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Pottery Festival forms link to valley's tradition

June 03, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The ceramic arts were celebrated on Saturday with the third annual Cumberland Valley Pottery Festival.

The festival is a combined effort of Renfrew Museum and Park and the Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies at Penn State Mont Alto, which brought together local potters from the Cumberland Valley Pottery Guild.

"It's the only pottery festival - clay pottery - that I'm aware of in Franklin County," said James Smith, the executive director of the Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies. "It's a great way to highlight and spotlight the talent in this area."

The festival included pottery demonstrations and sales, a silent auction of works donated by artists, hands-on pottery workshops led by Tom McFarland, Smith and the Mont Alto Pottery Cooperative, and music by The Home Comfort Band.

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"It's ever-changing, and hopefully it keeps growing," Bonnie Iseminger, administrator for Renfrew Museum and Park, said of the different groups involved in the festival.

Iseminger said the festival is an important event because it continues the tradition of pottery.

Adrian Grimes, 13, has been working with clay and the pottery wheel for about a year. His favorite part of the process is "making the pots." Grimes' mother, Staci, works for the Nicodemus Center for Ceramic Studies.

Renfrew Museum and Park holds a large collection of John Bell pottery, with 448 pieces of Bell family pottery in its collection.

"Cumberland Valley group is continuing that vein of producing quality pottery," Iseminger said.

Bell was born in 1800 in Hagerstown. He began a pottery business in Waynesboro in 1833 at what now is the corner of West Main and Potomac streets.

"That's the connection to the pottery," Iseminger said. "It continues the tradition of pottery in this valley - that caliber of pottery."

Funding for the event was provided, in part, by a grant from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts regrant program, administered by the Council for the Arts in Chambersburg, Pa.

Smith wrote the grant, which funded approximately $1,500 for the festival.

"The grant funds publicity and the cost of all the extraneous stuff that goes into the event," he said. "They've funded it each year."

The festival continues today from noon to 4 p.m.

If you go

What: Cumberland Valley Pottery Festival

When: Today, noon to 4 p.m.

Where: Renfrew Park and Museum, 1010 E. Main St., Waynesboro, Pa.

Admission is free.

For information, call 717-762-4723 or go to www.renfrewmuseum.org.

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