For the past few weeks, we, the staff, have taken over Jinny’s blog on several occasions to let you see while the staff is keeping to home when we are not at the Studio. Today we have for you our last installment, at least for a while, on Quarantine Quilts.
Even though she is in the middle of moving to Ohio, before she left us at the Studio, JJ made sure to send us photos of her latest projects with the note, “Everyone is showing off more quilts than me so I look like a slacker!” Just looking at her Moon Glow quilt, finished and quilted, we think you will agree that this woman is no slacker.
JJ also sent a picture of this adorable quilt, also finished and quilted. Sewology is a BOM from a quilt shop in Utah and we are sure it is going to look wonderful in her new sewing room.
Just in time for Easter, Cathy finished this lovely Easter Cross by Martha D-Zines. The second photo shows how it started. The method is pinwheel twist using the Lil’ Twister tool.
Cathy also has been working on this simple but adorable pattern called Ebb Tide by Villa Rosa Design. The fabric is Home Sweet Gnome by Cotton & Steel (Sarah Watts). Her daughter happens to love gnomes and Cathy wanted a mindless and relaxing project.
In addition to the masks she has been making, Dana has been working on her Lemur quilt, an Elizabeth Hartman design. There is a total of 20 lemurs and she has made her way through four! She is using Jinny’s fabrics, a mix of palette, some collections and batiks. She is also using C See’s Portable Design Mat because “it is totally perfect for small pieces!”
Dana is trying to keep a sense of normalcy even working from home and tries to dress up as much as she can for work…but with slippers. For a “comfy” outfit to change into when work is done, she made this quarantine top some knit fabrics that she had with cats to enjoy the comfort of her home. The quilt behind her is the one her grandmother made for her, quilted entirely by hand.
And since she and her husband, Alen, are using this time to decorate their house. Wanting to wallpaper a wall in our dining room, they ordered this peel and stick wallpaper from Spoonflower. Dana says “it is divine and super easy to work with – it even feels like fabric.”
Since the retail shop is closed to walk-in customers, Rebecca took home the Border Play sample she made and machine quilted it. She loves the color combination! Now she just has to bury threads and bind it, so it will be hanging up whenever we are ready to reopen. She basted five other quilts including this Labyrinth, so there will be lots of quilting in the days and weeks ahead! She has also made 60 masks for family, friends, neighbors, and hospital workers.
You’ve gotten a glimpse into what we are up to during this strange time. Now, we’d love to see what you’re doing. Share your pictures on our Facebook page.
People from all over the world are finding ways to say thank you to the healthcare workers, the first responders, people who are keeping the essential stores open. It’s one way they find that they can make even a small contribution to the pandemic that has hit our world. My daughter is an ER doctor. She had a malfunction of her protective gear while performing CPR on a COVID 19 patient. She is now in a 14 day quarantine and cannot leave her bedroom.
Friends came by and wrote this thank you on their sidewalk . She could see it from her window. Other friends brought cookies and left a thank you note. She’s receiving thanks in many ways. As quilters, we also look for a way we can do something and make a small contribution to what is happening all around us. There’s not one of us who hasn’t been touched in some way by COVID 19.
In the past when national disasters have occurred, we’ve gotten together at the Studio and had sew-ins making quilts for the victims of the disasters. We are not able to get together this time. We all have to stay home. We have been told that everyone should wear masks for protection when they are apt to encounter other people. Many of my extended family members do not sew and do not have access to purchased masks. So, I asked a simple question of my staff “is anybody making masks and if so what pattern are you using.” I received back a barrage of emails. They are ALL making masks…for friends, neighbors, family, health institutions, homeless shelters, nursing homes, etc. There is a wide variety of patterns that have been used and styles and techniques. If you feel inclined to make some masks (I know many of you already are) I hope you find this information helpful.
I can’t tell you the best mask pattern to use. It all depends on what the needs are, how much time you want to take, what supplies you have available, etc. But I can pass on to you some of the staff comments and tips.
There are basically two kinds of mask patterns available: ones that are molded to fit the face and ones that are pleated rectangles.
Securing the masks:
There are also different ways to secure the masks. Some have elastic bands that fit behind the ears. Others have ties that go around the head and neck. Ties can be made of bias binding, cording, ribbon, etc. My favorite (and easiest) is to cut ties from old t-shirts. Cut one-inch strips running parallel to the hem. Pull them and they curl into a cord. The stretchiness helps to make a more secure tie. I keep the tie all in one piece. The loop goes over the head and the ties are tied behind the neck.
Fabric to use:
Quilting fabric has been recommended by many experts because of the high thread count. Amongst quilting fabric, batiks are especially good because they are made with fabric with an even greater thread count. Either type will work very well.
Here’s what some members of my staff have been doing.
I’m using the pattern for the Olson mask. There is even a pattern for a child aged 2-5. The Olson mask is made up of 6 pieces. The insides should have two different colors to identify the place where you can insert a heppa filter.
So far, I have not gotten beyond making masks for family and friends. I’m using a combination of two patterns with pleats, primarily one from Erica Made Designs. So far, I have lined them with a lightweight interfacing and will be moving on to flannel lining next. I’m impressed with the studies which say that these masks made of quilting fabric have a 70 to 79% filtration rate.
Here is mine and my husband’s. I’m sure you can tell whose is whose.
I’ve made two styles of masks so far for friends and family. They’ve been shipped as far as Atlanta! Both of them have two layers of fabric (I’m using a batik and white sheeting, both of which are the higher thread count recommended and the inside/outside is obvious); both have nose wires (also recommended); one has a pocket for a filter. Both patterns call for elastic but I’ve been using WOF double-fold straps (cut on the straight- grain) which is apparently more comfortable and can allow for a better fit.
The first pattern is the fitted style; very comfortable. Takes a bit longer to make. Second is the pleated mask; I think this will be my go-to pattern as it is faster.
I have joined the mask making brigade also but am working on family and extended family (workers at our family’s restaurant) for now. Some of the ones I make are custom ordered like the Willie Nelson bandana and the wolf mask. Each family member is as unique as their mask.
One quick tip I found to make it easier is to zigzag stitch the wire or pipe cleaner in the seam allowance on the top of the mask BEFORE you turn the mask right side out….this makes the placement and guidance easier so as not to worry about hitting it with my needle. Doesn’t matter which pattern you are using.
I have used several different patterns and have modified most of them to reduce the cutting and numbers of seams to sew. The ties seem to be better for fitting.
I am using muslin or colored cotton for the inside lining. Most of them have the pocket to add some kind of additional filter if needed. My stash is finally serving a valiant purpose although it may not make a significant dent. Having fun and sewing with a purpose: the 2020 version of Rosie the Riveter with a sewing machine
I am using T-shirts for straps – really a time saver.
I have been making masks for Johns Hopkins Hospital (pattern here), where my son-in-law works, my allergist’s practice, as well as family, neighbors and friends. To date, I have made over 400!!
I did have to try one with border print fabric. I centered the mirror image motif of the fabric in the middle of the rectangle.
I have made some masks for my family and some friends who have asked. I tried to find some “manly” fabric scraps for the guys and fun fabrics for the girls! Although, I did have to make a mask for my husband and he wanted cats – go figure! I will probably be making more for him to go to work (he is a DC police detective) as they are not providing these essential things due to the lack of resources and will be sending along any extras for other people in his office as needed.
I used quilting cottons for the outside and a Jinny batik for the inside (coordinating of course)! I had read that using batiks was good as the weave is tighter than other fabrics. I also had some extra interfacing that I added to the inside as an extra layer of protection.
I tried a few patterns but found that I liked this one the best. It can be secured around the neck and head without having to take it off and constantly be setting it down or touching it.
I have been making masks for family. I am using the Olson Mask tutorial that Diane used. I have found the long loop is more comfortable than my ancient, scratchy elastic. I made my loop tie from cotton fabric cut at 3/4” then I fold it in half lengthwise, iron it flat, then run it through my serger. So far, it is working well. I use one layer of quilting fabric and the lining is from a sheet.
I am using the patterns from millionmaskchallenge.com, which was started by a group of women in our area. There are two kinds – one is a cover for an N95 mask, and the other is a basic mask for people in their daily lives. (How weird is it that this is part of our daily lives?!)
Two indispensable items: Wonder Clips and the ByAnnie stiletto!
I started by using some old bias and twill tapes I got from my mom, but have run out of those. After two painful evenings making bias tape, I read about the T-shirt strips. Genius!
Here is a photo of the masks I made for family in Colorado, a mix of the Olson Mask using ponytail holders for the ear elastic (more comfortable and readily available at my grocery store), and pleated masks with ties made of cross grain cut 2″ strips.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from my contact at Operation Homefront, a non-profit to which my quilt guild donates baby blankets for the baby bundles they give to new military moms. I was asked if I could ask my quilting friends to make masks (any kind, ties or elastic, formed or pleated) for distribution at Walter Reed Hospital.
Off to the loft to make more masks.
I’ve been making masks for my family and friends and both my sisters are doing the same. I have found doing the masks very calming and a way of thinking about each person as I sew for them. My son is a woodworker so he got hammer and nails, my husband sails so boats on his, my friend is a gardener, so gardening tools for her. My granddaughter, Ruthie, is learning how to ride her new bike so hers has bicycles! Here’s the pattern I’m using. I’m making version #2 in the video but not doing the pocket, just one whole piece replacing it.
Now for me…
I used the same video that Lura used above and also made #2. I have so far made the masks for family and friends. I used fusible interfacing inside for extra protection. I have a couple of tips.
Cut the interfacing about 3 inches shorter on one end then center it over the rectangle and iron it down. The extra bulk won’t be a factor in making and sewing the pleats and casing.
If you are going to make a casing to run your ties through, it can be difficult to get a safety pin through all those folds. I decided to use a medium-size metal crochet hook. It went through the casing easily and I hooked the t-shirt ties and pulled it right through.
I folded the pipe cleaners over about half an inch on each end so that the metal wouldn’t cut through the fabric with repeated washings.
When we first had the idea of showing you on the blog what the staffers are working on at home, we had no idea that it would be enough for several posts. Today, we continue on with our look into their sewing rooms.
Lura has been working on her lovely Rose Star quilt blocks for a while and now they are all done. She chose this gray-green background fabric of Jinny’s from her Coventry collection and is on the hunt for a little more to do the borders. She wonders if any Jinny Beyer fans can help?
In addition, she is another member of the staff to do the “Quarantine Quilt-along” by Gudrun Erla. Lura’s “Elvira” was done in done in Charley Harper fabrics.
Elaine finished the quilting on her husband Dan’s penguin quilt, made in commemoration of his trip to Antarctica last year. The design, “Penguin Party” is by Elizabeth Hartman. How adorable is that!
Nancy recently finished quilting this Feathered Star the night before it had to be photographed for a quilt show so the binding was only glued onto the back. This was quickly sewn down when the quarantine began. Jinny’s Aruba fabric is the background and the deep red Delhi fabric is the perfect border. The quilt was inspired by her favorite piece at the “Infinite Variety” quilt show in Manhattan in 2011.
This second quilt goes way back to the 2013 Quilters’ Quest. It was called “Potomac Charms” and the top was a sample for the Studio. Working on the hand quilting this winter with a “big stitch” it reminded her of an Alpine sunset seen while hiking this past summer and the quilt was renamed “Mont Blanc Sunset.”
And finally, the step-outs for Nancy’s “No Tear Paper Piecing” class were getting a little ratty so she just sewed them all together. The quilt is filled with Jinny’s fabric and Palette #122 makes the perfect background. She’s now working on a pieced border with 100+ flying geese.
We hope you’ve enjoyed looking into what the staff has been up to. At the rate they are sewing away, we will be back with more soon.
I hope you can forgive me if I brag a bit about the talent of the quilters who work here. In the past two blogs we have shared some amazing quilts from a few of our staffers and now we have more on the way.
Not every quilt shop can talk about the beautiful quilts from their accountant but we can. Here are just a couple of projects our accountant, Julia, is working on.
First is this small quilt top (33″ square) which is the “Liberty Squares” pattern by Toby Lischko. It was started in a workshop with Toby around 7-8 years ago. Only a couple of the 4″ blocks were completed at the time. It was started with fabric from Jinny’s Northern Lights collection. In February and early March, Julia finally completed the rest of the squares. This past week she added two Bedfordshire fabrics for the borders. For the binding, she is using the same green as the inner border. She’s at a loss right now as to how to quilt it but it will probably be by machine to get it done.
The second quilt many of you may recognize as it is from the recent Quarantine Quilt-along by Gudrun Erla on Facebook. Julia’s stack of Andalucia fat quarters was close at hand so that was what she used. It was a very quick quilt top to assemble, finishing at 49″ x 63″ and now, she says, it joins the growing pile of tops to quilt.
There are several projects Kelley is working on at the moment. First, she’s piecing the final border (Delectable Mountains) of this medallion quilt from “The Quilt Show.” It is called “Halo Medallion” designed by Sue Garman. Kelley says it’s been labor intensive and she is excited about finishing it. She used mostly Jinny’s fabric with the exception of the focus fabric and the background.
Apparently, Kelley is not one to shy away from tough projects. Several of the staffers have challenged each other to make Jinny’s Moon Glow quilt and Kelley just finished sewing the blocks together and is ready to quilt it. That is quite an accomplishment.
An easier project is this “Easy Threesy” table runner from a Karen K. Buckley workshop. It has all Jinny Beyer fabric except for the woven black background. Kelley is just about to quilt this one, too.
Finally, Kelley has also been working on a new project, the Quilter’s Trek block for the Studio. We can’t show it to you now. We will reveal it in a couple of months but we are all happy with how it is turning out.
Speaking of Moon Glow, Judy is using this time to get back to hers. This group project was started last February; some have finished or made more progress than others. Judy is making hers larger so she’s not finished but here is her progress to date.
Judy, like Julia, followed the quilt-along with Gudrun Erla and here is her version of “Elvira.” She started with a few fat quarters and then had to hunt up more to complete it. What a difference between the two quilts.
Those were lots of beautiful quilts but we will have even more for you next time.
We are back today with more quilts from staff members who are spending a lot of time at home. We hope you enjoyed the quilts of Diane and Carole. Next up is Elizabeth and Linda.
Elizabeth was working on this Seagrass matchstick quilt from Craftsy for a quick wedding present. Unfortunately, the wedding was postponed until August taking away any sense of urgency in completing it.
Once Jinny’s new Impressions fabric arrived, as Elizabeth says, she “dropped Seagrass and picked some Sweet Tea.” She is making the shop sample of this new quilt and it is looking good.
Linda is busy as always with lots of projects in the works.
When the pattern for Jinny’s Sweet Tea was ready to go, Linda got to make the first sample. She chose purples and teals along with a Casablanca border print and completed this lovely top.
This triangle square quilt is for her nephew’s baby, Sophia, using Palette #149 as a background and random grey fabrics. All of the fabrics are from her stash.
While organizing her sewing room, Linda discovered a long missing piece of County Clare border print to finish a kaleidoscope quilt made as a class sample using Marti Michell’s kaleido-ruler and pattern. With it was the backing which looks perfect with the front. Don’t you just love when you make discoveries like that?
Also in-process is this Disney Frozen panel for her granddaughter’s 3rd birthday. The icy blue Milan fabric will be a great backing for a quick quilt. It seems all little girls love Elsa and Anna!
Twenty years ago, Linda’s daughter selected the pattern from a Fons and Porter book “Quick Quilts from the Heart” as her college quilt. She then changed her mind and wanted a 30s fabric quilt so this quilt top sat in the UFO pile. About 10 years ago, Linda started trying to quilt the top. Nothing went right and finally all the stitches needed to be removed and batting replaced. Now, after a year of removing stitches, she quilted it on the longarm and it is done (with a little help from the kitty)!
We have more staff quarantine quilts coming to share with you so keep watching for the next post on the blog.
We staff, on occasion, take over Jinny’s blog usually when we have a snow day. Many of us have read about global pandemics in works of fiction but could never have imagined we would have to live through it. So now, spending more time at home, we are doing what quilters around the world are doing—working on our quilts.
As you will see in the quilts we share today, we tend to work on a few projects at once. Don’t you?
You may recognize this table runner. It is from the same designer as the Showering Stars quilt we had for a Weekly Web Special. Diane is making a table runner and a second. She has shortened one by leaving off the two end pieces and making placemats with it. How clever!
Above is the border for a quilt made for a class Diane was supposed to teach. The flowers and circles are amazing. She is still trying to decide what she wants the quilt on the inside to be but I can’t stop looking at that border.
This final is one is just a UFO begun many years ago and loaded with Jinny’s fabrics. This strip quilt has great dimensional qualities just from the careful placement of lights and darks.
Carole also has several projects going, all amazing. First, she finished her quilt for the Sacred Threads “Backyard Escape” Challenge. Using mostly Jinny’s fabrics and paints, it depicts a painted birdhouse given to her by her grandson, Rhys, a few years ago. She hung it on a branch of the dogwood tree next to her deck and a bird built her nest inside, raising her little family.
Two other projects are still in the works. First, ten members of Fiber Artists@Loose Ends are each making a piece for the beginning of a series that may be called “World Wide Threads,” this one depicting East Asia. They have to measure 16” in width, but length can vary up to 45”. For her background, Carole is using part of a Japanese room divider. She painted it then added beads (about 475 of them!) and embroidery. She also added some sashiko stitching, appliquéd and painted a crane, then appliquéd pine branches and bamboo using all Jinny Beyer fabrics. Whew!
And finally, Carole is working on one section of a triptych (not knowing what the others look like) depicting a town on Islay, in Scotland. It is one page of a calendar and the Quilters of Islay are doing a challenge to recreate the twelve photographs in fabric. The quilts will become part of a travel exhibit. The photograph is shown with her work in progress. She painted the sky and the two brown textured fabrics chosen for the landscape are Jinny’s…perfect! Other Jinny Beyer fabrics are in waiting for the rocks, snowy road, wall, houses, etc.
Diane and Carole are just two members of our staff. We have lots more to show you so keep checking back in the days to come. But before we go, the staff doesn’t have as much time at home as you would think. Why? While our retail store is closed, upstairs in mail order, it has been quite busy. Our manager, Rebecca, sent this photo of what she and others have been up to which is filling your orders and getting those needed supplies out to you.
When bad weather forces us to close the Studio, we spend our day as many of you would—working on our quilting projects. Here’s a quick look at how many of we staffers spent our free day.
Jinny is currently in the middle of taping the lessons for her new block of the month, Stellaris, so that’s what she worked on all while watching the birds and snow outside her window.
Nancy finished up the machine quilting on one quilt and continued hand quilting with a “big stitch” on a Quest quilt from 2013.
J.J. visited her brother in Utah last fall and discovered a BOM called Sewology from American Quilting, a quilt shop in Orem. Here is a photo of the beginning of hers along with her cat, Buckeye. Can you guess that J.J. is from Ohio?
For Linda, it was a day of catching up with projects. Putting binding on a class sample, labels on recently finished quilts, the next block in the Moon Glow staff challenge (more on that in another blog) and continuing to hand piece 9-patches for Jack’s Chain quilt is how she spent her day. The lighting is perfect in the sunroom on a snow day!
Maria is at Bethany Beach with five quilting friends. (Aren’t we jealous!) With wonderful company and food, she is working on the appliqué part of her Jen Kingwell “Golden Days“ quilt.
With two new grandsons born 3 weeks apart, Lura is hard at work on baby quilts. On the left of each quilt are possible backings.
Julia quilted a baby quilt for an Operation Homefront baby shower.
Judy summed it up when she said, “So it’s amazing how much you can do without interruptions.” She worked on the Moon Glow blocks and put together the blocks for a charity quilt. She also finished up the machine appliqué on a BOM border and put on the last border so it’s ready for quilting. Wow, she did accomplish a lot.
And finally, Rebecca started the day with a little hand quilting on her Facets quilt then headed to the airport to catch a flight to Nashville and the QuiltCon quilt show. We know she made it as far as the gate and hope she got out.
Whether it is snowy like here in the DC area or warm and sunny where you are, everyone should take a “snow day” every now and then.
I have been a bit lax in sending out blogs, but it has been an extremely busy time. We spent a lot of time getting ready for Quilters’ Quest, our annual shop hop. Over the summer and early fall, I designed, hand pieced and hand quilted our Third Rock quilt.
Next, I went to Quilt Market in Houston. It is always fun to see shop owners and old friends plus find new items to carry at the Studio. Upon my return, I faced the 10 days of the shop hop. I love to be at the shop during Quest and am the “official greeter and passport stamper.” So I was there every day at least from 9 am to 7 pm and for the four days of our bus tour I was there from 7 am until 7 pm. While it was tiring it was even more exhilarating, meeting new people and seeing friends who have come in the past.
Our theme this year was “movies” and we chose “Around the World in 80 Days”. We had a popcorn machine (how can you see a movie without having popcorn?), hot air balloon lanterns, flags of the world and other products and decorations relating to the theme.
All in all it was a fun 10 days and we had a lot of participants from outside our local region. Why not think about participating in the Quest next year?
Many of you who have seen the Third Rock quilt have asked if there is a kit or pattern. Unfortunately, to make one just like my Quest quilt you have to have participated in the Quest since you needed to collect the swatches of 6” squares from each shop. However, I also designed the quilt in batik fabrics.
The kit comes in the two colorways shown here and has everything you need for the top and binding. While it looks very complex, it is actually quite easy to sew. The quilt is made with all straight line sewing, even though it has the illusion of curves. The kit also includes full size foundations printed on tissue paper.
Now that Quest is over, it is time for my favorite holiday of the year and I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
The shop will be closed on Thursday, November 23 but will reopen at 10:00 am on Friday, November 24. Hope to see you soon!
Jinny has turned the blog over to me today so let me introduce myself. My name is Nancy Fallone and I’m half of the marketing team here at the Studio. That job keeps me behind the curtain at the Studio or at the keyboard at home working on newsletters, web specials, classes, Facebook and such but what I want to talk about today is the most fun part of my job. That would be organizing and riding on the Quilters’ Quest buses.
Quilters’ Quest is our annual shop hop which encourages quilters to explore 10 area quilt shops this year running from November 9th through the 18th. For details on how the Quest works, visit http://www.quiltersquest.org/.
For many, driving to each of those shops can seem a bit daunting so we offer the option of riding one of our Quest buses. As in the past, we have two buses, one on the weekend and one during the week each covering all 10 shops, each in two days. Jinny is there to greet you bright and early each morning with a continental breakfast and the chance to shop before the Studio officially opens. We then bid the Studio farewell and the true fun starts.
While traveling from shop to shop, the former park ranger in me just can’t resist passing along not only information on the next shop but a bit of area history and attractions. To ensure an attentive audience, prizes are given out in our famous trivia contests. We provide beverages and snacks along with an optional bag lunch.
Every shop on the Quest has a unique feel with new and different items. There are demos and special projects many using fabric designed exclusively for that year’s Quest.
My favorite part of the Quest, though, is spending time with the wonderful quilters from across the country (and sometimes from around the world) who join us. I don’t know how we get so lucky to have such a great group each year.
I recently asked one of the quilters who has been with us each year about why she keeps coming back all the way from upstate New York. Linda had seen the Quest advertised in the newsletter but didn’t want to drive it. When the bus trip started, she bribed her daughter, Belynda, who didn’t quilt or sew, into going with her by paying her way. By the second shop, Belynda was buying fabric with ideas for what her mom could make. But guess who sews now.
Linda writes “Last year when Belynda was expecting our wonderful gift of a granddaughter, we bought lots of fabric to make things for the baby. I said to her that I supposed that that would be our last Quest bus trip. Her comment was ‘What are you talking about? My husband is perfectly capable of babysitting for 2 days!’”
Our weekend Quest bus is Friday and Saturday, November 10th & 11th (with just a few seats left) and our weekday bus is Wednesday and Thursday, November 15th & 16th. Details can be found on our website. We would love to have you join us!
Some might say that just working for Jinny Beyer is an adventure in itself. Yes, we love being a part of this behind-the-scenes glimpse of the quilting business watching fabrics and designs from conception to the finished product. We get to meet and speak with people from around the world every day. Jinny herself, though, makes it fun and brings her spirit of adventure not just in her quilts and fabrics but even into things like surprises for the staff.
In the past, we’ve been surprised with glass blowing lessons, beat-the-clock shopping, Japanese temari and mystery dinners. This year, she did it again. The date was set for this past weekend. It started as a Christmas gift idea but the weather probably wouldn’t cooperate in winter for an outside event so it came as a huge surprise outing in May. We were told to not wear loose clothing and what we did wear should be cotton. Tie back long hair and bring fireplace tongs. We figured it would involve fire but other than that we were stumped.
We met with fireplace tongs in hand and headed off just down the road a bit from the Studio to our secret destination…Pig Pen Pottery. Jinny thought that since color is so important to us in all our work, it would be fun to experiment with color in other fields of art.
Jinny has known Laura Nichols, our potter, for years. She is a founding member of Great Falls Studios, an organization of more than 100 artists in the Great Falls area, and is well known in the community. She lives in a wonderful historic home, the same house that she grew up in and her studio is just steps away in a small house her father built for his parents. Laura is also talented, patient and lots of fun.
Since time was limited and there were 10 of us, Laura had a selection of unglazed pots waiting for us. Our job was to choose two pots and decided which glaze or combination of glazes we wanted and how to apply them. We could dip, pour or paint them on. Once that was done, into the kiln they went.
Since only about six or seven could be fired at a time, we got to try our hands at throwing a pot on the wheel. Only one of us had any experience (or talent) but it was fun just the same.
We also had the opportunity to take a walk around Laura’s beautiful property with her dogs and two goats in tow!
When the pots were finally ready, we removed them from the kiln, rolled them on a bed of wood shavings on top of sand and then put a galvanized bucket on top and let them slowly cool. We were surprised to discover that what they looked like when we last saw them was not what they looked like when the bucket was removed. It was for each of us a wonderful surprise to see the finished pot in the end.
Yes, Jinny pulled off another big surprise and once again treated us to a fabulous adventure.