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From ceramic pots to snapping turtles.

Glen MacInnis of Auburn is swimming in ceramic turtles. It all began about 10 years ago when he spied a snapping turtle on the banks of the Merrimack River and ran to get his sketchbook.

The first couple years he made just a few - taking the time to give them a certain "turtle-ness," as he says, without excessive detail. Now his days are filled making the creatures that have become his signature piece. He says, "It's like breeding a litter of puppies - you don't know exactly what you will get and no two are ever alike."

As a potter for many years, MacInnis builds the creature starting on the wheel as he would a vase or tea pot. Appendages are added and details, including eye lids, are sculpted before the clay dries.

By layering seven to 10 glazes, a depth of color is built up giving the surface a shimmer of the sea. Incised details add to the design elements, making a beautiful ceramic piece. That it looks like an endearing reptile swimming underwater or through the wall (he also makes just the tail end for the other side of the wall) is just an added dividend.

Other turtle designs include box turtles and turtle boxes with lids. The potter has also experimented with seahorses and octopuses, both bringing a new set of design and structural challenges.

MacInnis will be at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen's Fair in Sunapee this August 6 to 14, but arrive early - he sells out in the first day or two and then takes orders that keep him busy the rest of the year.

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