FARMINGDALE — Barbara Loken is quick to say that her husband, Neal, is the serious potter in the household.

He has been making pottery for 45 years, studied it in Japan and makes lamps, teapots and dishware at their home workshop on Bowman Street. On Sunday, she showed off her “Hog Wash” product — a soap dispenser depicting a pig washing under an arm pit.

“I do all the comic relief in the family,” she said.

Their Farmingdale workshop was one of 40 statewide stops on the weekend’s Maine Pottery Tour. It’s in its fourth year, and artists from Phillips to Kennebunkport and Brownfield to Lincolnville participated. Studios in Augusta, Hallowell, East Winthrop, Litchfield, Whitefield and Windsor also took part.

It’s the only time of year when the Lokens open up their studio to the public, but business was slower on Sunday after they got visitors from southern Maine and New Hampshire on Saturday. Most of the Lokens’ work is sold at the Maine Potters Market in Portland and Mainely Pottery in Belfast.

There’s a market for the work. Elizabeth Downs, a West Gardiner potter who was showing work at the Lokens’ on Sunday, said people want “something they’re not going to end up tossing out the next day because it’s no good.”


Bob and Diane Gray, of Chelsea, who were touring local workshops on Sunday, went away with a butter dish.

“It’s nice to be able to meet the potters and see how they live and how they do the work and stuff like that,” Bob Gray said. “It’s more interesting when you’re holding a piece of pottery like that.”

The Lokens have been able to live and send their children to college largely off of pottery. Neal did it full time from home after Barbara taught art at Hall-Dale High School, providing health insurance for the family. Now she’s retired and working with her husband full time in the studio, which has an idyllic field for a backyard despite being in a densely populated neighborhood.

But the small studio allows for some separation: She works in one room and he’s usually in another.

“This is how our marriage keeps strong too, me working over here,” Barbara Loken joked. “We work well together.”

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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