Driving up to the pottery studio of Janet Calhoun who started throwing pots when she was 5 years old, I recognized that twinge of wistful anti-realism that hits me when I visit places very unlike my own home. That longing to leave the pace of my familiar existence in the Not A Huge City But It Has Everything I Need For An Average Week, and try my hand at country living. I know myself well enough to realize that if I ever do move to a less populated setting in which trees weren't planted strategically, but were left over from a time when they just grew where they wanted the way trees do if you leave 'em alone, this imagined home will have to be accessible to the conveniences on which I rely. Let's face it: sometimes you want to buy a new pair of funky shoes, a whole, honkin' bag of art supplies, or even a high-priced cup of really strong coffee...without driving an hour or two to do so. My ideal scenario offers me the best-of-both-worlds conveniences. Spoiled? Yup!
All this ran through my mind in about seventeen seconds as we parked in front of the cabin just outside of Blowing Rock, Nc, with its huge trees and its pond. Then once inside with the smell of a wood-burning stove filled my nostrils, and the sight of shelves and shelves of hand-thrown pottery filled my eyes and the creak of wooden floors cushioned my feet and I paused to reconsider: "Well maybe...!" In the way another potter would understand, I noticed the dust that covered many surfaces and recalled how futile it can be to keep the clay dust to a minimum. The sight left me with nostalgic longings of a time when I threw pots on a regular basis.
The meeting couldn't have gone any better. Janet and I hit it off right away, she was exceptionally responsive to my work, and I left with the feeling that we've begun a mutually-rewarding relationship that will continue indefinitely. Being in a studio as charming as this one was only perfected by the presence of this warm, approachable potter. And this was just the studio in the country. Calhoun and her family also own the Main Street shop, Traditions Pottery, where the shelves and pots and other items for sale are pristine and shining and the floors are carpeted and the town's visitors wander in and out as they meander through the charming downtown shops. And now, in addition to the pottery and the soup mixes and the decorative, metal home decor pieces, and the other selected jewelry pieces, Traditions Pottery offers unique beaded, clay pendant necklaces created by yours truly. I have to tell you, it's thrilling to know that Blowing Rock shoppers will have access to my work. It's the first shop outside of Greensboro where my creations are being sold and there's something special - sort of milestone-esque - about having made this connection.
Soon I'll share another milestone concerning the distribution of my jewelry; until then, next time you're in Blowing Rock, pop in at Traditions Pottery and see what you think! Meanwhile, here's their website. The site's photos feature the studio where I met with Janet Calhoun. Next time I'm up that way, I'll try and take pictures of the "in-town" shop, too. I think my blog's visitors would enjoy seeing this charming shop. Almost as much as I enjoyed being there.