THE INVINCIBLE KAY HACKETT DEMONSTRATES
POTTERY-MAKING TO A SOLD OUT CROWD

 ………….OF TWELVE-YEAR-OLDS

 

By Diana Bullock

 

It was a horribly bitterly cold night in January 2004.  There wasn’t a dog or cat stirring outside.
But inside the cozy Plumstead branch of the ocean county library in New Egypt, NJ, Kay was
surrounded by over twenty Junior Girl Scouts of Troop 2.

 

Earlier that afternoon we picked Kay up at her house and loaded in her suitcases and boxes of
material for her program.  The program was not just about Stangl, but ceramics and pottery in
general.  Kay set up tables full of some of her favorite Stangl designs and a representative grouping of several important pots in the history of ceramics.  Counted among her examples were a rare Chinese celadon vase and a Native American pot as well as several antique American, European and Oriental examples.  Kay appreciates all forms of art and design and loves to share her knowledge.

 

  

  

 

The event had been well advertised within library circles so the audience swelled as the time
grew near to the start of the program.  The adults in the room listened intently to Kay but it
was the girls that were kept in rapt attention.  There was one little scout that remained at Kay’s
elbow and seemingly couldn’t get close enough watching Kay demonstrate the craft that had
made her indispensable at Stangl pottery for all those years.

 

    

  

Kay gave a captivating lecture on the history of world ceramics, culminating with her excellent
education at Alfred University.  She then launched briefly into the design process she employed
at Stangl, showing many of her original sketches and drawings.  The young girls were thoroughly
amazed at the concept of each product comes from an initial design or sketch.  They were thrilled
to match Kay’s drawings to the finished examples she had brought along. 

  

Kay then demonstrated Stangl’s decorating process, beginning with the application of charcoal
stencils to some green ware plates.  Watching Kay deftly carve the stenciled designs, the girls
were spellbound.  Never have we witnessed so large a group of pre-teen girls be so attentive and
quiet as they were that evening with Kay!  After the carving, Kay showed the girls how the colors
were mixed to workable consistency and hand-painted onto the designs.  Throughout the entire
demonstration, Kay stressed the importance of design, and that everything begins with design. 
Even though Stangl Pottery was Kay’s medium, she explained that the basic concepts are all the
same and can be translated to any area of interest.

  

  

  

Kay also brought a display of framed Stangl advertising art:
     
  

Afterward, we enjoyed dinner at Kay’s favorite restaurant and yakked for hours catching
up on gossip and news.  We never did get Kay home until well after midnight!