If you don’t already know, LivCo has quite the arts scene. Theater, dance, film, and live music — all be found throughout our towns and villages. Galleries likewise are scattered throughout the county, showing off the breadth of our residents’ ample talent.

During your visit, there’s no better activity to include in your itinerary than a bit of gallery hopping. Visiting our galleries is an easy, accessible, free activity that you can enjoy no matter the season. There’s no better way to get to know a local area than by soaking in its art. And exploring new-to-you artists and artworks is a great way to get to know your own tastes, as well as those of your fellow travelers. You may just find a piece that you can’t live without and that you simply have to take home!

There’s one gallery in particular that you should visit, if you don’t want to just look at the art, but also want to make your own. Studio Sales Pottery has been in business since 1980… or, at least, the first iteration of it has been. With renowned artist Michael “Mike” Carroll at the helm, the business is split into three focuses. There’s a pottery supply shop where you can buy anything you might need for your own pottery outfit. There’s a community studio where locals and visitors alike can try their hands at one of ten electric pottery wheels. Then, there’s the Schoolhouse Gallery, which displays local artwork and pottery in a historic space once used as the area’s schoolhouse in the mid-1800s.

Visit and see the local artwork, but consider booking one of the studio’s classes. While more intensive classes are offered weekly, one-off, private classes can likewise be scheduled for the weekends, during which you’ll learn more about the ceramics process and how it relates to LivCo’s history, as well as get a chance to use the potter’s wheel. Similar private, individual classes are available with a focus on clay work.


Mike Carroll Studio Sales



Tell us a little bit about Studio Sales Pottery, how it got started, and your story as a maker and creator.

I started playing with clay at age 14 in junior high school at Rush Henrietta. In high school I was able to take 2 years of college elective ceramics courses at R.I.T. Then I graduated RH and joined the US Army. Upon leaving the US Army I went to Nazareth College for Studio Art. After graduation my wife Roxanne and I set up a pottery classroom and supply business on South Avenue in Rochester. In 1988 we moved that business, Studio Sales Pottery to Avon on Route 5 and 20. Between 2006 and 2007 we purchased and renovated the now 170 year old one room schoolhouse next to the original property to function as a gallery and supply showroom.

For 52 years I have had clay under my hands and the plasticity, movement, forms, and compositions give me a peaceful joy; to make an inanimate clay lump come alive and fire it to a permanence. Oh, and I like fire…


Why Livingston County? Why did you choose to set up your business here?

In 1987, I saw the East Avon property on my way to Geneseo one morning and my wife and I were ready to leave the city. From the beginning, this has been a very welcoming and supportive community for my business and our family. From neighbors to local governments, schools to culture, it’s a great place to be.


Pottery Display


We heard you found an arrowhead on your property, can you talk a little bit about that experience?

The arrowhead or javelin point was found by Tom Kuch of Avon next to the schoolhouse while cleaning up old vegetation to prepare for last year’s WNY Pottery Festival. The piece needs to be examined firsthand, but from sharing pictures with an anthropologist I was told it is either 1600 years old or possibly 3000 to 5000 years old. Obviously much older than the Hartford/Avon settlement, but the Niagara Road which ran from Fort Niagara to the Hudson Valley had traffic much earlier than the European settlements. The arrowhead or javelin point is in incredible condition and still very sharp. There is a feature that photos don’t show, so it needs to be examined to identify the time period and culture.

Can you talk about your partnership with Howlett Farms in Avon? How you've been sourcing clay with them?

Parts of Howlett Farms working fields are on the “flats” in Avon. A potter friend had provided me with an early 1900s geologic study from SUNY Geneseo about the makeup of the Genesee River Valley and showed me how there were pretty clean deposits of sedimentary red clays, earthenware, capable of fairly high temperatures, 2000° to 2100° F in this region. 

One day several months ago I noticed a drainage ditch had been dredged and the piles on each side of the ditch were much lighter in color than the surrounding soil and consistent from one end of the ditch to the other. Bruce Howlett met me at this field and let me take some 5-gallon barrels as samples of what has turned out to be VERY clean clay deposits. Not far from the ditch are ponds which Bruce indicated were formed from old brickyard excavations.

From some of my own “research” I believe the brickyard in question produced a lot of the bricks used on properties in the village of Hartford/Avon as the community grew. For my purposes I crushed the clay, wet it down and screened it, then dried out some small batches on plaster and turned some small pieces on my wheel. I made some very tight, durable pots and look forward to working with some more of the samples I have to make pots and glazes over the next two months.


What can people expect at this year's WNY Pottery Festival? What's your favorite thing about the event?

More artists! We have had a very robust response to the show from ceramists this year and there will be more displays and booths. It will be clay-focused, pottery, sculpture, and tile work, all handmade. The venue is a park-like setting and my wife and I, with some help, put in a lot of prep work to have it looking good. (OK, mostly my wife.) I enjoy the way the properties look when the show is opened. Each year a glaze kiln of wood-fired pottery is unloaded on the Saturday and that is like opening presents for a potter.



Women at WNY Pottery Festival



If you’ve already explored the aisles of Studio Sales and loved what you saw, we have great news — you can find even more amazing works of ceramic art in other LivCo galleries.


Gallery in the Valley
Geneseo, New York

The Gallery in the Valley is a locally-owned gallery that features new artists every month. In addition to their rotation of visiting artists, resident artist Stephanie Krist of Fired Figments Ceramics creates handcrafted pieces at her home studio near Ithaca, New York. Inspired by a lifelong love of dragons and fantasy, Stephanie’s mugs, spoon rests, plant pots, and sponge holders are all available at the Gallery.


Talulah’s Fancy Wildflower Farm Studio & Gallery
Lima, New York

Turn off Rochester Street in Lima and you’ll find Talulah’s Fancy Wildflower Farm Studio & Gallery, an indoor-outdoor studio that beautifully blends nature with art. During your visit, shop nature-inspired pottery, jewelry, and more created by local artist Tamara Stopinski. While you’re there, you can view fields of wildflowers and create your own colorful bouquet.