The Happy Potters Club has members at all skill levels. There are new members like me who are just learning the basics. There are those who are more accomplished and are learning advanced techniques. We also have a group of artisans that not only excel at their craft but share their skills through instruction and example and give advice and feedback. This article highlights one of our artisan level potters, Judie Smothers.
Judie received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and K-12 Education from Eastern New Mexico University. While abroad, she received additional training in clay and sculpting in Madrid. She has a broad spectrum of artistic skills including sculpture, painting, and pottery. Her background in education has given her numerous opportunities to train children and adults in various art applications. Judie told me that clay is her favorite medium and sculpture is her favorite clay application. Judie’s life experience has been marked by many changes in jobs and locations. Those changes brought about challenges and new opportunities that allowed her to try new things both in art and in her professional career.
As an experienced member of the Happy Potters, Judie collaborated with Carolyn Detjen and Pat Bender to develop a course curriculum for new potters. This course includes slab rolling, coil making, attachment procedures, pinch pots, and glazing techniques. Judie said, “This is a medium for anyone, the techniques are straightforward, but progress is up to you.” She emphasized the importance of seeking advice from other club members as we try new projects and methods. Judie instructed my beginner class and invited our small group into her home to see a dazzling collection of her paintings, sculptures, and various pottery pieces. The intricate detail and colors of her work are museum worthy.
Like many of us, Judie feels very fortunate to have access to the pottery studio and creative arts center. She said, “This studio is my refuge and happy place. We are so blessed to have this facility in our community.” If you haven’t visited the creative arts center and its many clubs, you are missing a very important benefit of living at Robson Ranch. I encourage you to visit the Happy Potters and start working with clay and our wonderful members like Judie Smothers.