Kids invited to throw pots - Weston Teacher Persis Gayle tries hands-on activity at her studio show

Persis Gayles outdoor sculptures range from self-standing decorative pieces or functional bird baths to wall discs. -
Persis Gayles outdoor sculptures range from self-standing decorative pieces or functional bird baths to wall discs.
— image credit:

CEDARVALE LOOP A life-long potter who has operated Frailey Mountain Clay Studio since arriving here from California in the early 1970s, and who is now a non-certificated art teacher at Weston High School, Persis Gayle has announced a new angle on her annual holiday season studio tour this year.
I am inviting kids to come and use my potters wheel to make a Christmas present for someone, Gayle said adding she has enjoyed teaching her skill to young people at Weston High School and finds inspiration in their excitement. She is happy to have two former students, Cody Sullivan and Natasha Vaughn, at her studio show this year.
Sullivan will be helping children with their projects and Vaughn and her mother will have their own table full of ceramic and glass jewelry for sale. Both students graduated in June of this year, and Sullivan has worked for Gayle when she needed a strong back at the studio.
Even if they dont pursue art as a career, I hope Ive helped nurture their excitement to have art in their lives, Gayle said.
Its rewarding for me to see their continuing interest in pottery, she added.
The Frailey Mountain Clay Studio holiday sale long-time tradition but it has evolved through different stages. In recent years, Gayle has had a group show with creative neighbors joining in to show their work, but this year is different.
Some of my regulars have family issues and wont be here this year, Gayle said. Since I dont need all the studio space for art, I decided it would be fun to let the kids have a go at making something on the wheel.
A former Arlington School District teacher, Keith Pace will join her, however. Pace retired from teaching high school art nearly 10 years ago, and he is making a name for himself making collages out of sports photographs and other subjects.
Gayle has helped the Arlington Arts Councils summer art fair with hands-on pottery projects the past three years, with help from another neighborhood potter, Marguerite Goff.
Its a lot more fun when you dont have to haul the very heavy wheel somewhere, Gayle laughed.
Gayle will have plenty of functional dinnerware ready for Christmas gifting and she has also been enjoying more sculptural work, including fountains and outdoor sculpture pieces. Visitors to the studio will see some of the best of her work on display in her remote rural garden.
Im excited about my new outdoor pieces, Gayle said, adding she has been making sculptural discs for hanging outdoors for some years and is adding yard art like bird baths and sun dials.
Persis Gayles studio show runs two weekends, Nov. 25 and 26 and Dec. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Her studio is one of four studios tucked away in the backwoods of Arlington in the Arlington Arts Councils North Arlington Studio Tour on Dec. 2 and 3, but Gayles is the only show opening Thanksgiving weekend. (See next weeks Weekender for more on the studio tour.)
By the way, the Frailey Mountain Clay studio is on a road that passes many Christmas tree farms, so shoppers may like to plan a full day of preparing for the upcoming holiday season in the back woods of Arlington.
Gayle has been a para educator at Weston High School for 15 years.
Working with high school students has helped me enjoy working with kids of all age levels, she said. Kids and their enthusiasm inspire my own work.
Children can make a small pot on the wheel for $5 and for another $5 they can leave it with Gayle for drying, glazing and firing.

Holiday Fair
Just over the hill from Cedarvale Loop Road on the west end of Frailey Mountain, Santa Claus will make an early visit to the Grandview Community Centers Holiday Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25 at 11506 Smokes Road north of Arlington. Smokes Road is at the end of Grandview Road, east of Bryant. For information call Lynn at 360-435-4256 or Theresa at 360-435-4147.

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