Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Early Spring, Early Spring Workshop!

As spring is wont to do, it changes.  When I first started writing this post, just after our first workshop, it was still warm and sunny.  Today, it's at least sunny again, but the chill is still with us as a final reminder that spring is COMING.  I love the changes of the seasons!


So I had a delightful call about a week ago from some visitors to the area who wanted to have a little play in the clay, so with the support of Matt Clark at Bittersweet Studio (where I have been fortunate to work during the unfrozen months since I closed the teaching studio), I was able to put together a one-day workshop for Jayne & Jerry.  They've been in Asheville since the first of March, escaping the end of winter blues of their native Minnesota.  Lucky them, by the time they get back, they'll get a second spring!

Bittersweet Studio
getting things opened and aired after a short winter's nap

Bittersweet Studio is located on the grounds of Bittersweet Cottage - a true find of a guest house (cozy cottage or comfy suite, both with killer views!) on Elk Mtn Scenic Highway.  Matt is also a member of Crazy Green Studios, and his growing skills with clay can be seen throughout the property.  He runs the biz with his partner Stephen, who, by the way, is a genius for helping us figure out how to re-adjust the foot pedal on the wheel (and thanks too to JJ for phone support!) so the workshop could actually take place!

Matt Clark, Bittersweet's resident potter & InnKeeper
Jayne wanted to try the wheel, and she went right to it with a great attitude and good sense of humor.  She got a good feel for it, spending an hour or so centering before she started making forms.  Jerry really just wanted to 'muck about' with some hand building, but he was very kind to let me go on with several technique demonstrations before he settled in at a table in the sun to make some very cool creations.

Jayne, making her first go at a cup

Jayne with one of her last pieces of the day - very nice!
Dedicated students that they were, Jayne and Jerry took only a short break to walk up the hill a bit and enjoy some of the scenic views while I fetched us some coffees.  Over the afternoon, Jayne worked on several cups and bowls, getting better with each one, while Jerry and I drifted in and out of a conversation about fractional reserve banking (actually, he was doing most of the talking, and I learned a lot!).
Jerry, soaking up the rays and playing with clay
decorating with underglazes
on the right, a spoon rest Jerry made that I loved so much,
I asked him to make me one (on the left)


Later in the afternoon, some pieces were decorated with underglazes, while others will get a single glaze in a later firing before I ship them home to Minnesota.



We ended the day on the deck of the Suite, gazing out at the mountain views, nibbling on snacks and enjoying a lovely glass of wine with Matt before Jerry and Jayne found their way back down the mountain.

well deserved rest and refreshment after a good day's work!
It was such a delightful day, and the perfect way to re-open Bittersweet Studio for the season!  I had so much fun working with Jayne and Jerry, and the weather played right along with us creating an absolute perfect setting.


In addition to the ongoing work that Matt does there, I may be up to use my kick wheel over the season, and we'll be brewing up creative get-away opportunities for guests of the Cottage or Suite.  Anyone looking for gorgeous and comfortable accommodations just minutes from downtown yet with the seclusion of being on the side of a mountain AND use of a private studio with instruction - this is your place!

3 comments:

Dennis Allen said...

Looks like they had a great time.

K. Crane: Big Fat Art Cloth said...

that looks like an absolutely divine day. wish I was there too.

CGS said...

It was a great day!
K - this is a perfect place for you Dr. Q to come have a little hide-away vacay. And you can come play in the studio too!