Saturday, January 1, 2011

A trip to meet a Lucky man

Mark and I slipped out of Norfolk a day behind our scheduled visit with Dan Finnegan in Fredericksburg Va.
It was our plan to take a trip up there to return his work and the work of Hannah and Doug when we packed up the Clay and Blogs show at the end of October.
The trip up was quite nice and we looked forward to meeting Dan and seeing his place. I had a bit of a taste of it from Hollis as he had posted about stopping in there on his travels to North Carolina for the show.
We would not be disappointed with our time there.
Meeting the various potters has really been the highlight of the show for me and Mark.
We walked into a spacious and beautiful building that is the LibertyTown Arts Workshop started in 2001.
As soon as we walked in we were stuck with how well laid out and organized the place was. There was someone with not only a sense of place but a sense of flow of space behind  all of this.
And as soon as we meet Dan we realized it was him.
Dan has spent the last 30 years in Fredericksburg and has taken a vision and put that vision to work.
I have spent time in and out of many non-profits in NC who are trying to do what Dan has done with out the success I saw there on the visit we had that day.
Meeting Dan was like meeting up with an old friend.
I found him to be very  warm and inviting.
The type of person who is so willing to give himself and share his life with you.
Dan gave us a tour of the facility which includes a school and 2 floors of studio space.
The studio spaces were all well laid out and full.
There was not a space that was not being used.
Beautiful and creative artist filled every room.
In talking with Dan about his vision and building I came back to what I have heard over and over again.
It takes one dedicated person with vision to make something work.
It was clear to me that is happening there.
I hope anyone who finds them self in the area will stop in.
This is a trip fully worth taking.
After a great lunch next door Dan offered to take us out to see his studio about 11 miles out of town.
Of course we wanted to go.
We rode out of town and as the houses fell away behind us we found our self in Dan's bit of paradise.

These two building house his studio space, storage and kiln.
Now let's talk about this kiln.
I have seen many, many kilns in the past 30 years my self but this kiln is a work of art all by it's self.
Drool away it is a feast for the eyes.

And not only is this a beauty of a kiln the pottery coming out of it is wonderful as well.
I have enjoyed watching as Dan has taken flight with the birds he is making along with his Teapots, mugs, jugs, bowls and other works.
The birds are so much fun to see in person although all but a few have already gone to live with some lucky owner.

Which brings me back to this lucky man.
A man who trained at the Winchcombe Pottery with Ray Finch in Gloucestershire, England in the late 1970's. A connection that continues through today with trips back to England in the summers.
A man who found himself in a small community and built not only a life for himself, but built a community within the community.
This lucky man has enriched the area he lives in by not just his art but by giving others a place to learn and work.
Dan said to me he feels like he is the Luckiest Man alive.
I think he is right.
Thanks Dan- we hope to see you again in the coming year when you bring Hannah and Doug to the States to share their talents with us.
Happy New Year this one holds great promise.


Hollis Engley said...

Yep, that's the guy. Glad you guys got to see all he's done in Fredericksburg.

Anna said...

LibertyTown is definitely a magical place!

Craig Edwards said...

Mmmm. What a wonderful person and place. I'll have to put that on the list.

cindy shake said...

Lucky Ducky!! Great post.

Linda Starr said...

would love to get up there one of these days especially to meet Dan and see all Friedricksburg has to offer.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

whoa, quite a kiln there!

Anonymous said...

so envious of your trip and meeting dan. that's one helluva kiln. i've loved the birds since he started making them and they're getting better all the time.

cookingwithgas said...

Well the new year is coming on fast- thank you all for your kind comments and go see Dan!

John Bauman said...

I can't wait to make the trip down there myself. Very nice write-up.

Hannah said...

Hi Meredith,
What a lovely post. I'm looking forward to seeing the place too, it sounds incredible. Thanks for taking the work for me and Doug, much appreciated.
Only three months till we come over...

Lizet said...

Oh wow! That kiln is so awesome! *JEALOUS*


You are right - that is an amazing kiln!