Tag Archives: north georgia pottery

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Jaymi's experience with the Unusual presence of God

FNERs having fun
FNERs having fun

Times I know when God has had his hand in what I was creating.

As a clay artist, you know that God is with you because he has provided the earth that you are manipulating with your hands.  I have had several times where I know that God guided my hands.  There was also one piece that the spirit of the piece just was not happy.   I’ll tell that story first then tell you about my funky creatures.

I have made porcelain angels for ages and their wings have always been very beautiful and fragile. One day it was late, but I finished an angel and put it on the shelf to dry.  The next morning I came in the studio and the angel was on the floor.  The only thing that was broken was the wings.  So I picked her back up added wings and set her on the shelf making sure this time that she was not near the edge.

Painted angels
Painted angels

The next morning there she was on the floor again, and again only her wings were broken.  I set her on the shelf and I said “OK you don’t want to be an angel.  When you decide what you want to be just let me know?”  She is not on the shelf anymore so I don’t know where she went, but I hope she is finally happy.

I have always known that God is with me because he blessed me with talent to create art.  It is his talent that flows through my hands I do not take credit for it.

Mountain Laurel sculpture
Mountain Laurel sculpture

Fifteen years ago I had a large order of Mountain Laurel flower sculptures to make and I just was not in the mood.  I just set squeezing the clay between my fingers.  Pretty soon I started seeing these crazy creatures starting to evolve.  They made me laugh and I was no longer working I was having fun.  I named them “For No Reason” or Fners for short.  I put a pretty high price on them in the gallery I was then director of because I figured no one would buy them, so they were just there for the laughs.

Billy Pig talking to ant.
Billy Pig talking to ant.

Two weeks later 9/11 happened and a great sadness hung over all of us.  Within a month people started coming in the gallery and my Fners were walking out the door in great numbers.  I started asking people why are you purchasing them and the answer was, “I have been so depressed that I just need something in my life to make me smile again.”  Then I knew God had known what was going to happen and that people would need something to pick their spirits back up.  He provided it through my hands.

That was fifteen years ago and when I realized that I wanted to write a story about Fners that it has been years since I have made them.  Last week I started making them, again and again, my spirits just began to jump with joy.  That is when I realized that I had been down in spirit because arthritis in my hands is making it harder for me to sculpt.  Now I am back in the studio having a great time playing in the clay.  I'm already planning my next story about how my Spirit Homes came into being.

 

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Studio welcome
Photo by Patti Petit. @2016

Today everyone knows me as Patti Petit, the Running Rabbit Pottery Lady. But to family and childhood friends I have been and always will be “Bunny”. I was born in the Year of the Rabbit. My birth month is the month of the Rabbit Moon. My animal is the rabbit -- busy, nurturing and probably getting in everyone’s way. When I came to clay it was natural for me to call my studio Running Rabbit Pottery.

How I got there was from being a teenage painter in New Orleans to becoming a clay artist in the Northeast Georgia Mountains -- a long but joyous journey.

That's me, Patti, at work in my studio. @2016
That's me, Patti, at work in my studio. @2016

Life took one of “those turns.” I was no longer raising four children; managing five acres of gardens and vegetable crops and no more teaching. I missed the ever new scenes of nature around me, and I had been let go when my office closed. Job hunting filled some time but my fingers ached –- not to paint. I believed there were images, vignettes, in the clay, and I needed to root them out. I went to the University of South Alabama bookstore, bought 50 pounds of clay, three trimming tools and a sponge. In no time I was set up in the kitchen. My children feared I had tipped over the edge. If I had, clay had grabbed me, and it has never really let me go.

I continued studying anything about clay I could find. When I retired and moved to Cleveland, Georgia, I found a studio with classes my first week. I have always been a teacher at heart, loving seeing people “get it.” So, I was privileged to teach clay hand building to physically and mentally challenged adults for five years.

Through church, I met Jaymi Hampton who is also a Lady Fingers potter and a born encourager. She invited me to follow her to The Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts. I kept growing in clay, mostly sculpting small animals -- kittens, rabbits, crabs and the like. It was easy becoming part of the clay community in this nurturing environment. When the highway department took the gallery, I missed the tribe that had adopted and nurtured me.

From left to right: Patti, Susan Holmes, Jaymi Hampton
From left to right: Patti, Susan Holmes, Jaymi Hampton

Then a group in Helen, Georgia, decided to open an art and local history gallery. A dear friend and artist, Helen Greear, invited me to join. Shortly after, one of the members, Susan Holmes, asked if she could visit my studio and interview me for a newspaper article. Sue came, visited, met my studio cat Pippi Longstocking and asked if I gave classes. For three years Sue and her friend, Missy Whitlock, studied and had a glorious time in the studio. We learned so much. We shared our laughter, tears, triumphs and failures.

Our tribe is many things more than clay,  but clay found us, joined us and bound us. I am still the Running Rabbit, trying to pack as much into any studio day as possible. The studio grows and the emphasis changes as it should. My long-ago gardens find life in clay. The trees around me provide inspiration for new work. You can find a bit of my world and my shop at Running Rabbit Pottery on Etsy.

~ Patti