Belgrade potter Maryclare Bradford is holding her first professional pottery show tonight (Thursday, Oct. 21) at Garage Clay, 5150 Thorpe Road, Belgrade.

She’ll be present to talk more about her collection and process, and her pottery will be available for purchase.

Bradford’s showing is from 6 to 8 p.m.

“I like color,” Bradford told the Belgrade News. “And I like using things from nature. Ginkgo leaves.

“I have a design background and went to art school. I like to make serviceable pottery, attractive pieces, useful, not made by a machine.

“I just do it because I enjoy it. And I’ve been doing it since 1999.”

S’mores and wine will be served at the reception.

For years, Bradford took classes with Bozeman ceramics teacher Beth Kennedy. When she stopped teaching, Bradford moved herself to a corner of her husband’s woodshop off East Baseline Road.

What’s next? “Pie plates; magpie plates, and I get to make a play on words,” she jokes. “I’ll do whatever I feel like doing.”

She’s especially fond of ginkgo leaves and expecting a shipment of same from a friend in Illinois. She tried to grow her own, “but that tree won’t grow out here. I tried. You’d think the only tree to come through the Ice Age would grow in Montana, but no.” (These leaves grow up to 3 inches long and are fan-shaped).

Growing up in Illinois, she got adventurous and worked summers between college terms at Yellowstone National Park, where she met her husband-to-be John.

“I was a maid at Mammoth Hotel and he was a bellman. And we just celebrated our 50th anniversary – and we went back to the park.”

Bradford’s show is part of the Garage Clay’s effort to monthly highlight a local artist.