Bethel Artists Prepare for Spring Open Studio 2017

By Andrea Trzaskos

A group of four artisans in the ‘Bethel Group’ is busily preparing for Open Studio weekend.

Two Potters Shop welcomes visitors.

Two Potters Shop welcomes visitors.

At Two Potters, Nathan and Becca Webb are making pottery for a wood-firing in June.  Since their kiln is only fired once or twice a year, Open Studio will be an exciting time to preview many of the pieces before they are loaded into the kiln.  Nathan and Becca create pottery with the simple goal of adding beauty and enjoyment to life.  Their functional pieces include mugs for hot coffee and tea, bowls for all things, vases for fresh flowers, butter keepers, mason jars, and fermenting crocks.

During Open Studio, Nathan and Becca will be giving tours of the kiln barn – where visitors can walk inside the kiln itself – while answering questions about their wood-firing process.

Becca and Nathan have built this wood fired kiln. Firings happen twice a year.

Becca and Nathan have built this wood fired kiln. Firings happen twice a year.

The two potters will also be giving demos in their studio, and there’ll be an area for kids to play with clay.

Bowls on Shoulder

Three newly glazed bowls head to the kiln shed.

They’ll have pottery for sale, food and drink, and (hopefully) live music on Sunday afternoon – check out their Instagram feed (@twopotters) or website (twopotters.com) for more details on the music.  Two Potters is a family-friendly venue, and everyone will be welcome to come and stay a while

Grace Pejouhy holds a stoneware pitcher.

Grace Pejouhy holds a stoneware pitcher.

Across town at Naught Hill Pottery, Grace Pejouhy and Evan Williams have just finished a throwing cycle and are doing brushwork and glazing while getting their kiln ready for a firing.  Grace and Evan work in partnership, with Grace doing much of the throwing while Evan decorates using slip wiping and brushwork with pigments and wax resist.  Focusing on traditional functional forms with flowing curves and strong lines, then firing their pots in a Bourry box wood kiln, these potters endeavor to create work that is simple and honest to its materials and feels right to use in everyday life.

Evan shapes the lip of a large bowl.

Evan shapes the lip of a large bowl.

Visit Naught Hill Pottery during Open Studio Weekend and you will see that Grace and Evan have been working hard to prepare as many pots as possible in advance of their first showing at the League of NH Craftsmen Mount Sunapee Fair later this summer.  This will be the biggest show they’ve participated in, and Open Studio offers a great chance to get a first look at their newest work!

A carved raven peers out of his ceramic tile.

A carved raven peers out of his ceramic tile.

Over the river, Andrea Trzaskos has also been working hard at her Frog Song Designs studio to prepare for a busy summer show season.  Another Bethel artist working in clay, and with the devoted help of two four-legged studio assistants, Andrea has been at work through the winter to build up her collection of both functional ware and decorative wall art.

From plates and platters to vases, vessels and wall tiles, she hand-builds each piece in stoneware before painting and carving through layers of colored underglazes to create detailed, one-of-a-kind surface designs.  A long-time gardener and nature enthusiast more recently turned to ceramics, Andrea focuses on themes of birds and nature in her designs.  She’ll be on the road with her work for much of the summer and fall, so Open Studio is a great opportunity to catch up with her at home.

 

Frog Song plates, with a variety of underglazes, waiting to be fired.

Frog Song plates, with a variety of underglazes, waiting to be fired.

And just down the road, Open Studio visitors will be welcome at the Stone Revival carving studio and gallery of Julian Isaacson, housed in a beautifully refurbished barn at the edge of Stockbridge.

Julian has been sculpting in stone and hardwoods for over forty years, creating unique works deeply connected to Vermont’s people and land.  His work includes fine art, functional art, monuments and commissions that reflect his preferred themes of nature and community.

The Stone Revival gallery is filled with beautiful examples of Julian’s bas relief sculpture, while the gift shop offers a range of Vermont products including jewelry, quilts and gift baskets.  Julian will be carving during Open Studio, so don’t miss this terrific chance to see him at work!