Museum of Ceramics publishes children’s book | News, sports, jobs

Submitted photo Susan Weaver, left, and Catherine Keenan, center, present a copy of “Clay: Homer and Shakespeare Start a Pottery” to Fiesta Tableware Company President Liz McIlvain.

EAST LIVERPOOL — The Museum of Ceramics Foundation has published a children’s book written by Catherine Keenan. “Clay: Homer and Shakespeare Start a Pottery” is a repetitive poem with hand gestures. It tells the story of how clay is transformed into pottery with Laughlin Brothers Pottery as the setting. The book is illustrated with photographs of oil paintings from the museum’s collection. The paintings, by Roland Schweinsburg (1898 – 1963), were commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce to illustrate the work in ceramics. Schweinsburg was a Youngstown and area artist who also painted the TRAP mural “Old Bennett Pottery” in the Ceramics Museum, when it was a post office. The museum exhibits 18 of his paintings and has a further 12 drawings that were created as studies for the oil paintings.

The book is only available in the museum’s gift shop. Although the museum is closed during the winter months, the books can still be purchased by calling the museum and leaving a message. An employee will call you back and make arrangements, including collection or shipping. It is available in a soft or hard base and can be signed if desired.

A grant from the Ohio Humanities Council helped fund publication costs (Fulton Books) and will also provide free copies to all fourth graders who visit the museum as a class group this year. Teachers can schedule guided tours by calling the museum at 330-386-6001 and leaving a message or by emailing

Keenan wrote the poem as part of a graduate-level course she took a number of years ago. Museum Director Susan Weaver said, “When I became director of the MoC, Cathi came by and told me that she had written a children’s book with the Schweinsburg paintings. I was really interested and finally one day she brought in a rather battered copy for me to read. Despite its appearance, I was really impressed! I knew this was a real gem and a great way to educate kids and adults about making pottery, historical pottery and even art! I knew we had to publish it to share it with our community.” She added, “the illustrations in this book are truly beautiful and make it an appropriate purchase for all ages.”

Museum staff Wendy Adkins, Jennifer Barrett Weaver all contributed to the editing and design of the publication.

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