Rambling: Connecting Community

Community:  the people around us.  As a maker, an artist, my community includes those who make, and those who understand the connection and value in handmade functional things.  We make them, use them, appreciate them, and go out of our way to explore this human-ness that urges us to turn one thing into another, over and over again, a lump of earth into a cup, a tree limb into utensils, a thought into a well-crafted story.  Honing these skills in community brings richness to our lives, if we are open to it.

Potomac Leaves in Circle

Community: the place where we exist.  The place on this planet where our lives have set roots, the land from where we make and walk and cook and talk and dream, the Potomac Watershed. State lines are arbitrary; this watershed is real, rich with the tangible. We can know our place by the bend in the river, the sycamore with bear claw marks, the cave in the jagged limestone bluff.   Water ties us together, from fields and crops to fracking and coal slurry leaks.  The C&O Canal, running from Ohio to the District of Columbia, becomes the Highway along our Waterway, the Potomac River.

Connection:  Makers blend ‘Community the Place’ and ‘Community the People’.  What and how we make is deeply connected to where we make.  We understand that cups made from the earth we walk on tie us closer to this earth we walk on.  Chairs made from the trees around us bond us to these trees.  The depth of living is unlimited when we continue to connect, deeper and deeper, with the world around us, both by paying attention to the natural world, and by bringing that natural attention into our lives. Cultivating this sense of place is the deepest art of living. As a local maker, I wander these fields and waterways for inspiration and connection.  When we appreciate and use the work of our local makers, we are brought closer, day after day, to our place, our watershed, to the Potomac’s quiet meander and rock-rumbling rapids, the wood thrush calling, the sycamore’s twisted limbs.

Potomac Clay Weekend is one small weekend celebrating these connections.  Go outside.  Hike the Appalachian Trail.  Walk/bike/kayak the Potomac River and C&O Canal.  Hear the river’s voice change mile by mile.  Listen for the thrush.  Stop for a moment to take a close look at the Virginia Bluebells.  Go out of your way to visit a local maker.  Touch the clay.  Talk with and get to know your community.  Seek out local.

There is a difference. You’ll see it in the pots we make. The river and the trails will become familiar to you.  This beautiful, wild and wonderful time and place is yours.  Embrace it.

Potomac Rock Balance

Second Annual Potomac Clay Weekend: April 25 & 26, 2015


Order Supplies through Frederick Potter’s Guild: this week

Want to order clay, supplies, tools, anything from Clayworks Supplies in Baltimore, but don’t want to drive that far to pick it up?  You’re in luck!  The Potter’s Guild of Frederick is placing a bulk order this week, and you can be part of it.

Go to Clayworks Supplies and make a list of what you would like, and what it will cost.  Forward that list to Esther Murphy:     esther_murphy@comcast.net

Orders will be placed after the PGoF meeting this monday 3/2/15, so act fast!  Pick-up will be at a guild member’s house in Frederick, TBA, about one week later.

How it works:  PGoF is a non-profit, so no tax is charged on the order.  The delivery fee of $60 is divided between everyone who orders, so your charge will be a little more than what you order (but much less than driving to Baltimore).  Any bulk discounts are returned to PGoF to fund future guild events.

Potter's Guild of Frederick

And if you haven’t checked out the Potter’s Guild of Frederick, they have a gallery storefront in downtown Frederick, an active guild, and have meetings with activities monthly. Their annual Brain Freeze each August is an Empty Bowls Meets Ice Cream fundraiser for the Frederick Rescue Mission, and a great opportunity to be part of the larger ceramics community.  Next meeting: Monday (3/2/15) at Common Market in Frederick.

Hagerstown Community Free Clinic: Soup Bowl this Sunday

This sunday, February 22, the 24th Annual Soup Bowl takes place at the Hagerstown Elks Club, with all proceeds benefiting the Community Free Clinic.  Tickets are $50, dinner starts at 5pm, and lines usually form early to get the best bowls.  (smile) How about that!

Bowls by many local potters will be available to choose from, including these by Julia Wright Truby.

Bowls by many local potters will be available to choose from, including these by Julia Wright Truby.

This is my first year participating in this Soup Bowl, but I can definitely get behind a free clinic, and a long-standing 24 year tradition of handmade pottery, good soup and camaraderie.  I sent along a box of bowls, and hope to see you waiting in line…

Call 301-733-5039 or 301-733-9234 to reserve your ticket.

Here’s a Herald-Mail article with more info and the story of Julia Wright Truby, the potter who made the bowls in the image above.

Potter’s Tea: Thursday, February 19

Come join us for a Winter Potter’s Tea (any clay enthusiasts welcome)

Thursday, February 19, 6-7:30pm

at Craftworks

Inaugural Sawdust Firing at Craftworks

Inaugural Sawdust Firing at Craftworks

An annual tradition, we’ll be meeting over snacks and warm beverages to talk and catch up, share news of what’s happening in clay in our region (lots!), and make some plans for warmer weather.  Would you like to join in a sawdust firing?  Help another ceramist out at their wood firing?  Dig local clay? Help plan a workshop?f  Just meet other clay enthusiasts?

Join us!  We look forward to seeing you soon…

Face Mug Workshop: Berkeley Springs Ice House


Face Mugs made during an Ice House workshop with Crawford Horne

Face Mugs made during an Ice House workshop with Crawford Horne

Spice up Valentine’s Day with a Face Mug workshop at Berkeley Springs’ beloved Ice House Gallery.  Crawford Horne, Berkeley Springs potter, will bring pre-made mugs (or you can hand build your own), and lead you through the technical aspects of sculpting a face.  Wine and snacks are provided, or you can bring your own.  Your mug will then be bisque fired, glazed, and fired again, before returning to you….ready for your morning coffee!

Corks and Creations: Face Mug Workshop

Saturday, February 14, 4-6:30 pm at the Berkeley Springs Ice House

$35 for MAC members, $40 for non-members

call 304.258.2300 to register

As Thistle Glen Pottery, Crawford makes functional pottery influenced by his heritage and travels. His work is fired in his unique bourry box wood kiln, as well as a small gas kiln, and can be seen during the Berkeley Springs Studio Tour weekends, at the Ice House Gallery, and soon as part of the Berkeley Springs Farmers Market, where he shares a booth with his wife, Leigh, and her lovely home-grown produce.  (visit Thistle Glen Pottery on Facebook)


WV Potter’s Gathering: 35th year

Who knew?  As an annual gathering of clay folks, this gathering seems to be one well kept secret!  On a whim, I contacted Gary Shaffer (WV potter), and he was kind enough to send images of the flyer my way via facebook, and answer my questions about what to expect during the three day event.  Amazingly, there is absolutely no online presence for this gathering, and it is basically a word-of-mouth event, so consider yourself invited by this now-in-the-loop WV potter!

35th Annual West Virginia Potter’s Gathering

February 13-15, 2015

Cedar Lakes Craft Center, Ripley WV

Presenter: Antoinette Badenhorst

Antoinette Badenhorst presents for the 35th Annual West Virginia Potter's Gathering

Antoinette Badenhorst presents for the 35th Annual West Virginia Potter’s Gathering

While Gary has assured me that the gathering is a laid-back opportunity to network with other clay artists, the event starts with a Friday Night Potluck. Bring a dish to share, meet some folks, and enjoy a presentation by Antoinette about her work/life/inspirations.  Saturday is usually a day of demonstrations, discussion circles, a room to show and sell pots and supplies, and plenty of conversation, ending with a party for all.  Capitol Clay in Charleston brings supplies and tools for anyone interested, and you can special order from them online in advance for delivery at the gathering.

Sunday is more presentations and conversations, and folks can wander off after lunch, or stay for the afternoon, depending.  (Thanks again, Gary, for the info!)

Fees for the weekend can be as low as $52 for a ‘student commuter’ or as much as $324 for tuition/room/board.  Food is cafeteria, and there are options of just tuition, tuition/room, or tuition/room/board.  There are refrigerators and stoves in most buildings, and some folks bring their own food to cook together.

Gloria is the person to contact for registration and more info: Gloria-greg (at) Hotmail (dot) com or 304.372.7860

Looking forward to seeing you there!