Creativity is flowing through the streets of Newburgh right now. It’s wrapping around revolutionary era buildings and hop-scotching along time-tested brick roads. On Liberty Street, a hillside up from the Hudson River, it makes a permanent home. Boundless in its potential, it powers award-winning restaurants, curated clothing boutiques, and sweet floral shops alike.
Down the road, that creativity has crept along South William Street, where it steeps like tea inside Atlas Studios, a makerspace for dozens of Hudson Valley artisans. One of them is David Moldover, co-owner of The Newburgh Pottery. Alongside his wife, Jenny, he designs the pottery that powers nearby stores and restaurants and instructs inquisitive locals on the meditative potential of working with clay.
Left to right: David Moldover, photo by The Newburgh Pottery / Clay on a wheel, photo by Meredith Heuer
“We love and believe in everything clay!” he enthuses. That much is obvious. As one step into the studio reveals, pottery isn’t just an outlet for Moldover; it’s a way of life. The art form has been with him since college, when he took the ceramics class that introduced him to his wife. Inspired like never before, he felt a magnetic pull to the studio that lasted well after the course ended. To ease the withdrawal, he accepted a job at the school’s studio after graduation. As he grew more familiar with the materials and process behind the clay composition, he worked his way through similar venues around Brooklyn and Manhattan.
“I had the rare opportunity to work for and under different accomplished potters,” he recalls. “While I mopped or wedged clay or mixed glazes, I’d listen to them teach classes and I’d watch them work out of the corner of my eye. I tried to absorb and learn as much as possible.”
Photo by Meredith Heuer
Ten years of knowledge later, Moldover found a groove for himself in the world of ceramics. No longer just a studio employee, he began teaching classes for children and adults. As he explains it, teaching was integral to his progression as a ceramicist, since it forced him to slow down and consider the motions that power the art form.
“It’s a very personal journey,” he says of working with clay. “If focused, you’ll always be better than the day before, but never as good as you’ll be tomorrow. That’s an addictive feeling to chase.”
It was during his time teaching that he stepped into the role of manager at La Mano Pottery, the largest privately-owned studio in New York City. In addition to further developing his skills as a maker, the role instructed him on the workings of a successful business. From managing clients to producing works for nearby restaurants, Moldover had a hand in every aspect of the enterprise.
Yet all the while, he and Jenny longed to open a studio of their own away from the city. So, when a friend mentioned that Atlas Studios had just the space for them in the Hudson Valley, the couple knew they had to see it for themselves.
“The city was beautiful, the view was incredible, and the energy was palpable,” he reminisces. Needless to say, he was sold.
Left to right: Photo by Meredith Heuer / Photo by The Newburgh Pottery
One year later, The Newburgh Pottery has established itself as a go-to venue for the creative community in the Hudson Valley. With both classes and memberships available, the Orange County space attracts potters who crave a dedicated location to practice their work and aspiring artists who want to learn best practices from professionals. Depending on interests, locals can sign up for wheel classes, hand-building classes, or even classes tailored just for kids. As for memberships, the studio allows anyone registered to come and go during business hours, at which time they can make use of studio equipment and house clays and glazes at no extra cost.
Of course, community clay-making is only part of the story at The Newburgh Pottery. On the flip side, the makerspace is an active participant in the regional community, thanks to collaborations with businesses like Field Trip, Hendley & Co, Liberty Street Bistro, and Lodger. Speaking of Lodger, the restaurant recently joined forces with the studio to host a Moroccan pottery lecture in celebration of the release of The Earth Has Three Colors: A Celebration of Moroccan Ceramics by internationally acclaimed ceramicist David Packer.
Photos by Brian Wolfe
With one remarkable year under their belt, Moldover and his wife already have a laundry list of plans for the future. Currently, they’re hammering out details for a visiting artist workshop and lecture series to invite artists to lead talks on niche topics in the ceramics industry. Within the Hudson Valley, they hope to collaborate with organizations like Center for Hope and Common Ground Farm to inspire creativity and bring art to the community at large.
As Moldover sees it, pottery is only as valuable as the people who surround it, after all.
“Communities form in studios like this,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what your age or background is; everyone has this one passion in common, and so everyone is on a level playing field. You’ll never feel more welcome anywhere than you’ll feel in a studio.”
Ready to join the club?
The Newburgh Pottery
102 S William St, Newburgh