Last night, I started thinking about my current studio, and all the places where I’ve made my ceramics over the past 15+ years.  Some I wish I had photos of, some it’s probably best that I don’t, but all hold special places in my heart,  Let’s go in a chronological order, shall we?  

1992-1993 – The tiny community arts center of southwest Roanoke County.  An old school from the 50’s, the building was a strange fan shape of classrooms.  I began here with terracotta clay and a choice of either translucent grape or opaque turquoise glaze- both of which look just smashing with terracotta!!! <gag> 

1994-1997 – The new & improved continuing ed center of southwest Roanoke County- a big mother of a building on Brambleton Road with a studio space complete with a full wall of windows.  I confess that when I learned the ceramics studio would be moving, I secretly made an “X” on the bottom of the ginormous industrial-strength kickwheel I had been using so that I could find him again in the new place. I get a little attached to my wheels. 

1997-2000 – The beloved OPP (old power plant) of College of William & Mary.  Not air conditioned, barely heated, it was a HUGE shell of a building.  The ceilings were probably 30 ft., the windows were 10ft. tall and everything was exposed brick including the charming kiln yard.  Seriously, this place made my college decision for me.  My favorite activity in college was to work in this building ‘til the wee hours of the morning, especially on steamy eastern-Virginian summer nights.  I can get really into my throwing, to the point where I don’t really make any flamboyant motions- just pick up clay, place on wheel, pull, shape, remove, repeat.  After about 20 mins. of this, the native inhabitants of the OPP would think they were alone and begin scuttling along the floor and up the walls.  I prepared for this with 2” balls of extra-slimy clay kept in a pyramid next to my wheel.  When I saw the creatures out of the corner of my eye, I would slowly pick up one of these balls, aim, and throw.  The next day, people coming in would find dried biscuits of clay stuck to the walls and floor, filled with the mummified remains of swamp roaches.  Mmm, good times!

The next trip down memory lane will pick up with the stressful, but bug-less grad school years.  Until next time!



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