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Whenever I'm driving north on Highway 42 and pass Plum Bottom Road, I'm tempted to turn and stop in to see Chad Luberger at his gallery, Plum Bottom Pottery. Too often I'm short on time, but this past weekend I made sure I had a good hour or two and stopped in for the Valentine's Show - a celebration of the newly expanded studio and fresh work by Luberger and several other artists. Tucked into a wooded hollow, the gallery is simple and serene. In summer, the gardens are a lovely spot for a stroll, but in winter the gallery beckons with its wood-fired warmth and
welcoming smiles from Chad, his wife Angela and gallery employees and friends. Chad Luberger at the desk that once belonged to his mentors, Abe and Ginka Cohn. Little did he know that he would receive some of the best training of his life that summer. "It wasn't just working with Abe, but it was Ginka who taught me so much about running a business, interacting with clients and the social side of things. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was getting a great education." Luberger is one of several outstanding young potters in Door County who have been influenced by the Cohns, and he recognizes that being part of a strong community of artists is critical to his success. "Better art brings art enthusiasts to the county," he says, "and that means a great clientele. We need people to buy our work in order to make a living and continue to be creative." He's now passing on the tradition, as mentor to a young apprentice, Elizabeth Butler, who is showing her work for the first time at the studio. "Liz has been working with me for 3 years," he says. "She has really stuck with it and has come into her own as a potter." Red roses and a painting by Mary White at the Valentine Show at Plum Bottom. When the multi-talented Luberger isn't working in the studio or spending time with his family, he can be found onstage at American Folklore Theatre, where he has appeared in shows such as Loose Lips Sink Ships and Victory Farm. So next time you approach Plum Bottom Road, take the turnoff and meander down the drive to Plum Bottom Pottery. Chances are you'll find Chad at work on a new creation, and you may find something inspiring to take home with you. Happy gallery hopping!
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