The seventh annual Cumberland Valley Pottery Festival will be held on Saturday, September 17, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Renfrew Park, 1010 East Main St., Waynesboro, PA. The festival, co-sponsored by the Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies at Penn State Mont Alto and the Mont Alto Pottery Guild, is a clay-only celebration of the ceramic arts. The event is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine.
During the festival, 25 regional potters and ceramic artists will display and sell their works. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with the artisans and to explore the wide range of clay working techniques they use.
In addition to the potters, local artist and the center’s pottery instructor, Tom McFarland, and Mont Alto Pottery Guild founder and member, James Smith, will lead hands-on pottery workshops, assisted by guild members Melodie Anderson-Smith, Mary Ashe-Mahr, Mike Bannon, Judy Hoffman Bolton, Nickole Bricker, Laurie Gamble, David Goldstein, Lisa Wagner and Kirk Wishard. Workshop participants will be able to create their own works in clay using a variety of techniques including hand building and slab rolling. The guildwill later bisque fire the objects made and invite the makers to the Mont Alto studio on Saturday, October 22 (the center’s open house), to glaze and refire their pieces.
During the festival, the guild will conduct a Raku pottery demonstration and firing near the picnic pavilion between noon and 2:00 p.m. The guild will also operate a food stand with a variety of grilled foods, baked goods, fruits and drinks available. The traditional blue grass band, Ladies in the Parlor, from will perform live music 11 AM to 2:30 p.m.
Music at the Festival
The Ladies in the Parlor, a four member bluegrass band, is composed of Barb Schmid, fiddle, Sharon Sacks, 5-string banjo, Suzanne Gates, bass, and Freya Qually, guitar. The band formed in 2003 and is known for its blend of energetic fiddling, drum-with-strings banjo, upfront guitar and driving bass, creating a buoyant, danceable sound. The band also incorporates vocals of old and new songs in traditional Appalachian harmonies.
Barb Schmid is a member of the York trio, Late for Supper, the guitar and fiddle duo, Strings on Wings, and is a former member of the Baltimore based contra dance band, the MetroGnomes. Schmid teaches fiddle, competes in traditional music competitions, and has won a first place Old Time Fiddle ribbon at the annual Deer Creek Fiddler¹s Convention in Westminster, MD.
Sharon Sacks has played banjo since 1995. She is a member of the Tin Kettle, plays Irish music on piano, guitar and whistle, and writes music.
Suzanne Gates began playing classical bass in 1996 and moved to blue grass style bass a few years later. She currently plays with Late for Supper and has been a part of several bands, which have won ribbons in numerous festival competitions in Maryland and Virginia.
Freya Qually learned folk guitar as a child and began focusing on traditional music a decade ago as a member of The South Mountain String Band, a first place winner of the Old Time Band ribbon at the annual Deer Creek Fiddler’s Convention. She also performs with
Hay for Three and The River Rhythm Ramblers.
In addition to performing at the Deer Creek Fiddlers’ Convention, Ladies in the Parlor have played at the Gettysburg History Meets the Arts, Landis Valley Museum Harvest Days, Coatesville Cultural Society concert series, York Fiddlers¹ Convention, the Harrisburg Fort Hunter Festival and numerous contra dances in Baltimore, Annapolis, Harrisburg, Lancaster and Elverson, PA.
Potters at the Festival
(Editor’s note: potters with a dot before their names indicate first time festival participants.)
Potters participating in the 2011 festival include Eve and Rich Adkins, Waynesboro; Karen Arrington, Laurel, MD; € Joy Bridy, Shenandoah Junction, WV; Jack Handshaw, Fairfield; Bob Hughes, Conestoga; € Lisa Kovatch, Harpers Ferry; Michael Price McIntyre, Leitersburg; Kumiko Nuss and Annamarie Poole, Hagerstown; Janine Davis and Christine Tosten-Souders, Mercersburg; and guild members Ashe-Mahr and Bricker, Waynesboro; Bolton and Wagner, Smithsburg; Bannon, Fairfield; Gamble, Concord; Wishard, Mont Alto; and Goldstein and Smith, Fayetteville.
Eve Adkins is a graduate of Antioch University with a major in ceramic arts and has been a working potter for more than 20 years. She and her husband, Rich, own and operate the Garden Path Pottery from their home on Shank Hess Road, Waynesboro. Her works have been exhibited at Penn State Mont Alto, Chambersburg Council for the Arts and the Smithsonian Art Train. Adkins creates ceramic forms that reflect her strong interest in cooking and gardening.
Karen Arrington received her BFA in Illustration from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. She has studied pottery under Gary Irby, Mea Rea and Mary Gawlik and recently acquired studio space in the Greenbelt Community Center as an Artist In Residence. Arrington’s pottery ranges from wood fire, Raku, cone 10 reduction and cone 6 oxidation. She creates bead jewelry along with functional small to large bowls, mugs, teapots, plates, vases, wine glasses and tiles.
“As a potter, I find that every day there is something new to learn. The growing and creative process is never ending and that’s what makes pottery so exciting for me.”
€ Joy Bridy is a potter living in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Her travels have taken her coast-to-coast, from Seattle to Maine, to explore the hands-on world of clay and wood-fired salt kilns.
Born and raised in Northwest Indiana, Bridy received a BA in Studio Arts from Indiana University, Bloomington. After college, she began a career in social work, moving from Head Start to group homes for people with autism, to a battered women’s shelter and transitional housing complex.
While in Pennsylvania, she became a pottery studio assistant at Juniata College and began teaching evening community classes, firing wood and soda kilns, growing blueberries, and hitting the gym in the afternoons. Her interest in travel has lead her to Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Maine, as a Technical Assistant, a month on a Rotary sponsored cultural exchange in South Korea, and a summer residency at Pottery Northwest, Seattle, where she fired a new soda kiln, joined a recreational rowing club, walked from neighborhood to neighborhood and got a taste for urban culture.
In Washington, DC, she worked at the Lee Arts Center in Falls Church VA, the Eastern Market Pottery and the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in her Eastern Market neighborhood, where she managed their clay studio and taught children and adults to hand build and work on the potter’s wheel. Urban living encouraged Bridy to continue traveling, firing wood kilns across the country and visiting wood firing artists to discover first-hand the intensely rich and diverse culture of wood.
Bridy is currently working and teaching in her solo studio in the rolling hills of Jefferson County, West Virginia, among neighbors of cows, horses, and peach orchards. She has recently finished a two year odyssey designing and building a bourry box wood kiln. Bridy is a member of the Over The Mountain Studio Tour, a driving tour of studios of Jefferson County, held the second week of every November.
Janine Davis began her career as an artist working with painting, drawing, sculpture and design. While studying at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC, she began working with clay.
“From that time on I have continued to use clay as my primary medium and have since re-established my love for wheel throwing and hand building because of my desire to blend color, form and aesthetic beauty with the art of function.”
Davis owns and operates Moon Dog Pottery in Welsh Run, PA.
Jack Handshaw, owner of Hobbitt House Pottery in Fairfield, began working with clay in high school and continued learning pottery-making skills in the Army, eventually becoming a pottery instructor.
“I have worked with many regional potters and they all have helped me develop a keen understanding of pottery as an art form. I feel I am always learning and willing to try something different. Without clay in my hands, my life would not be complete.”
Bob Hughes began his pottery career in 1991 at Landis Valley Museum, Lancaster, as a craft demonstrator producing and interpreting historic earthenware pottery. He is currently an art teacher in the Manheim Central School District and operates the River Rat Pottery. The works Hughes creates are inspired by traditional forms that he adapts to his own designs. He uses a 1860s style treadle wheel and a wood-fired beehive kiln.
€ Lisa Kovatch says, “My love for functional craft took root during my early childhood in Kenya, surrounded by African women wearing exuberant textiles and by patterned basketry hanging for sale along the roadside. As I was growing up, my parents collected crafts and antiques so we visited a lot of markets and auctions. Textiles, Early American slipware, and colorful, mix & match Fiestaware were of particular interest to me and continue to inform my work today.”
“My home and studio are tucked into the Appalachian foothills near the Shenandoah River. Daily walks provide endless inspiration: chartreuse leaves budding on rain-soaked branches, a cheerful patch of zinnias in a warm summer garden, a crisp blue sky above a freshly-tilled field. I hope my work becomes a treasured part of your daily experience!”
Kovatch began her exploration of tile making when renovating the bathroom in her 1812 house. She’s the recipient of a 2011 Individual Artist Grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and currently serves as the studio tech in the Art Department at Frederick Community College and instructor for the college’s “Kids on Campus” pottery program.
Michael McIntyre owns and operates the FireRobin Farm Pottery. He is a production potter and creates wheel thrown functional stoneware. McIntyre says he realized his calling in pottery while being a stay-at-home dad. He was raised on the eastern shore of Maryland and is a film and video editor by training. He became interested in pottery in 2004 and has trained with well-known potters Ben Culbertson, Bill Van Gilder and Del Martin, along with McFarland and Smith. “FireRobin” was coined by his aunt when searching for a business name for her hand-made puppet company that she founded in Vermont and is derived from the family name, Feierabend.
Kumiko Nuss, a native of Japan, creates hand-built and wheel thrown works with vibrant hand-drawn decorations. She has studied under Kristin Fay-Taylor, Allison Coles Serverance, McFarland and Smith.
Annamarie Poole is a co-founder and co-owner of the Blue Mist Pottery, Hagerstown, in partnership with Vivian Ogle.
“Life often takes unexpected twists and turns. In my life, pottery is one of them. I’ve worked as a social worker for people with disabilities and dabbled in various personal interests like quilting, batik, gardening and watercolor painting for most of my life. In 2002, having taken most of the art classes offered at Hagerstown Community College, I took a pottery class with Ben Culbertson and knew immediately that clay would consume every bit of my available time and energy. I have been making pots ever since and loving it.”
Poole works in both porcelain and stoneware and is known for her carved floral designs and use of wax resist to produce multiple layers of colors and patterns.
Christine Tosten-Souders set up a home studio in Mercersburg after taking pottery classes at Hagerstown Community College in 1994.
“I am really inspired by the early American pottery tradition, especially those of the Shenandoah Valley. I enjoy turning on the wheel as well as hand sculpting figures.”
Visitors to the Pottery Festival may park in Renfrew’s lower lot off Welty Road. For individuals with disabilities, reserved parking is also available in the lower lot. For more information, contact the center by e-mail at email@example.com or call (717) 456-0476.