WAYNESBORO — A well known potter in the ceramics world will visit a clay studio in the city this weekend for a two-day event. Make Waynesboro Clay Studio is hosting its first workshop Friday and Saturday with British potter Ian Stainton, who lives, appropriately enough, in Potters Mill, Pennsylvania. Stainton came to the U.S. in 1992.
Jake Johnson, who opened Make Waynesboro Clay Studio in April 2017 with his wife, Katie Densberger, said that Stainton is known in the ceramics art world for his high production level of pottery. The artist creates pieces of pottery by hand, as opposed to throwing them on a potter's wheel or through another, faster method.
“Production pottery meaning like he makes hundreds of pieces per day,” Johnson said.
He added that Stainton also makes other types of art.
“He’s really great with surfaces,” Densberger said.
On Friday, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Stainton will provide a demonstration at the Clay Studio. And on Saturday, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., a trunk show of his work will be on display and for sale at the Shenandoah Valley Arts Center. The public is welcome to attend both evening events.
Johnson and Densberger moved from Illinois to Waynesboro in 2014, when she got a full-time position at the University of Virginia.
With a master of fine arts degree in ceramics from Pennsylvania State University, Johnson is a full-time potter himself. He chose not to pursue a career teaching art in college, but now teaches students in his Waynesboro studio.
“I was more doing [the degree] for my own professional development, cause I wanted to be an artist out there making art more than teaching,” Johnson said. “Having a community place [like Make Waynesboro Clay Studio] kind of holds a special place for me because early on that’s how I got my access to studios.”
Johnson sells his pieces at galleries, art fairs and at the Shenandoah Valley Art Center in Waynesboro.
Make Waynesboro Clay Studio, a for-profit organization, has expanded its space twice since opening. Johnson and Densberger were not expecting to expand once, let alone twice.
“So we’ve taken our success, and tried to grow it so that we could accommodate more folks rather than just try to monetize as much as possible. We want to make it a good place for folks to work,” Johnson said of clay workshop opportunities at the studio.
The studio received a $6,000 grant from Grow Waynesboro in 2016, and Johnson used the grant to buy a pugmill, a machine that processes scrap clay into round logs for reuse.
“We go through a lot of clay, like literal tons,” Densberger said. “And, basically, we recycle the scraps.”
Densberger, director of the Dathel and John Georges Student Center at UVa, handles office duties at and maintains the web site for the Clay Studio. She said that the ceramics culture is growing in the Valley.
“Ceramics is for people who often don’t hang out at art galleries. Ceramics can be a lot more accessible than some other forms of art. Clay people are a pretty relaxed and friendly bunch,” Densberger said.
Johnson and Densberger said they hope to host more workshops at the Clay Studio.