Making Work

Coil Cups, originally uploaded by Nancy Polo Pritchard.

It’s a rainy Wednesday and I have nothing better to do than set up our blog for La Capretta. For those of you new to La Capretta– it is an annex of the farm Smith Meadows in Berryville, VA, begun by Nancy Pritchard (resident artist and pasta entrepreneur). We are a little studio nested within a very productive free-range meat farm and fresh pasta operation in the Shenandoah Valley
La Capretta is an artist refuge for myself and visitors alike. Toward that end I took on an apprentice to help me create the gardens, make art and take care of my son, Linus.

Lynsi Pasutti has been here for over a month– hard to believe. She has made fantastic work with various clays and methods. My favorites are her coil cups and key holes. She uses a technique she learned from a visiting artist (Jennifer Forsberg) at St. Benedict’s in Minnesota. Lynsi has incredible patience and an ease of spirit that translates well into her fluid creations. Visit her website for a closer look at her portfolio

I returned to the wheel after I don’t know how many years? 6 or 7? Yup! it’s just like riding a bike, but harder on your back. Our idea to set the wheel on cinder blocks has saved our hips, if not our lower backs. My newest accomplishments are some handle-less smoothie cups, thrown and carved whiskey cups, some bowls and a start on a sculptural night light for Linus. I am a reluctant potter who dreams in watercolor and acrylics while my hands get dirty in white clay.

The garden continues to be our greatest challenge. The first bed has been mulched and composted. Lavender salvaged from the gardens at the Winchester Medical center by my friend Cindy were planted in a rush a week ago. I had to get them in the ground before yet another thunderstorm. They don’t look so great this week with more rain. I can’t tell what I did wrong, but they are so sad. Something sprouted through the mulch, but I confess that I can’t tell whether it is a four o’clock or just another weed. As you can tell, I am a very inexperienced gardner. Thankfully I have many friends to help me along this journey. Jill Evans-Kavaldjian initially helped me lay out and dig the first beds. Lynsi keeps me grounded with her enthusiasm and we continue to laugh at ourselves as we venture forth with gathering compost, free mulch and plants. Former farm apprentice, David Carroll, and current farm apprentices, Steffany Yamada and Thomas Underwood, are kind enough to offer help and wisdom. Here’s a slide show of our activities:

Visit our blog again soon.
Our next post should include notes and fotos of our first bisque and news of Lynsi’s first firing with local artist potter Mizue Croswell of Fortune Island Pottery.

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