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Desert Inspired Artisans Jeannine and Randy Summers - Crafting Creativity in the Lahontan Valley

Desert Inspired Artisans Jeannine and Randy Summers - Crafting  Creativity in the Lahontan Valley
Randy and Jeannine Summers. Photo by Sheri Samson.

One creative mind can transform our world into wonderment, yet the pottery skills of one local married couple share a creative love for the arts as an ‘Artistic Duo.’ Randy and Jeannine Summers are a dedicated example of Albert Einstein's words: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” 

Centered in New Mexico, within the panoramic views of many inspirational mountain ranges, Randy and Jeannine became keenly aware of their love for the arts during their high school years in Albuquerque. Graduating in a high school class of 500 students, their paths surprisingly didn’t cross until they worked together several years later while employed at a large silver and turquoise jewelry factory. 

Jeannine shared that Randy was a design specialist while she was working in sales as a paper-pusher. Surprised that they’d graduated together, it didn’t take long to realize their interests were aligned, keeping them married for nearly 45 years.

As life unfolded, Randy continued forging his professional art career by working full-time as a graphic art designer for publications and product lines. Together, they were creating adventures in the local art communities where they resided. These combined endeavors moved them from the region of Albuquerque to El Paseo, Los Alamos to Las Cruces, and even to the landmark village of Chimayo for a six-year stay.

Custom pottery has been their passion for many years. Now branded as Ragtown Pottery in Fallon, their skilled techniques and many cultural influences from New Mexico remain their major artistic trademark. Thankfully, they aligned with many close-knit art communities in the past, successfully sharing their creative efforts while learning more. 

When Jeannine had a foot injury while living in the tourist city of Chimayo, she hated the generic canes available, so she created a variety of original, custom-designed Aspen-wood walking sticks. With her newly found creative outlet, it wasn’t long before those walking sticks became a successful concentration within their workshop. Due to the popular demand for her walking sticks, the Summers turned their efforts into a newly focused teamwork. Soon, they were sanding, finishing, wood burning, and adding stones or embellishments to each individual walking stick that was sold at festivals and art previews.

Transplanting themselves to Fallon three years ago was admittedly an adjustment, yet being with immediate family filled their lives with contentment. Now enjoying their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, plus the wide-open spaces of living on acreage, it’s given them the ability to explore even more.

When you meet the Summers at their Ragtown Pottery events, you’ll find a variety of artistic choices due to their practical approach to pottery. Their customized stoneware, or the many original portrayals of wildlife, highlights their individual skills, giving a promise of professionalism in their product line. Their humorous plaques, dragon ornaments, fantasy figures, unique masks, practical pots, and more will amuse any potential buyer as they are molded and fired by the two, using distinct techniques. 

Explaining some unusual pottery finishes, one of them will explain the Raku-fired glazes they use or the dedicated process of Saggar, resulting in a rugged, stained appearance. They are happy to point out “his designs versus her designs” as both are original to their own distinct choices, with an eye for design.

Their creative name of “Ragtown Pottery” was derived from the welcoming banks along the Carson River, off the California Emigrant Trail, where pioneers spread their washed, ragged laundry over the shoreline bushes in the mid-1800s. It would be a vital stop for water after an exhausting forty-mile desert trip, where the travelers could renew themselves and refresh their animals.

Thus, their handiwork of pottery is available to create smiles and land within your home or business environment while providing a refreshing gift idea. The mission of Randy and Jeannine is to enjoy their work by creating stand-out pieces that will last forever and be treasured by those receiving them.

Ragtown Pottery can be contacted by emailing [email protected].


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