Profile: Kirke Martin & M4 Studios

Swirling with kiddos running in blurrs, stopping just long enough to flash their raccoon tail pinned on their jacket, a stop at Kirke Martin’s M4 Studios and home is a feast for the senses. As a dad of three young boys, Kirke has kept his hands in clay, but has also kept his family outside, in the rivers and on the trails.

kirke martin and family

Nestled in the hills of Keedysville MD, Kirke fires two wood kilns, works on the wheel and handbuilds, and dapples in a bit of local clay usage.  His pots have subtle surfaces, whispering about the ash and flame, mimicking the woodlands and rivers, giving you a moment to rest your eyes before continuing on in your day.

M4 Studios

Kirke teaches handbuilding on Sundays at The Art League, in Alexandria VA (class listings here), and at the Frederick Clay Studio‘s tuesday night wheel class.

As a nod to his heritage and training, Kirke is part of the Apprenticelines exhibit in Providence RI this month, as part of NCECA, the National Conference for Education in Ceramic Arts.

As a founding member of Potomac Clay Weekend, Kirke represents a lively blend of a life focused in clay, and active in nature.  Kayaking, skiing, biking, running, hiking….he does it all, and with his family.  Not shy to steep Appalachian Trail hikes, or kayaking with 5, Kirke can answer your questions about ‘getting out there’ with your family, or good spots for short legs and arms to learn the ropes.

And when you come in off of the river, take a short detour to M4 Studios….you just may find a cup or plate that reflects the water’s surface today, or the chance to sign up for one of his classes to learn more.

Martins

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Children’s Clay Classes: Shepherdstown WV

Springtime is here, and for families, that means scheduling ‘summer camp’ experiences, at least one in art, for pending summer fun.  While I receive inquiries each spring, no youth summer camp happens here (so far…).  But lo-and-behold, look what showed up in the Shenandoah Potter’s Guild news feed today:

Summer Camps for Kiddos at Mud Peddler, located in Shepherdstown WV!

Denise hosts morning week-long summer camps, one day weekend workshops, and even a bit in jewelry and other mediums.  Take a peek, and give her a try….

mud peddler honey bees

 

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

Good Shepherd Caregivers’ Empty Bowls: Friday, March 13

The 15th annual Potters Bowl held at Shepherdstown Fire Hall (Barron Hall) is this Friday, March 13. Doors open at 5:30.

Sycmore Pottery bowls
Pam Parziale, of Sycamore Pottery, long time empty bowl maker and local beloved potter says: “We just delivered a potter’s dozen to Good Shepherd Caregivers for their Empty Bowls dinner. We made soup bowls designed to make you happy to donate $30; you take a bowl home after a delicious meal of soup and bread. All proceeds benefit community members that need Good Shepherd Caregivers free service to remain independent and healthy!!  Thanks in advance for helping!  Quiz: What’s a potter’s dozen?”

For tickets, call (304)876-3325.

For the answer to Pam ‘s question about what is a potter’s dozen, visit Sycamore Pottery on facebook…

#potsinaction hashtag for, well, Pots in Action

#potsinaction ...started by Ayumi Horie

#potsinaction …started by Ayumi Horie

Do you post images on facebook or instagram?  If your images include handmade functional ceramics in use, add the hashtag #potsinaction to be part of a movement to bring the natural usability of functional ceramics into the spotlight.  What is perfectly normal to those of use who use/make/love handmade pots can be a new idea to others…let’s share the love!

And thanks to Ayumi Horie for starting what may or may not be a ‘wave’ of action shots of our personal lives, our handmade pots, the reason we make what we make.

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.

For Sale: pretty much everything you need…

For Sale or Free!

If you’re in the market for pottery supplies, there are many to be had in our area.  Sycamore Pottery is cleaning out their storage shed, Deb Dickinson is making some space in her studio, and Paula Bailey wants to make space in her outdoor kiln shed.   Keep reading….

 

Sycamore Pottery, Pam and Ren Parziale:     304-725-4251

The list is long, so open this word doc with the whole shebang….posts, bricks, shelves, dry chemicals, pyrometer, it’s all there.   Sycamore Pottery Supplies for sale

Debbie Dickinson:     meranddeb@frontiernet.net

Re-homing her raku electric kiln, well used, but still works.  It’s an odd shape, 29″ wide and 18″ tall.  (Didn’t use shelves to raku). Made by AIM. To cone 10.  For free.

Paula Bailey:    Swirladelic@gmail.com

Small gas kiln, needs some work, crack on back wall and needs floor.  Free.

Free to a good home, needs work...

Free to a good home, needs work…