followed swiftly by Agnes Stark and Mimi Dann. Classes continued, and in addition, the group offered studio and kiln space for rent. The Guild began holding an Annual Holiday Show and Sale in the workshop itself, which evolved into the bi-annual shows the Guild presently offers.
As time went by, the Guild found it to be cost-prohibitive to continue operating as it had in the beginning, and gradually members moved on to open studios of their own. The Guild has remained a firmly established group however, and continues to share ideas and to present shows to the community.
The Memphis Potters' Guild is committed to increasing the public's appreciation and understanding of quality workmanship through teaching, demonstrating, exhibiting, and supporting workshops throughout the community.
By continuously re-evaluating the standards of excellence, the Guild members promote the value of fine, handmade pottery and art.
The Memphis Potters' Guild strengthens and sustains the careers of local ceramic artists by joining together to share knowledge and conduct sales.