New studio fires up pottery for Marion
MARION — It doesn’t take long to trace the smoke from a lit kiln back to Cynthia Naples’ studio at 283 on Wareham Road. And for years, the studio’s doors have been closed, piquing the interest of artsy neighbors.
Until now, that is.
Naples opened up Studio 283 in early December, shifting from her usual circuit of Renaissance fairs and art markets. Now, she’s accepting appointments for in-person showings on the studio’s Facebook page.
After studying early childhood education in college, Naples found herself looking for a job where she could travel whenever she wanted. She initially began studying sign language in order to be an interpreter. But she took a break after she finished her studies and began to learn pottery, which she’s been doing ever since.
“I just thought ‘pottery,’ and that was the end of that,” Naples said.
She learned the art at the pottery studio Mudflat in Somerville, where she ended up staying as a resident artist for almost 20 years.
And for a long time, her space at Mudflat and sales at Renaissance fairs were enough to keep the ship running.
Then covid hit, and all the fairs and art markets were cancelled. So Naples had to shift her game plan ahead a few years and start selling directly to her neighbors.
“It’s been a nice way to meet the community for sure,” Naples said.
Naples had always planned to open up a local studio when she moved to Marion over 10 years ago to start a family, but she didn’t expect it to be ready for a few more years.
Instead, she spruced up what she had and opened up shop.
“It’s nice enough that I feel comfortable inviting people over,” Naples said.
But Naples knew that if she built a studio, they would come.
“I had the idea that once somebody knew there was a pottery studio in Marion” people would be interested, Naples said.
Since moving to Marion, she’s been juggling being a mom and a working artist. Naples said that the hectic lifestyle has prepared her to be able to adapt to problems quickly, which has helped get her through the pandemic.
“We had to reinvent how we do what we do,” Naples said of her and her family. “But we’re a little spunky.”
And ever since she started to advertise the studio on social media, the responses have been flowing in.
Naples said that within a couple hours of her first post, she was getting messages from neighbors asking to know more about her work.
The studio’s Facebook page has already amassed 170 likes since it was made in early December.
Being a newcomer to social media, Naples was surprised by the response.
“I haven’t even gotten my knees in the water, I’ve just gotten my toe,” Naples said. “And my toe is enough to wake me up.”
But using social media gives Naples, who is normally a fan of face-to-face interaction, a chance to take stock of what the people of Marion are interested in. She’s planning to start putting the “essence” of Marion in her work.
So far that has meant more nautical theming, and the addition of fish into some of her pieces.
But what social media doesn’t give Naples is the opportunity to see customers interact with, and react to, her work.
“I can’t think about what to make if I’m not watching people touch my stuff,” Naples said.
With a new hybrid method of social media advertising and intimate in-person art showings, Naples is moving into the 21st century.
And even though the journey started a bit early, there’s still a long way to go for Studio 238.
“I’m not even in the shallow end yet,” Naples said.