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