Artisans United Gallery and Shop
4022 Hummer Road
Annandale, VA 22003
Monday - Saturday 10 am to 4 pm
(Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)
The photographs above are a very small sampling of Designer Baby Accessories by Peggy Taves. Peggy's work and that of other artisans can be seen and purchased at the Artisans United Gallery in Annandale.
Meet the Artisan: Susan Yindra, Ceramicist
After practicing dental hygiene for more than thirty years, I thought about retiring and wanted to find an artistic outlet that would be challenging and fun. Over the years, I had collected glass bottles, paperweights, and stained glass. So I thought it might be fun to try and signed up for a beginner level stained glass class. In class, I learned how to score glass, work with a soldering iron, solder and copper foil to create sun catchers and glass panels. I especially liked working with the different glass colors and textures. After a year or so, I progressed to making three dimensional pieces such as jewelry boxes and Tiffany style lamp shades. I especially enjoyed designing lamp shades for small table lamps and gave them as gifts to family at Christmas. I continued working with stained glass, fused glass and even glass blowing for several years, but when my favorite instructor retired I decided to make a change.
With extra time on my hands, I began searching for a creative hobby to replace stained glass. In the 80's, I had enrolled in a beginner pottery class. I was introduced to hand building and using a coil technique I created a large bowl. My memories of the fun I had working with clay inspired me to look for another beginner pottery class. I discovered that Audrey Moore Rec Center offered pottery classes and I signed up for a level one wheel class. In class, I learned the basics of throwing pots on the wheel, starting with the preparation of the clay or wedging and moving on to centering the clay on the wheel. Centering clay is one of the greatest challenges for a beginning potter but it is an important step in producing a pot with uniform wall thickness. Once the clay is centered, you open the pot outward to achieve the desired diameter. Using both hands and the wheel speed, you begin raising the walls to the height you want. Learning to make a basic cylinder, allows even a novice potter to create small pots and enjoy a sense of accomplishment.
As your skill level progresses, the basic cylinder can be altered to form bowls, vases, mugs, pitchers and more. Or you can start with a low clay mound, creating a flatter profile which can be used to make plates, platters, and shallow bowls. Once you advance to intermediate pottery levels there are so many more options available. Potters can choose to work with different types of clay which come in an array of colors like red, dark brown, buff, white, speckled, and more. Some clay has more grog which makes it gritty and others have less grog which makes it softer. Each offers it's own set of challenges and most potters have a favorite. Besides clay types, potters can play with different glazes and under glazes, experimenting with color combinations. Personally, I like working with buff and speckled clay because they are easy to work with. I also like experimenting with glazes to create a pleasing color palette. In addition to clay and glaze choices, potters can work with different types of kilns, electric, gas, and wood fired. The type of kiln used can affect the look of the glaze and the final product.
Once I decide on which clay to use, I try to determine the form and function of the pot I am going to create. This is probably the most challenging and exciting part of the process. You may have a mental picture, a photograph, or an actual pot to use as your pattern but you still must begin with a lump of clay. Since the size of the pot you want to make is usually determined by the amount of clay, I weigh my clay before throwing. After the pot is bisque fired and glaze fired, I like to take it home for a test run. Depending on the pot and how I plan to use it, I check it out in the dishwasher, microwave, or oven. Also I try out my soup bowls, soap dispensers, chip and dip servers, etc. to evaluate their functionality. Once they pass the test, I feel comfortable selling my pots and giving them as gifts.
After more than 12 years of “playing in clay”, I have made teapots, table fountains, lighthouses, lidded jars, olive oil bottles, soap dispensers, vases, bowl and more. Happily, I am still loving pottery and learning new skills. Always searching for inspiration. I explore local craft shows, visit pottery studios while on vacation, and check out potters on YouTube. Most of all, I love working with the many talented potters I have met over the years, creating, brainstorming and sharing tools and techniques.
Last November, I joined Artisans United, which has provided me with an opportunity to work with like-minded artists and a chance to meet members of the community who support the gallery. I encourage everyone to visit the Artisans United Gallery in Annandale, where you will find unique gifts created by local artisans. We display and sell a variety of pieces, including jewelry, pottery, stained glass, wooden toys and wooden jewelry boxes, photographs, needle crafts, and more.
The Craft Gallery of Artisans United is a cooperative endeavor, staffed and run by the independent members of Artisans United, Inc. as well as those individuals belonging to the member Guilds. On a daily basis, visitors will find the Gallery artisans happy to explain crafting techniques and to share their knowledge of where craft materials may be obtained. And, too, visitors will often discover impromptu demos in progress as the artists complete their creations. We are always looking for new craftspeople to join our organization. If you are interested in joining us as a member artist, please ask at the front desk for a membership packet which explains what is expected of you as a member of Artisans United.
If you are looking for gifts, please visit the Gallery where you will find an exceptional range of items appropriate for baby, wedding, mother’s day, father’s day, graduation and housewarmings.
THE CRAFT GALLERY OF ARTISANS UNITED
4022 Hummer Road
Annandale, VA 22003
703.941.0202 . www.augallery.org
Monday through Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Reproduction of this article or photographs requires the written permission of the author and The ENDEAVOR News Magazine. Photographs are courtesy of the author with all right of use reserved. (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)