Lovers of anything ocean themed will find numerous options for setting a Vineyard table at the SRS Grunden Pottery studio on the Vineyard Haven/Edgartown Road. Sherry Stevens-Grunden has been selling her hand-made ceramic ware from her home studio for more than ten years. There, you’ll find a variety of attractive bowls, plates, platters, mugs and pitchers in Island-centric shades of blue or brown.
Stevens-Grunden’s work tends toward the traditional — sturdy and utilitarian. What sets her apart from other potters is the decorative work that embellishes many of the pieces. Fish, scallops, oysters, seahorses, and turtles adorn a series of mugs and pitchers; other designs include a simple heart, an outline of the Island with a wavy border, and a series of images of three different small invasive species — the clinging jellyfish, the vase tunicate, and the clubbed tunicate. Tunicates are small invertebrate sea animals that can be found attached to rocks, pilings and other hard surfaces; the clinging jellyfish clings to sea vegetation and has a potent sting.
These invasive species may seem an odd choice for an artist, but Stevens-Grunden’s husband, Dave, is the former Oak Bluffs shellfish constable, and he suggested that these non-native creatures would add something unique to his wife’s pottery line. She notes that she is now teaching Dave the ropes, so it would seem that the two have combined their interests in the small cottage business.
The SRS pottery line also features ornamental pieces made by using molds made from actual scallop and oyster shells. These are mounted on bases and used as tabletop accent pieces.
After working for pottery studios in North Carolina and Connecticut, Stevens-Grunden spent six years doing production work in England before moving to the Island. She refers to her designs as “very English shapes,” with trimming on the bottom. These simple designs allow for decorative work, although most of the artist’s pieces are unadorned and rustic. The decorative elements are molded separately and added on, providing texture and a three dimensional look.
The Oak Bluffs based couple sell their pottery from their studio/shop on their property and also at the Chilmark Flea Market and Oak Bluffs Open Market.