Port pottery artist creates pieces for the U.S. Open

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Patricia Bridges with her collection of pieces for the U.S. Open. (Courtesy of Patricia Bridges)

When Patricia Bridges saw she was getting a call from the United States Golf Association, she was confused.

“I’m a golfer, so I thought maybe they were calling me to see if I wanted to become a member,” she said.

But the golf association was calling instead to see if she would be willing to craft a custom set of ceramics for the 2018 U.S. Open, to be held next month at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton.

Bridges, a pottery artist based in Port Washington, proved up to the task. She cranked out close to 500 bowls, platters and mugs bearing the Shinnecock logo.

“It was a big job and I did not have a lot of time to do this,” she said. “But I have experience. I have several large customers for whom I have produced hundreds of pieces for their catalogs.”

That ability to churn out a consistent high-quality product was one of the reasons she was chosen for the job, she said.

Pottery has been a life-long passion for Bridges, who was born and raised in New Hampshire. Her father dedicated much of his time to blacksmithing and metal sculpture.

“He was very supportive and helped me get underway,” she said, adding that she first took to pottery after taking a ceramics class in high school.

Pottery became more of a hobby while she was raising her children and working as the vice president of marketing for Reuters. Currently, she runs a studio out of her home in Port Washington and teaches a class at Haven Art Studio.

She said the USGA contacted her because it has started commissioning work from artists local to the golf club hosting that year’s U.S. Open (the tournament moves around every year).

For Bridges, the work for Shinnecock was different than anything she had done before.

“I hadn’t done logo stuff and they knew it wasn’t my thing,” she said. “So we had a number of conversations to see if we could come up with what they were looking for, and we managed to find a happy ground.”

She said that typical products with a logo tended to be pretty plain and “not very artisan or handmade looking.” The challenge was trying to put her own spin on a standard design, but it was nonetheless a challenge she enjoyed.

“It was fun to find shapes and colors that was a representation of my work, and represented them as well,” she said.

A less fun challenge to work out was how to glaze the logo. The logo for Shinnecock Hills Golf Club includes the head of a Native American in front of a golf club and arrow. Bridges said those little details were hard to produce on one product, let alone 500.

“The logo was pretty fine, with lots of little lines and writing,” she said. “When you work in glazes, it will obliterate any kind of writing. But I think they turned out nicely.”

Her collection will be on display in the Main Merchandise Pavilion at Shinnecock from June 7 through 17, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. No ticket will be necessary to access the pavilion before June 10.

More information can be found on Bridges’ website, bridgespottery.com.

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