Mary Baldwin University is the canvas this spring for events scheduled by two distinguished art organizations — the Virginia Watercolors Society and the Potters Council. The last week in May and first weekend in June welcomed workshops and exhibits on campus and in the surrounding city showcasing handcrafts from bowls, pitchers, and serving platters to portraits and still-lifes.
Potter Nan Rothwell, a 1992 graduate of the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs at Mary Baldwin, conceived the idea for The English Connection, a regional conference of the Potters Council — a nonprofit subsidiary of The American Ceramics Society. The idea for the conference theme came to Rothwell when she was thinking back on her early pottery studies at Harrow School of Art in Middlesex, England. Five of the conference’s six presenters attended the school, and now reside on separate sides of the Atlantic Ocean but continue to work in the English studio potters tradition. Nancy Ross, adjunct instructor of art at Mary Baldwin, helped organize the event and coordinate the use of Mary Baldwin facilities.
Conference participants began their weekend with presentations at Staunton’s Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center Friday June 2. Studio sessions with the featured potters continued Friday and Saturday at Mary Baldwin University, and the event wrapped up with a talk and performance at the Blackfriars Playhouse of the American Shakespeare Center, also in downtown Staunton.
The public was invited to attend the opening reception of the show featuring Virginia and Maryland potters Dan Finnegan, Nan Rothwell, and Bill Van Gilder, English artisans Sylvia Dales and Toff Milway, and Welsh potter Micki Schloessingk. Held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, the event was free and took place June 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. The show was also open for public viewing Friday and Saturday.
Beginning May 28, Deming Fine Arts Building on the Mary Baldwin campus was the site for artist workshops with internationally renowned painter, author, and teacher William “Skip” Lawrence [his paintingWalking Togetheris pictured at right] as a kickoff to the Virginia Watercolor Society’s 27th annual juried art exhibition. Lawrence, a Mt. Airy, Maryland, resident, received the High Winds Medal from the American Watercolor Society and his work has been featured in publications such as Watercolor Magic and The Artist’s Magazine.
Lawrence also served as juror for the annual exhibition, which started June 4 at the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art in Staunton. The show is free and open to the public through June 30. Work by nearly 80 artists from Staunton and around the state will be on display. Pictured at left is the 2005 Best in Show award winner,Outside Looking In, by Gari Stephenson of Roanoke.