Elizabeth Reynolds started working with hand-built ceramics when her children started elementary school. She credits a friend for asking her to join a series of classes in 1993 at Castaway Ceramics in South Augusta and was “immediately enthralled with the feel of the clay and the transformation of a thought into a completed clay creation.” She made small things at home and would have Castaway Ceramics fire them. Over time, she studied with Linda Guthrie. Ruth Mums and other friends would meet at her home to work on their individual projects. When she started buying her supplies from Ceramics Unlimited in North Augusta, she was approached about teaching classes and “somewhere along the way I started selling” added Reynolds. Around 2002, Reynolds participated in Ceramics Unlimited children’s camps with themes from around the world and in 2010 started instructing pottery classes/camps at the August Jewish Community Center. Since 2006, she has conducted classes in her home studio for students with disabilities, such as autism, asbergers syndrome, cerebral palsy, hearing impaired and the blind. She is also an instructor at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta.
One of Reynolds’s favorite stories happened last year when she was teaching at the Jewish Community Center. A student started putting vinegar on the back of the pottery because she thought she knew how to do it. Reynolds asked her “do you think I know what I am doing?” She did not answer the first time, but the second time the student slowly and silently shook her head "no!”
To stay inspired, Reynolds regularly attends workshops. She will attend wheel throwing workshops and always comes away with something new. She added, “I spent a lot of time with Twilla Brock. Brock would throw and make bowls, fire them and take the bowls to art exhibits and fairs. Brock would sell a pot to a customer, have the customer glaze it, Raku fire it, and it was available for pick-up in an hour. I helped her on the weekends and when she exhibited in Anderson (SC). This was my learning curve.”
Currently, Reynolds is working with Raku and explained that Raku “is a Japanese 17th century technique with clay that has to be prepped to take a lot of thermal shock glazes specific to the Raku process. The kiln is heated to 1850 degrees, turned off, and with gloves and tongs the pieces are placed in a fire proof container with newspaper. The newspaper catches fire after the lid is lowered creating a reduction atmosphere that produces luminous color, almost like a piece of jewelry. This process is much quicker than the kiln which takes 24 hours to fire and cool. I love Raku-I am a Raku junky!”
She participates in the Clay Artists of the Southeast and served as President from 2008-2010 and has been a member of the Potters Council since 2006. She won Honorable Mention 3-D Art at the Spring Fling 2011 held at the Arts and Heritage Center. She regularly attends the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conferences and other workshops when time allows. Reynolds added “pottery classes are cheaper than therapy and you have something to show for it afterwards. There is nothing I enjoy more than spending a day in my studio either teaching or working in clay.”
Reynolds plans to host an open house November 25 & 29, and December 1 at 820 Woodlawn Avenue where she will be selling “a little bit of everything like bird houses, ornaments, etc.” Times will be announced.
Reach Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BETH JONES IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE NORTH AUGUSTA ARTISTS GUILD.