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Saratoga County potters help build homes

A group of local artists are hoping their work with clay will help build homes for families in need.

Members of the Albany-Saratoga Pottery Trail opened their studios Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4 and 5, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. They donated 25 percent of all proceeds to local Habitat for Humanity organizations.

Pottery trail members are Ballston Pottery in the Town of Ballston, Saratoga Clayworks in Saratoga Springs, Victoria Crowell Studio in Troy, Two Spruce Pottery in Schenectady, and Blue Mountain Clay in Greenwich.

Ballston Pottery owner James Sankowski said one of the incentives of the benefit is that funds will be used for Habitat homes being built in the Schenectady, Glens Falls and Rensselaer areas.

There's been a concern with Hurricane Katrina and the devastation in Louisiana that much of the organization's money has been siphoned off, said Sankowski. "We want to see more funds available for the Capital Region area."

Each studio also had a donation box for people who didn't wish to make a purchase, but wanted to support Habitat anyway.

"We're calling this 'homemade pots to help homemade homes,'" said Sankowski. "Our artwork comes from our hands, and this is meant to be support for people building the homes and living in them."

Jeff Clark, executive director of the Schenectady Habitat for Humanity chapter, said he is hoping to have more local businesses participate in fundraising efforts.

"We appreciate all their help in getting the word out," said Clark. "There is a great need in the local area. We have a waiting list for families lined up into next year."

Clark said he also wants people to know they can support Habitat without any carpentry skills.

"A lot of people think the only way to be involved is to build, but there are many ways," said Clark. "You can help without ever lifting a hammer, and it will make all the difference in the world."

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