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CALABASH—Greenware is drying on racks as pottery artist Vivian Swanson, seated at a sketching table, etches a mermaid into a wet, flat piece of clay she plans to fire and glaze into a plaque in the near future.
Janet Archambault, owner of this pottery-crafting place called Stay Centered Studio, shows off assorted creative-ware made by local ceramics artists, from glazed plates, bowls and vases to still-life fruit and face-masks, called “green men,” suitable for decorating trees.
“We just opened this in May,” says the former Connecticut resident, who, along with fellow artists working on their own at the studio in the Carolinas Business Park off Calabash Road, is getting ready to greet the public at a holiday open house and pottery sale.
The first yuletide event for the studio, at 284A Koolabrew Road, is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10.
“We had never had a studio before,” Archambault said of the facility built and furnished by her husband, Bill, who crafted work benches for the studio.
“Bill did everything,” said pottery artist Tristan Mardall, whose work, including the “green men,” will be showcased at the open house.
“When we walked in here and saw this, we were in awe,” said Vivian Swanson, another artist who has adopted the studio for her creative pursuits.
Other local artists whose work will be featured at the open house are Debbie Asbill, Cindy Hazeltine and Cindy Hewett.
The ceramics and pottery artists work at their own pace, coming and going at the studio where two kilns are capable of converting greenware into bisque-ware and, at more than 2,200 degrees, glazed ceramic pieces.
Each potter has his/her own space and unique style, ranging from hand-crafted to wheel-thrown work.
Swanson deems it “the best place ever.”
“You can see there’s all different techniques and styles,” Archambault said, showing shelves of bisque-ware and other finished glazed creations.
Archambault said they can critique and offer suggestions for students to apply to their work.
“Until I had opened this, I had never fired a kiln on my own,” said Archambault, who got inspired after she and her husband moved to Sunset Beach in 2008. She took lessons from local potter Jane Truesdale and got hooked on the feel of clay moving through her hands on the wheel. Archambault also took classes with Joe and Tonda Jeffcoat at their studio just a few doors down in the business complex.
Her specialties are “unique, functional, oxidation-fired pottery of all types and sizes.” She and her fellow potters also enjoy creating bowls for the Brunswick Islands Woman’s Club’s annual Soup-er Bowl food-pantry fundraiser scheduled for January.
Though Stay Centered Studio is not an official retail business, “if people stop in, I’m sure we’ll sell them things,” Archambault said.
That will be the scenario at the upcoming open house, where the festive spirit tends to rule year-round.
“Every time we have a kiln opening, it’s like Christmas,” Mardall says.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Holiday open house and pottery sale
WHEN: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10
WHERE: Stay Centered Studio, 284A Koolabrew Road, Calabash
INFORMATION: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW MUCH: Free; bring an event flier or ad to receive $5 off a $25 purchase