Beverly Purdue Art Gallery Showcases Work From Current and Historic Potters


Mackenzie Hammack

Potter Ros O’Brien talks about her work to a group of students. O’Brien is one of twenty artists featured in “Valley Pots Revisited.”

Mackenzie Hammack, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va.- On Jan. 9, the Beverly Purdue Art Gallery opened the exhibition “Valley Pots Revisited,” curated by Associate Professor of Art Michael Hough, that features work from active, retired and historic potters from the Shenandoah Valley.

The exhibition opened with a reception on the first day that featured a brief talk from Hough. In his talk, Hough introduced some of the artists in attendance that had work in the show before opening up the floor to questions and encouraging people to talk to the artists about their work. 

“This is the third time I’ve done a Shenandoah Valley pottery show, which is why it’s titled ‘revisited,’” said Hough. “Much of the works are from people I have known for years and four alum, who I taught to throw clay.”

Some of the historic works included in the show were provided by Professor of English Scott Suter, who is a descendant of one of the historic artists featured. Other historic pieces featured include fragments found by Hough and students on a riverbank near the college. 

“This show took longer to install than any show I’ve ever done because of getting the artists here and getting everything laid out, so it flows. This took about eight days to fully realize once it was finished,” said Hough.

During Hough’s talk, he also mentioned that many of his wheel thrown ceramics students were in attendance and that they would begin to produce their own works of pottery the next day.

“I’ve realized I have a lot of terminology to learn in the piece descriptions that I don’t recognize and know I’ll need to know by the end of the semester,” said junior Kara Eppard, who is one of Hough’s students.

After Hough’s talk, many of the artists in attendance stayed and were available to answer questions or talk about their work.

“It’s really wonderful to be part of a show that brings potters together from this area. We are all working in our individual studios and don’t often know each other,” said Ros O’Brien, who had three pieces of pottery in the show.

The show featured work from about twenty different artists, including Associate Professor of Art Eric Kniss and Hough himself. Hough’s work was also accompanied by a statement about his career at Bridgewater where he has taught pottery to over 400 students.

“I love all things clay,” said Hough. “I like to teach it, I like to showcase it, and, as the gallery director, it gives me a chance to reconnect with the local artists.”