Potomac Clay Weekend: get out and explore your rivers!

PotomacClayPoster

The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers are waiting for you.  The C&O Canal and Appalachian Trail are in wildflower bloom.  Get out and explore!  By connecting with our own waterways, our watershed, we find a contentment and richness in or lives…it’s worth it.

***Potomac Clay Weekend Map***

Kirke Martin and M4 Studios, Bill Van Gilder Pottery, Lisa Kovatch Pottery, Pam and Ren Parziale and Sycamore Pottery, and Joy Bridy Pottery are all in their studios this weekend, looking forward to hearing about your adventures along the rivers and trails, and showing you their newest works.  See Pam’s traditional brushwork of birds, Lisa’s stylized carvings of nature’s vines and birds, Bill’s huts inspired by his time in Africa, Kirke’s wood fired aesthetics paired with spring’s branches, and Joy’s kinetic sculptures in action (workshop Sunday at noon).

And while you’re out and about, it’s also the second annual South Mountain Festival, the 7th annual Panhandle Earth Day Celebration at Morgans Grove Park, Stony Field Farm’s kickoff farm day, Harpers Ferry Bolivar Art Walk, and the Jefferson and Berkeley County House and Garden Tour, for starts.  Something for everyone on this gorgeous April weekend….see you out there!

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Profile: Joy Bridy Pottery

Artist potter by trade, community member at heart, Joy Bridy Pottery sits among the rocks and trees of a few small acres, keeping the connections between art and nature thriving and growing in her own studio and in the hearts of those around her.

Joy Bridy Pottery

Her passions are in the exploratory moments of making, whether in the repetitive variations of getting to know a form over time, or in the impromptu making explosion of taking clay to young people.  The wood fired kiln that she designed and built lends a complexity to the surface of her work that draws directly from nature, and allows the collaboration between fire and clay to be evident on the surface of the pots, for those looking closely.

Joy Bridy Pottery: bottle

On April 26, as part of Potomac Clay Weekend, Joy is offering a ‘kinetic sculpture’ workshop….bring your nature finds from your hikes and explorations, and use clay as the balance to make a mobile, either suspended from above, or balanced on a point.  ($25 per mobile, groups or solo, all ages welcome)

Just a few miles from both the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, she is an avid walker of the C&O Canal, partly because her pooch insists on regular visits, and partly because the repetition of walking the same piece of nature draws her attention to the details and subtle changes of the seasons.  Stop in to see Joy and (and Buddy the studio pooch) during Potomac Clay Weekend, April 25 & 26, and catch a glimpse into her blend of nature and function, making and being.

dutchmans britches

 

Profile: Lisa Kovatch Pottery

Nestled on a side street of Harpers Ferry WV, Lisa Kovatch is at the heart of the Potomac Region, literally blocks from the Potomac River, the Shenandoah River, the C & O Canal, and the Appalachian Trail.

Lisa Kovatch Pottery

Her studio, a nifty little structure heated by a little potbelly wood stove, is tucked next to her home on a sloped piece of heaven.  Through her work, it’s obvious that she spends time paying attention to her surroundings, and particularly picks up on the region’s birds.  The layers of moss on a tree or fence, colors and textures of the surrounding summer flowers, and the critters that visit…nature informs her work in both content and color.  She’s a creative gardener, committed to adding a Monarch garden sanctuary this year.

Lisa’s work is primarily functional earthenware, both thrown on the wheel and handbuilt with forms.  I can attest that her mugs are fabulous and made for use, as one of her owl mugs has been in regular rotation in my kitchen for years, and her platters come in handy…in use more often than at rest.

Lisa Kovatch bird plate

While she spends part of her time managing Westwind Potters in the historic downtown section of Harpers Ferry, most of her time and creativity are spent on her own pottery.  Stop in to her studio during the Potomac Clay Weekend, or contact her to visit during other times.  You won’t be sorry, and you just may find a bit of nature’s cheer to take home with you.

 

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