The Creative Economy in Warren County: Meet Dolores Thomson
Dolores Thomson is a ceramic artist who has been teaching pottery classes out of her studio, Clay Concepts, at The Shirt Factory in Glens Falls since 2004.
Originally from Brooklyn, Dolores moved upstate after her husband, Alex, was stationed in the area for two years while serving in the military. Upon completion of his service, the newlyweds decided they loved the area too much to leave and that it would be a great place to raise their five children.
Dolores was one of the Shirt Factory’s first artist tenants, and was part of a core group that determined its identity as an arts center today. The building was built in 1911 and is a former garment factory, and now houses nearly a hundred artists’ studios, shops and galleries, as well as events such as the summertime Food Truck Corral on Thursday nights, which continued through the pandemic last year.
Dolores co-managed The Shirt Factory for several years, has hung and organized art shows in the Shirt Factory Gallery, and served as a leader in the Shirt Factory’s Tenants’ Association, organizing and publicizing the annual Open Houses for a number of years. She is currently on the board of NorthCountryARTS and is the Chair of their Marketing Committee.
As of the time of this posting, her classes are taking place in her studio, limited to four participants to allow for social distancing, and oral and visual instruction only, without hands-on help. Classes include throwing on the wheel in group sessions, private lessons and occasionally she holds hand-building workshops, especially around the holiday season so her students can make gifts. More information about the current classes offered can be found on her website, clayconceptspottery.com.
Recently, we asked Dolores some questions about Warren County and why she and Alex love it here.
What do you find unique about our area?
There’s a safe and welcoming hometown feel and a sense of community to the area. There’s always something happening culturally, and being in the foothills of the Adirondacks you can enjoy the ‘country life’ and outdoor activities as well. It’s uniquely positioned between New York City, Boston, and Montreal so you have access to a tremendous amount of activities, and with the Hyde Collection, The Chapman Museum, Charles R. Wood Theater, and other venues there is so much just minutes away.
Why did you decide to start a business here?
There is a vibrant artists community here, and quite a few organizations to help promote them. Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council (LARAC) and North Country Arts are just two of the groups that help support the arts. There is definitely a creative spirit and blossoming art community here.
Why should people relocate to Warren County?
There is a quality of life here, without the rush and frenzy you would get in a large city. Being able to drive or even walk a short distance and enjoy a hike or spend time at the lake brings a certain peace, an enjoyment of nature.
Anything else you would like to share or mention?
It is a very affordable area and has a vibrancy and support for the arts about it. I don’t think I could have started my studio and had the success I have had without that.