It's that time of year! Time for the Bella Joy Pottery Annual Holiday Open Studio.
This year it will be held on December 14 from 11-5 and December 15 from 12-4.
Did you know that I started having an open studio before there was even a Bella Joy Pottery? The first holiday open studio was actually in a house, in my parents' dining room to be exact. I was a senior in college and I had amassed a ton of pottery. That may be an exaggeration, but my work was a lot heavier back then so it might have been a literal ton of pottery.
My parents were so kind to let me do that. My friends from school came and my parents invited their friends too. I made close to $1000! I was so excited that I bought everyone Chinese! (Back then Chinese food was still kind of special, Chinese buffets hadn't started yet.)
Then later when Bella Joy Pottery became a legit business, the open studio moved out to the chicken coop, and then of course to the new studio. I think I have only taken one or maybe two years off, but now I do it even if no one shows up. Luckily that hasn't happened, because I have the best, most loyal customers, but you never know.
I enjoy that time in the studio because I feel like it's the only time of year I get to slow down and really talk to people. I do really enjoy talking with my customers and connecting with them.
I had a friend, Tom Moon, and his wife Marylyn, that would come to the open studio before the open studio started! Tom liked to be early and I was always running behind, but we made it work. I met Tom when I used to work at the Doster Country Store. He was a retired college professor and we hit it off. When I first stared Bella Joy Pottery out Tom would come visit me and I think he could tell I was struggling financially so he asked if I would type up his memoir for him. It was great experience. Tom and his wife Marylyn were both originally from Plainwell, MI and I loved learning more about them, their families, and local history (like the woolly mammoth remains that were unearthed in the 1950s, not far from the studio). I met Tom and Marylyn's sons and extended family and they all bought my pottery. It was really nice. Sadly, this summer, Tom died and I was away at a art fair and missed Tom's funeral. That makes me sad. They have a unique family burial plot that dates back to the 1800's in the woods of their yard. (Yes, we are that rural.) Rest well my friend.
Another customer and friend I lost this year was Gary Peake. I also met Gary way back when I worked at the Doster Country Store. Gary used to stop by the new studio about once a month and some times brought snacks! I love snacks. He was the first person I actually listened to about mediation. Before that, I thought it was all hogwash. Gary was a very kind and gentle soul, that's was probably why I listened to him. Gary didn't try and push meditation on me, he talked about how it helped him. He talked often to me about his daughter and he loved his two granddaughters. Gary's death was different than Tom's, Gary was murdered, which in my opinion brings a whole new level of sadness. And sadly, again I was out of town for his funeral. Rest well my friend.
Well this post took a turn. I was sitting here thinking about all the customers I get to see this weekend and visit with. Then I thought of two customers I would miss, but I am thankful that they were here with me for part of my journey.