179 Main Street, Northampton, MA
Pinch is a beautiful and fun artisan gallery that was founded as Pinch Pottery in 1979 in Northampton, Massachusetts. The three founding potters—Leslie Ferrin, Mara Superior, and Barbara Walch, all of whom continue to work as potters today—were recent graduates from the University of Massachusetts seeking a place where they could make pottery, teach classes, and showcase the work they and others created. Pinch Pottery first opened its doors in the basement of Thorne’s Marketplace.
The gallery moved to its current location at 179 Main Street in 1987. As it was no longer a place where pots were made—i.e., a pottery—the name was shortened to Pinch.
In 2006, I purchased Pinch from its then-owners, Leslie Ferrin and Donald Clark. After many years as a retail buyer for a larger store, I was excited to work with local artists, and bring my business sense, buying experience, and “good eye” to the shop.
Pinch proudly continues to be a great place to find handmade ceramics! We also carry wall art, women's clothing and accessories (handbags, scarves, watches, etc.), jewelry, and home goods. We represent dozens of local artists and many more from across the United States.
I buy things that I think are cool or interesting or odd or beautiful. I’m attracted to fresh ideas, unexpected color combinations, strange things, subtle and lovely objects. Choosing from the various styles and mediums I encounter in the world, I carefully curate a mix of goods that are displayed in cohesive vignettes throughout the shop. A former co-worker and now one of my best friends, Joyce Rosenfeld, says that the attention given and respect paid to the artists we carry is part of what makes Pinch such a wonderful place.
I’m proud of our loyalty to the artisans featured at Pinch. Some, like Michael Cohen and Donna McGee, have had work in the shop since the beginning. I'm also committed to finding and showcasing new talent. One of the first artists I brought into Pinch after purchasing it in 2006—Diane Hanna from Cape Cod—wrote me a thank you note for helping support her small business and therefore her ability to do what she loves for a living. Diane's note brought home for me that not only am I doing something I love for work, but I’m also helping others make a living doing what they love. I continue to be thrilled to stand behind the artists we carry at Pinch and support their need/right to pay themselves a living wage.
I attend a lot of trade shows and craft fairs, visit other shops, and travel frequently, so I am always on the lookout for cool new things. In order to keep the shop fresh and exciting, each season we bring in new potters, jewelers, and artisans—ones that my staff and I appreciate and think our clients will be drawn to. I make my home in Austin most of the time these days, which constantly inspires me with its trendy, entrepreneurial arts scene, and I've really enjoyed bringing artists from Texas and the Southwest to Pinch.
In addition to its continued importance in the Pioneer Valley community as a place to find well-made, well-priced, interesting and beautiful artisan goods, and as a place for local artists to show, I’m proud of Pinch’s commitment to its staff. One of the reasons I wanted to have my own business was so I could hire people I like—kind people, nice people—and create a pleasant work environment. It’s very important to me that my co-workers are happy. Pinch pays above average rates for retail, and offers a retirement savings plan and paid vacation. It’s a very positive, supportive, and inclusive work environment. Many of the people I've hired remain my really good friends. I can spend time with former co-workers that I haven’t seen for years and it’s like no time has passed. There’s a lot of love and respect at Pinch.
It’s my hope that the love and respect we feel for each other and for the artists we work with comes across when people visit the shop.