‘Joy Bridy Pottery: Play’ opening friday

While there is a deep pleasure in bringing clay to young people every week, watching and helping them make their ideas into reality before their very eyes, there is also a deep challenge in honoring that play, and bringing the spirit of play back into the studio.  For 6 years, Joy Bridy has taught clay at Shepherdstown Day Care, and shows the influence of play on her studio work in ‘Play’ at the Fire Hall Gallery, Charles Town WV.

Opening Reception: Friday, May 8, 6-8pm

Fire Hall Gallery, 108 S.Samuel Street, Charles Town WV

jade basket

“Each Thursday morning, I take clay to children 3-5 years old, and with a quick pace and open mind, watch them make their ever-changing ideas happen. From bathtubs for dogs to fantastical characters on playgrounds, each child discovers their own unique interests and abilities, building skills and confidence through process and experimentation. When I come back to my studio, there is residual energy left from their big creative minds. I try to capture that spirit in my own way, remembering that play is the work of the child, and sometimes of the artist.”

Start your weekend right by stopping by for some new clay works, snacks by Carol Sanders and Real Good Food, a little wine/beer/punch, and conversation with friends and neighbors.

clay and wood

As a sneak-peak, one of the treats of this exhibit is a collaboration between Joy and Vanessa Morris (Blue Ridge Salvage and Over the Mountain Studio Tour), who made the pedestals for the exhibit out of salvaged lumber.  These stands make the exhibit shine, and are truly complementary to the work and spirit of ‘Play.’

The exhibit is up through May, and gallery hours are 10-5 daily.

See you soon!


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.


Strictly Functional Pottery National: call for work

Strictly Functional Pottery National, for those of you who don’t recognize the name, is one of our region’s loveliest juried exhibitions of functional ceramics.  Hosted in Lancaster, PA, it is always a treat to see.  Jurors are top notch, the entry fee isn’t too steep, and there are prizes.


Here’s the important info to know for SFPN:

Application deadline: June 1, 2015

Online application at www.strictlyfunctionalpottery.net

Juror:  Matt Long

Opening Reception: September 25, with talk and slide show by Matt, located at Kevin Lehman’s Pottery

Workshop with Matt Long: September 26, 9a – 4p, at Kevin Lehman’s Pottery, $50

June 1 may seem a long ways away from these snowy days, but now is the perfect time to start thinking about what you’d like to enter, and get the camera out.  For clay artists, photography is a second art form, necessary evil, another chance to develop your artistic eye, or you may have your own special curse for the task.  (smile)  Take time to look at lots of other people’s images, and when you see images that you like, call up the maker, or send them an email, asking how they did it.  We’re a surprisingly friendly bunch…

Lorton Workhouse Cup Exhibit: Drink This!

“The seemingly endless stream of creative endeavor from ceramic artists never ceases to amaze me,” says Phil Rogers, juror for the Lorton Workhouse International Cup Show ‘Drink This!’  Many regional makers are included in this exhibit, including Allison Coles Severance:

Allison Coles Severance mug, part of Drink This! at the Workhouse.

Allison Coles Severance mug, part of Drink This! at the Workhouse.

The exhibit runs January 10 (opening) through February 2.

While the Workhouse opened as an Arts Center in approximately 2008, its’ past use as an open-air prison for vagrants and derelicts is quite rich.  Situated along the Occoquan River in Lorton, The Workhouse Prison opened in 1910 in the format of an ‘industrial farm’ where prisoners built their housing and food system from scratch. Women were also housed in the Workhouse, including suffragists protesting in DC.  The Workhouse Museum is worth a visit while you’re there.