‘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: 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.