When Aggie Shah opened A Maze in Pottery in Briarcliff Manor in 2010, she envisioned it being more than a standard pottery studio and store: She wanted it to be a place that brought the community together. But in recent years, she’s expanded her vision and created a space that contributes to a cause really close to her heart–helping children.
“There’s so much depression and anxiety in our world and especially with our kids,” Shah said. “A few years ago, I got married, and it opened up the possibility of me being not so dependent on my income…My husband and I, we’re both passionate about children and education.”
Now with the door open to commit more of her resources to accomplish the goal of helping those who need it most, Shah set forth on several projects and found partnerships with like-minded organizations. One is Westchester Arc, which brings groups of children with developmental disabilities, as well as adults with similar challenges, and allows them to make and paint pottery at discounted rates. Another is the farm-based education program at Something Good in the World, which comes to the studio with kids from a safe house to make things such as bowls for the kids to take back to the farm and use for soup made from plants grown there. For the Jewish Board’s Sally & Anthony Mann Center, a facility that houses sex trafficked youths and those from abusive backgrounds who aren’t ready to go to a foster family, A Maze in Pottery visits with mobile potteries for the children to paint crafts.
The holiday season provides a particularly unique opportunity for locals of the region to aid A Maze in Pottery in their goal of embettering the lives of challenged children. Shah’s store sells boxes with pottery in fun shapes like dinosaurs and cars. Included inside the boxes are brushes and three colors of paint. Parents can bring their children into the store and buy a box, which is then donated to a child with an illness at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. The child choosing the box picks the colors of paint for the sick child to use and even writes a short holiday greeting for them on a card. A Maze in Pottery matches half the price of the box in this creative act of charity. (Outside of her work at the art studio, Shah devotes some of her free time to teaching at Blythedale Children’s Hospital.)
Corporate groups are welcome to use A Maze in Pottery’s space for events to build team camaraderie or establishing personal relationships with clients. There are also various classes open throughout the month for anyone interested in making pottery, including a Friday Happy Hour, where you can come with your own wine and meet up with friends for some craftwork. But for people who’d like to bring a smile to the face of sick child this holiday–and possibly teaching their own children the importance of caring for those less fortunate than them–the boxes for Maria Fareri are currently on sale.
“This is how we give back and make it more accessible for the community,” Shah said, “so it’s easier to be involved.”