JAY - It's a cold, sunny morning, and Sue Burdick Young takes a brief break at the gallery space on her home property in the hamlet of Jay. She is a working artist - a potter by trade -?and set aside some time for the Lake Placid News to talk about her artwork.
Young and her husband, Terry, also an accomplished artist, own and operate Young's Studio and Gallery located at 6588 state Route 86.
A product of the AuSable Valley Central School District, Sue describes herself as "a simple country girl." At an early age, she was motivated by her love of horses and thought about pursuing a career in some type of equestrian trade.
Sue Burdick Young (Photo — Charles Potthast Jr.)
"In high school, I would spend as much time as possible in the art room, usually drawing horses," she said.
Sue discovered that she loved working with her hands and decided to study art at SUNY Potsdam. While in college, she took pottery classes as part of a two-dimensional art major. She immediately fell in love with the medium.
"Pottery presented so many possibilities, " Sue said. "There seemed to be no end to what I could create."
Sue graduated from SUNY Potsdam in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. After college, she came home to Jay and took a job as a bank teller while planning to open her own pottery business, giving herself one year to accomplish the goal.
On April 1, 1982, Sue opened her own business, working out of her father's basement on a small kiln she had bought in high school. As she continued to work, and fire her kiln, the electric bills started to climb and her father told her it was time to set up business elsewhere. He provided her with studio space in a separate building, which is still part of the current studio and gallery today.
Sue was on her way.
After marrying Terry, they opened a gallery and named it Handwork. In 1995, they expanded and opened the current 800-square-foot gallery which is attached to their studios.
Recently, Sue has been creating a lot of specialty mugs, which she sells to local businesses.
"When someone tells me that they use my mug every day, I regard this as the highest praise," she said.
Sue creates functional handmade and wheel-thrown pottery, raku pottery, ceramic pendants, sculptures and silk paintings. She is trying new things all the time and would like to do more sculpture. She is currently working on melding colored clay with her
Sue has also worked as a visiting artist in every school in Clinton and Essex counties. One of the accomplishments she is proud of is the mosaic tile mural she worked on at the Clinton County Government Center in Plattsburgh.
Sue has won numerous awards and has displayed her work throughout New York state.
Sue and Terry have a successful business as a result of hard work and perseverance. They know they've compromised their notoriety by living in a rural area, but have chosen this for the quality of life as opposed to the quantity.
Sue was encouraged and mentored by local legend and Land of Makebelieve founder Arto Monaco and Wilmington artist Stevie Bowman Capozio. Much of her work draws influence from the Adirondacks and the Lake Champlain area.
Asked what advice she would give to an aspiring artist, she said, "Find something you love to do and create something there is a need for."
With her goal of owning her own pottery business a reality, Sue seems content with life in the AuSable Valley.
"It is fantastic to make a living at something you love to do," Sue said.
Visitors can see examples of the Youngs' work by visiting online at www.youngsgallery.com or in person at their gallery. Gallery hours are January to May, 10 a.m. to
5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday; and June to December, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.