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Century-old adobe house, home of clay co-op, celebrates birthday this month

Maxine Krasnow is the founder of the Tucson Clay Co-op.

The Tucson Clay Co-op is celebrating a special birthday in October.

The building where clay bowls and pots come together is turning 100 years old and proprietor Maxine Krasnow wants to send it up big.

“You don’t celebrate when a building is 101 or 102, you do it the year that it is a hundred,” she says.

Krasnow moved the clay studio to the adobe house at 3326 N. Dodge Blvd. in 2008, after a series of relocations that took her all over Tucson.

Starting out in New York, she founded and ran Supermud Pottery Studio in Manhattan.

She moved out west in 1982 because of her son’s asthma and ran her pottery school out of her home.

In 2000, Krasnow was offered a spot in an 1,800-square-foot space to teach her class but three years later, that building was sold off and Krasnow had to relocate.

From there, she had to bounce from location to location as each spot closed its doors.

“I moved the pottery five times in five years,” Krasnow said. “I got lucky and found this building on Craigslist.”

The building was listed by Lynn Rae Lowe of the Metal Arts Village and while many were interested, Krasnow’s pottery took the spot.

“She specifically wanted the Tucson Clay Co-Op and she thought there would be a synergy with the Metal Arts Village,” Krasnow said.

Although the space is small, there is a place for every type of kiln, mold and glaze. 

“A lot of people didn’t think I could pull it off,” she said. “I’m basically in a house.”

But Krasnow isn’t one to be overcome by the cards she is dealt.

As the first girl to have a bat mitzvah in her Conservative temple, she wasn’t easy with the inequalities that came with being a Jewish girl in that era.

“I was angry that I was not allowed to read from the Torah,” Krasnow said. “Not because I was that religious, but because I thought it was unfair that you had to [be a boy] to read from the Torah.”

Krasnow knows that a bigger space for the Tucson Clay Co-op might provide better opportunities but it is the close nature of the space that forces a tight knit community.

“Because it is so intimate and so small, we have to get along with each other,” she jokes.

The celebration is set for Saturday, Oct. 27 and will feature the band
The Wayback Machine, as well as speakers who will talk about the history of the neighborhood and building.

There will be food and drink to honor Mexican and Native American dishes from the region. The party is set to start at 4 p.m. and end around 8 p.m., but that isn’t guaranteed.

“It’s a party so if it runs later, it runs later,” Krasnow says.