By Abbey Prevost
Join the Gallery at Plays in Mud Pottery on Sunday, December 10, for its Meet the Makers event. Master chairmaker and blacksmith Lyle Wheeler, along with his daughter and master potter Kelsey Schissel, will be providing live demonstrations and will be available for questions from guests about their craft. Schissel will be demonstrating live pottery throwing as well as leading small group sessions. Wheeler will be educating visitors on woodworking and moving hot iron. In addition, guests will be able to create and decorate their own Christmas ornaments. Schissel will finish the ornaments and they will be available for pickup on Monday, December 18. The event will run from 12–4 p.m. It is free of charge, but guests must pre-register online.
“I am excited to share my studio with people,” Schissel says about the event. “I love teaching and am pretty excited about helping people make some ornaments. They are quick and fun, kind of instant gratification.” Schissel encourages guests as young as five to come and make their own unique ornaments, making this a fun holiday event for the whole family. Along with the ornaments, Schissel will be demonstrating how to throw larger vessels on the wheel, and leading groups of four in techniques for handling clay, making patterns and attaching pieces together. “It’s exciting to see pots thrown on the potter’s wheel,” she says. “People describe it as mesmerizing and meditative. For those that have always wanted to try pottery, it’s a great opportunity to try hand building and get their fingers wet, so to speak.”
Wheeler started making chairs in 1978. “The blacksmithing came later as an extension of who I am,” he says, in reference to his long family history of craftsmanship. “The chairs I make today follow the patterns I derived nearly 40 years ago. The inspiration for my patterns came from blending traditional Appalachian chairs and timeless Shaker styles created with the construction techniques I employ. For the past several years I have made grand rockers combining native Appalachian hardwoods that naturally complement and contrast their beauty.”
The Gallery at Plays in Mud Pottery is located at 735C Haywood Road in Asheville. To learn more about Meet the Makers, and to pre-register for the event, visit PlaysInMud.com. Abbey Prevost is a senior at UNC Asheville and a fall intern for The Laurel.