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: Jeanette Bieber
Pottery with a Flare
Jeanette Bieber is a new member of Artisans United. While working as an accountant, Jeanette never gave up her love for art. She has worked in painting including sumi-e, knitting, needlepoint, sewing, embroidery and other handcrafts. When she discovered pottery, she found her passion. “Pottery for me is a wonderful way to express my creative abilities. The technical skills and use of color in glazing a piece of pottery is very satisfying.” Although she is primarily a functional potter, Jeanette has branched out into some decorative work as well. Her pieces include fish vases, pumpkins for Halloween, gnomes and Christmas ornaments for the holiday season.
Pottery is a process that is time consuming and exacting. It includes three stages. The first stage includes creating the piece either by wheel throwing or hand building. Hand building can include the use of templates, molds or other devices to create a shape or object. After the piece is created it needs to dry to what is known as a leather hard consistency.
In the second stage a piece can be under glazed, carved or altered in a number of ways. The piece is then left to dry before it goes into the kiln for the first firing. This firing is called the bisque firing. This process hardens the clay to a state where the clay is hard but can still absorb a glaze.
The third stage is glazing the piece. Glazes are created with chemicals in formulas that produce many different colors. The glazed piece is then fired in the second firing. This is called the glaze firing. The high temperature creates a glossy glass like surface on the pottery piece. Many pieces Jeanette created have include animal motifs. She has bird baths with birds or frogs on them, jars with bird or animal handles, and cheese domes with mice handles. In addition to animal motifs Jeanette is inspired by her love of flowers. Her floral designs are produced in a two-fold process. After creating her pieces, she begins to apply the underglaze to the hardened clay. After the first firing she than applies more underglazes to finish her designs. The raw clay is sometimes left as the background for the piece. This looks especially nice with a dark black clay. Other times a clear glaze is applied to the entire piece.
Jeanette has also explored other aspects of the pottery process. She has participated in woodfire and salt fire workshops. Wood and salt give unique qualities to the finish of the piece.
In a wood or salt fire the temperatures are very high. The temperatures are measured in a system that is called cones. An electric kiln is usually fired to a cone 6. The wood fires go to a cone 10 which is approximately 2345 degrees Fahrenheit. No glazes are necessary at this temperature as the clay forms its own glaze on the surface at this temperature. The wood and salt also add textures to the surface. Salt adds a texture that is referred to as orange peel as it looks like the surface of an orange. Special glazes and slips can be added also to create color and decoration.
Jeanette has enjoyed working with children in their exploration of clay. “Children have no preconceived notions as to what something looks like, this enables them to be very free in their creative process”. She would like to encourage anyone to try their hand at the pottery process. Although it takes many years to become a proficient potter, the new student can enjoy clay and produce something that is fun or functional. She hopes you will all try it. Be sure to visit the gallery at Artisans United to see all the beautiful pottery Jeanette has on display and for sale.
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.)