Joy Bridy Pottery invites all to an Open Studio, Dec. 21, from noon until 5 p.m. Work by both Joy Bridy and her apprentice, Stephanie Wilhelm, will be available for sale, including mugs and bowls for daily use, bottles for oil or vinegar, vases for seasonal bouquets, crocks for fermenting or holding chilled wine and other functional pottery intended for the table.
Both potters will be working with clay throughout the day, the wood stove will be warm, and coffee and tea will be on hand. Come by to say hello, finish your last-minute holiday shopping, get a tour of the wood kiln and take a moment to slow down while watching the timeless process of making hand-made pottery.
They are located in Jefferson County WV, between Harpers Ferry, Charles Town and Shepherdstown, at 2533 Warm Springs Road, Shenandoah Junction.
Every spring and fall, Bridy fires her work in the wood-fueled Bourry Box kiln that she designed and built. Each firing has a cycle that includes months of making pots, a week to glaze and load the kiln, three days around-the-clock to fire the kiln, a week to cool, and a week to clean up and sand each pot after the firing. Each wood fired piece documents this process, and the story of the wood burning, ash and flame marking each pot, resulting in one-of-a-kind pieces.
Stephanie Wilhelm, from Fredrick Md., began her apprenticeship in March 2013, and has been part of the firing team for the last two firings. Her third firing will be in late winter 2014. Apprenticeships are an ancient tradition, a route to pass hands-on knowledge and skills from maker to maker.
"I have known for a long time now that an apprenticeship would be the right experience for me," says Wilhelm. "Through working with Joy, I have had the opportunity to build a relationship with her wood fired kiln, develop my own pots, and learn the ways and responsibilities of a wood fire potter. It's not just an art formit's a complete lifestyle."
"As an artist potter, I feel lucky to live in an area that recognizes the benefits of buying handmade wares, meant for use, straight from the maker. Open Studios have become a cherished traditionpeople visit over coffee and conversation, see where we work, the tools we use, the rocks and trees around the studio, and the big wood kiln right outside the studio doors," says Bridy.