I was 16 years old in high school, when I made my first clay sculpture. The teacher let me take clay home to work with over spring break. Using a make shift work area on our front porch, I made an owl sculpture. The owl was standing on a stump and was about 12" tall with detailed texture and individual feathers. I entered it in the school art contest and won best of show. Several years has passed since that first sculpture, so getting back to this type of work was a welcomed adventure. Especially since my first experience worked out so well.
At the beginning of the year, I decided to set a goal to dedicate a block of time to expand my skills making sculptures. This journey began in May when I dedicated three weeks to making sculptures. Snails, hedgehogs and bunnies were familiar forms, so I started making them first. Once I got started everything fell into place and The Tortoise and the Hare was made along with many other bunny scenes.
The Lion and the Mouse came next.
Late one afternoon, a new idea of a tea party on a stump with a bunny, cat, turtle and frog popped in my head. This is one of my favorites and have yet to find the perfect book. Who knows, story writing may be in my future.
The ideas just flowed in as I worked. Each afternoon I would turn the parts on the wheel for the creatures I planned on making the next day. Making these animals and seeing their faces come alive with personality was so much fun. The textures and designs were addicting as I discovered new ways of applying them.
In the evenings, I would search on the internet for storybooks that included creatures I knew I could make to pair with my sculptures. Many of my sculptures where made before I found books which made the search for books difficult, especially when you prefer to purchase a hardcover book.
Week three came fast, it was so hard to stop and turn off the creative ideas that were coming to me faster than I could produce sculptures. I was running low on inventory in the sales shop and needed to change my focus to make functional work. I felt forced to stop.
Making these sculptures was so much fun and really felt like play, which made my functional work all of a sudden seem like detention hall. I can't wait until my next devoted sculpture time slot.
You're invited to an exclusive sculpture show here at Thomas Pottery. Bobbie has created over 45 sculptures of woodland creatures in this 2018 series. Come see how she has combined her creativity of sculptural art and literture. Read about the journey of a box turtle in the Grand Canyon, find out what Mrs. Hare's juicy secret is, or why hedgehogs need hugs. All storybooks are beautifully illustrated and written by talented individuals and are included in the purchase of the sculpture.
Saturday, September 15th
Reception & Preview 9:00 - 10:30
Sculpture Sales 10:45 - 5:00
Sunday, September 16th 11:00 - 4:00
On-line Preview Sept. 1st - 15th
Purchase On-line Monday, Sept.17th
See the latest fall designs including pottery pumpkins and hand-painted barn scenes at Thomas Pottery's Festival of Leaves on Saturday, October 22nd from 9:00 - 5:00. Handmade craft items, gourds, and tobacco baskets will also be available. Enjoy fall decorations, tour the studio and shop while enjoying refreshments in a relaxing and festive atmosphere.
Add seasonal flair to your home this fall with creative leaf designs from Thomas Pottery. Stop by for gift-giving ideas and perhaps a few pieces to prepare your harvest baking this fall.
.Fall is a favorite time of year to express the natural look of leaves, fall colors and rustic tree bark patterns. Wheat vases and tobacco leaf trays are just some of the popular items you will find.
Open year round Tuesday - Saturday 10-5 and some Mondays and Sundays during October, November and December.
Delicious red ripe tomatoes is what summer is all about to me. Scotts favorite is German Johnson and could probably be mine too. I like a variety of tomatoes and have grown heirlooms of all colors. Tomatoes sliced and put on a long appetizer tray, topped with salt, pepper, fresh basil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar makes a beautiful and scrumptious presentation.
One of the most often question I get asked in our show room is, “What is this used for?” So each year I go through my showroom and determine the many uses of the pottery items I make. Sometimes I get the help of my sister who loves to cook and my mom who actually doesn’t like to cook anymore but has a grand imagination. We pick a tray, platter, or baking bowl and discuss what would compliment the pottery and try to choose something simple to make.
I’ve selected this wonderful appetizer tray that is 14” long and is about 7” across. Food presentation is part of what makes cooking fun. Having that perfect tray, bowl or platter to present your masterpiece is always important to a proud cook. This lovely tray is the perfect size for a small group, and can be reloaded with more delicious appetizers. I usually pair this tray with the recipe card Brochette with Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Cheese One of my favorite appetizers, especially when everything is fresh from the garden.
I hope you enjoy the wonderful dish!
If you’d like to experiment with another recipe Stuffed Salad Tomatoes, sign up on our email list.
I am often asked, “How did you come up with this idea?” Funny how ideas come about. This one was from a request of a customer. A few months ago, a customer Teresa, asked if I would be willing to do a Clay Party - Bridal Shower. She wanted to use of the studio to have a bridal shower along with a hands on clay project. "Sounds like a fun idea," I told her. With a little brain storming, I came up with a collaborative piece the bride, her bridesmaids and guests could make together and the sunflower bowl emerged.
I spent a day working through the design process. Many decision had to be made, tried and eliminated. What form to use? What size did the clay need to be? How thick to make the clay slab? Pattern? Yes, a custom pattern had be be drawn and a cardboard template cut-out. Lastly, what textures would look really cool. Fun project! I made four sunflower bowls that day experimenting with different petals, textures and sizes. Fired and glazed them in several colors. Now that I had a sample made, I sent Teresa a photo of the completed piece.
Bridal Shower - Clay Party
We decided the bride would design the piece and each bridesmaid and guest would sign a petal with an inspirational thought. This would be a gift for the bride to keep as a reminder of her special day in pottery country with friends and family.
Recipe Fruit Salad
Scott is in the spotlight this coming Saturday, July 23rd. He will be demonstrating bowl making on the wheel from 1:00 - 3:00. Stop by enjoy movie popcorn as you watch him turn clay into bowls. Saturdays in Seagrove during the month of July has been an exciting time for visitors. Sometimes when you visit it’s hard to catch the action or maybe the part that's most exciting to you. With each piece of pottery being handled over 18 times, finding that just right moment could be a little tricky. Two weekends left to catch some behind the scenes activities that you might just miss, on a regular day in Seagrove visit www.discoverseagrove.com/saturdays for the itinerary.
I am always amazed at how many bowls Scott can make in just an hour. He has big, strong hands and can easily turn large amounts of clay. Well, it looks easy anyway. Most of the time he prepares his clay the day before, wedging up 3, 4, and 5 pound balls. He knows exactly what to make out of what he has prepared and usually turns about 100 lbs. at a sitting or I should say standing, as we turn on the wheel standing up.
Finding an empty rack can sometimes be a challenge. I usually have them full of new work in the drying process, bisque ware that has been unloaded waiting to be glazed or glazed pieces waiting to be fired. You can bet if Scott needs a rack for his pieces, I can definitely find space. Scott is a busy man and often finds there is not enough hours in the day. With coffee in hand he usually makes his way to the studio early on Sunday mornings. The studio is quite and pleasant and Sunday is always a good day to make pots.
He makes short bowls that will be used for baking and tall bowls used for serving. Sets of bowls and individual baking dishes all come together on the racks as he turns up his clay. Quiche pans and sometimes a batter bowl will appear in the grouping. Small, medium and large just depending on the amount of clay he has prepared. Once they have dried a few hours it is my job to put on the handles. Summer is a complicated time of year to make pottery. Here in the piedmont the humidity can really hinder the drying process and can stretch out your day. Fans and air condition can make it difficult too, so you have to monitor your work to catch it just at the right stage for applying handles. Kinda like the 3 bears and their beds. To soft, to hard and just right can make all the difference in the finished piece.
I call Scott the bowl man, he makes lovely bowls that are used for baking your favorite cobbler, casserole, scallop potatoes and serving that wonderful pasta salad. Heat it up or chill it down, stoneware pottery is functional and durable for everyday use.
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Exciting day at Thomas Pottery as participants made their own woodland mushroom. Many signed up before the event and several joined in the fun on that day. Three sessions were offered, starting at 10:00, 1:00 and 3:00. Each lasted about an hour and a half.
A welcome and short orientation, most importantly the location of the restroom, was the start of each session. Introductions were made including our two kitty cats, sweet Opie and grumpy cat Susie. Next, an overview of the project was discussed as we looked at some finished mushroom caps.
A demonstration of the steps to make the piece followed as I showed them how to cut the clay at a 45 degree angle, scratch the surface and apply slip to the area to be joined. Many design decisions was yet to be made. Pottery tools and patterns were available to each participant along with step by step instruction. As I explained how to apply texture to the clay using wooden rollers, sponge stamps and simple rubber stamps, I suggested which patterns they might combine together or use exclusively. The texture tools available to be used was unlimited, ranging from items found at a yard sale, to things found in the kitchen or purchased from a craft store or from the dollar store. I am always amazed at the choices and how participants combine different textures. Inspiration is glened from each session as we each create unique mushroom caps.
Once the pieces are finished and all the edges are wiped smooth with a sponge, they are placed on a drying rack. A small slip of paper with their name and glaze color is put with their piece. The final steps to finishing the pieces is left to me. The wet pieces will take about a week to dry and will be fired twice. The first firing is a bisque firing, which will burn out any remaining moisture and organic material from the clay. Once the piece has been bisque fired the glaze color is applied and re-fired at a higher temperature which will melt the glaze onto the pot. When the pieces are finished, I will contact the participants so they can schedule a time to pick up their piece. Copper posts are included as the stand for the mushroom cap. The finished piece is a lovely garden ornament to be enjoyed for many years.
Feel like you missed out on an opportunity? No you haven't, plan your own private Clay Party by calling ahead. Schedule your event in the morning, have lunch at a nearby resturant or bring a picnic and spend the rest of the day in Seagrove taking in more pottery than one can imagine.