This weekend I visited the Creative Clay Studios located in Alexandria, VA with my friend and colleague, Terry deBardelaben. Terry had finished sculpting and bisque firing a rather large vessel and was taking her work to be glazed and fired at Creative Clay Studios. As stated on their web site, “Creative Clay Studios is Northern Virginia’s home for clay artists”. The space allows artists to use the space as they would their own studio while maintaining a larger inventory of all things clay than the average professional artist would be able to keep. Much like an open studio darkroom used to function back in the day. Creative Clay also is a place for artists at all levels, to learn different ceramic techniques and provides a place of community for the ceramic artist working in the Washington DC metro area.
While I was there I met Ed Bull the founder of Creative Clay Studios. Ed loves fire! He is a Ceramic Fireman. While Terry and I were there, Ed was conducting a Valentine’s Couples Workshop. Pretty cool stuff! Couples taking the workshop create separate personal “gifts” for each other or work on a project together. Anyway, Ed took great joy and pride explaining how the Studio’s variety of kilns operate. He reminded me of the fact that there’s quite a lot of alchemy involved in the creation of ceramic art. The earth, water, assorted chemistry of color glazes all brought together through the magic elements of fire and timing. I really hadn’t heard that stuff since my days at University as an art student. It was fun to hear again. It was also cool to see Ed interacting with the professional artists that were in the studio. Conferring and interacting with them as colleagues and as Master Craftsman.
While at Creative Clay with Terry, I used the time to do impromptu documentation of her as she worked on this piece of artwork. I’ve been photographing and videoing her as she’s been working on her many projects. In fact, I was with her earlier that afternoon at her school were she provides Open Studio for her students at the St. Steven and St. Agnes Upper School. I was editing video I shot at a workshop she conducted about sustainability and making art. The Creative Clay Studio is a visually engaging space. When she was finished working I told her I wanted to make a portrait of her in the space. Then Ed came back into the kiln room, and I asked him if I could photograph him too. I belive a got a couple of good environmental portraits of these two artists and I share them now with you.