Saturday, February 23, 2019

Virginia is for Workshops

Audacity. That's the word for it. I mean, what Hoosier would go to the Hulman Center (where Larry Bird played his college hoops) and offer a clinic on shooting a jump shot?

But there I was last week at this time, walking into the ceramics department of Hollins University -- right where Rick Hensley and Donna Polseno (two of America's finest clay aritists) teach, and offering up a workshop on how I do stuff.

Bold move for a Midwesterner.

But here's a secret (so don't tell anyone). I figured out why potters offer workshops. It's so we can learn from everyone who attends them.

Anyway, as if presenting a workshop where Rick and Donna teach wasn't bold enough, just the thought of a Hoosier driving to the epicenter -- the geographical ground zero -- of the finest potters in the USA was a "coals to Newcastle" proposition if ever was.

I just gave away my age. "Coals to Newcastle". It's an old metaphor. It's like "Refrigerators to Eskimos" only more literary.

Consider this Newcastle: 
Tom Clarkson, 
Nan Rothwell, 
Rick Hensley, 
Donna Polseno, 
Ellen Shankin, 
Silvie Granatelli 
(the 16 Hands folks) 
...and the next generation of...
 Josh Manning, 
Andrea Denniston, 
Seth Gusovsky
….and that incomplete list is not even taking into consideration crossing over into the North Carolina potters of the same region.

That part of Appalachia positively gushes with superlative clay work. How could anyone live around such talent and not absorb it?

Well, the workshop -- arranged by my friend Ron Sutterer -- and presented to the Blue Ridge Pottery Guild was just SO good for me. I met about 30-40 passionate clay enthusiasts and we talked methods and materials non-stop for two 5 hour days. I learned SO much.

At the end it was just the BEST kind of tired a potter can be.

No comments:

Post a Comment