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!
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.
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.
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.
Bill van Gilder Pottery makes his pots in an old restored barn right along the Appalachian Trail, at Gathland State Park, atop South Mountain. His barn and historic gatehouse home set the aesthetic tone for his work and life.
Deeply involved in the South Mountain creative community, Bill’s gallery and studio are open every weekend, and weekdays by appointment. You can get a taste for local flavors by parking at the Gathland parking lot, hiking north or south on the AT, stopping in for a taste of a potter’s life, then driving down the road a bit to the Distillery Lane Ciderworks, Caprikorn Farms, or any of the other local delectables nearby. This year, Potomac Clay Weekend falls on the same weekend as South Mountain Spring Festival, so there is double to do up on the mountain.
Giving workshops and demonstrations from near to far, local to international, making his own line of tools…Bill takes the potter’s life to heart. You can tell that he’s been potting since he was 15 years old, but ask him about his travels, and you’ll be charmed for sure. His pots are truly functional, meant for use every day in your kitchen and home. His teaching skills are all about making excellent functional pottery. With upcoming workshops in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, grab an opportunity to learn from the real deal, where you can see his ease with the clay, learn a new move or two, and get out hiking somewhere new and exciting.
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….
Come join us for a Winter Potter’s Tea (any clay enthusiasts welcome)
Thursday, February 19, 6-7:30pm
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…