Studio Potter Edna Arnow

Photos from art fairs and demonstrations, 1955-1971

Edna Arnow in her basement studio at 2126 W. Touhy Ave., Chicago, in Rogers Park on the North Side of the city, throwing a pot. 1960.

Edna Arnow in her basement studio at 2126 W. Touhy Ave., Chicago, in Rogers Park on the North Side of the city, throwing a pot in 1960.

Potter Edna Arnow at her first art fair in 1955.

This might have been one of Edna's first shows, in 1955. She was 34. Her first wheel was made from an old washing machine.

Edna Arnow with her stoneware pottery at the Old Town Art Fair, 1960.

Edna at the Old Town Art Fair in 1960. She liked to get a big hat for every show. The owls were her signature pieces. They faced you, no matter which way they were turned--as do the heads of real owls Edna said. Daughter Maureen is behind her, drinking from a mug. Maureen later married another art fair regular, jeweler Michael Banner. Maureen took up jewelry with him, and they became silversmiths in Monterey, Mass. Here is their website.

Edna Arnow at the Old Town Art Fair in Chicago

Edna and her pottery at the Old Town Art Fair in 1969. The pottery at right is covered in her characteristic "crud" glaze that she developed.

Studio sale of Arnow pottery and Banner jewelry at store on Lunt Avenue under the "el" tracks, about 1969

For a couple of years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Arnows rented a storefront from the CTA under the "el" tracks on Lunt Avenue on the far north side (Morris Avenue stop). Here is Edna's pottery on display for an open house. Michael Banner is standing by his jewelry case.

Pottery demostration for flower arrangers by Edna Arnow, March 1970.

Pottery demostration for flower arrangers by Edna Arnow, March 1970. Though she continued to make purely functional mugs, plates, bowls and pitchers, Edna started making more complicated, oddly shaped pieces that contemporary flower arrangers loved. She developed a following in their community, and her work appeared in many shows and books.

Edna Arnow demonstrating pottery making. Mike Banner is in the background.

Edna Arnow demonstrating pottery making, 1971. Mike Banner is in the background.


A curious mention:

Edna's name appeared in an article by Myra Janco Daniels in Chicago Magazine, "I married a Mad Man," about a legendary ad executive (like the one in the television show, Mad Men). It's about how she didn't make it to Edna's exhibition:

"The next day, August 19, 1967, he picked me up to go to an Edna Arnow pottery show. On the way, he asked if he could stop for a minute at the courthouse. ... There was a large room across the hall where marriages were performed and Dan said to me, “Myra, let’s go ahead and do it.” ...The next thing I knew, ... we were married." Click here for the whole article.