Hudson Valley Word of Mouth: Rita Seiko Payne of Beiko Ceramics (Audio)

Dec 01, 2021
Produced by Julia Joern.

In the latest Hudson Valley Word of Mouth segment, Julia Joern visits Rita Seiko Payne, the artist behind Beiko Ceramics. Her large barn-like studio — once a lumber operation, then later a fur trapper and trader business — is located in the small town of Cherry Valley in Otsego County.

Through the process of slip casting, she creates ‘functional art’ from ordinary and often disposable objects, as well as from fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Many of her designs come directly from her family's or friends’ yards and gardens, such as serving plates cast from giant sunflowers, or bowls cast from an acorn squash, an oversized pumpkin, and even a head of cabbage. Many years in the making, she’s also created her own food-, oven-, and dishwasher-safe signature-colored turquoise pottery glaze, which she’s aptly named ‘Dr. Payne.’

Payne’s work can be found locally at Beekman 1802 Mercantile in Sharon Springs in Schoharie County, and at Riverwood in Cooperstown, a village in Central New York that’s also home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and MuseumThe Farmers’ MuseumFenimore Art Museum, and The Glimmerglass Festival.