Friday, May 31, 2013

Bill Van Gilder Workshop!

I am very excited to head a just a few miles north this weeked to attend a workshop given by my instructor and friend, Bill Van Gilder. I have been taking classes with Bill for the last couple of years. I had to take a break this past year due to - well - life! But I am very pleased to be able to attend this weekend as Bill is closing the Frederick Pottery School in June.

But I get ahead of myself...

Let's go back a about 10 years ago...I had a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I dearly needed to find "something" to do outside of the house. I took a beginner pottery class with a friend who persuaded me to go. I  immediately found the challenge and the peaceful quiet studio an attraction. I was hooked for good!

I started taking classes at a larger local Clay Center - Clayworks Charlotte, and had the honor of learning from some GREAT young and talented artists. Amy Sanders, Julie Wiggins, Jen Mecca, Adreinne Dellinger, Greg Scott and Ron Philbeck.  I jostled back and forth between instructors each session as I had to work around sick children, and my husband's work and travel schedule.

Many times, my babysitting would not  pan out, or a sick child, or - life- would happen and I would have to miss class.  My frustration level was high, because I could not learn fast enough. I wanted to take it all in.

One afternoon, after laying the kids down for nap, I stumbled upon a pottery instruction show on DIY Network. The instructor was Bill Van Gilder and I about cried - I could actually learn right from my living room - kids, sickness, chores, and all!

I found Bill's instruction clear, concise, and super insighful.  I watched these shows religiously and was so thankful for the opportunity to learn in this forum from my home. Remember, this was before YouTube, Facebook, Etc. - Bill and DIY really pioneered this whole pottery video concept.

Each week, I looked for this show and watched and learned- babies in tow.  I imagined his studio up in the "North East, perhaps Vermont - somewhere in New England.  I dreamed of having a studio like his one day and how woderful it would be to be a full time potter.

Well, fast forward about 8 years. My family had moved to Northern Virginia. I had moved my pottery studio from Charlotte to Leesburg, VA and I was working on settling into the community.  I was actually teaching by this point and selling my work in a few small shops and galleries.

I heard of a new gallery opening in Leesburg - The Cooley Gallery. I dropped in one evening right before the grand opening and this cool kid (Chris) said hello and told me about his gallery. He said, by the way, Bill here is one of our artists - meet Bill Van Gilder.

I about had a heart attack...I was staring at my "virtual" mentor live and in person. After I collected myself (embarrassingly not very quickly)  I found out his studio was a short distance away up in Gapland, Maryland and that there was a few rare openings in his class in Frederick by chance.

So for the last few years, I have travelled up to Maryland once a week to learn in person from the instructor I followed so closely on DIY Network. I have learned a lot from Bill, about pottery, about business, about life in general. I have met a super group of friends from his class and it has been a wonderful experience.

I am taking his workshop this weekend, excited to catch up with the latest work Bill is creating, and to be reminded of his amazing wealth of knowledge, but more importantly his willingness to share it with the world -whether on TV or live and in person!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WHOOOT! Did anyone hear the cry of joy coming from Leesburg? It was me - I admit! I have been experimenting with this Growler and truly had no idea how to approach the topper. These two bad boys were my first experiments. I pulled them out of the kiln today and one worked and the other did not. The great news is now I have it figured out for upcoming  pieces.  I know this sounds so silly, but it is exactly why I am having so much fun in the studio these days...experimenting, playing, HAVING FUN! I will have these guys and few others at the 2013 Western Loudoun Studio Tour!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Is it the end of May already? Wow where has the time gone...well I know I have been busy in the studio getting ready for the Western Loudoun Artist Studio Tour. It is a few weeks away  on June 22 & 23rd. I never feel ready, but I have a lot of new work to show off this year. I have been hunkered down, working on several new techniques and really pushing myself with glazing. I have had some really nice results (and a few oops) but it has been a year of exploration and I am super happy and excited about the direction my work is going.  I am going to make this short and sweet - I have to get back to the studio - but I hope to see you in June. I am thrilled to be the guest artist of Jill Evans-Kavaldjian at her amazing studio Art at Garden Corner. Come up to see us!