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Senior potters get their hands dirty

Lincoln County seniors learned the joys of creating from clay during a workshop at Rising Sun Pottery in Lincolnton.
“A lot of them have never worked with clay before,” said Gary Lee, owner of Rising Sun Pottery. “Now all of a sudden it’s like ‘Whoa, we could have been doing this 40 years ago.’”
The workshop was organized by the Lincoln Senior Center and the results of the seniors’ work will go on display at the Lincoln Cultural Center August 3. Ceramics created at a second workshop held at Bh Black Pottery will be shown August 16.
The goal of the two workshops is to get seniors out and active, in order to promote their health and well being.
“Seniors who have a hobby have more fulfilling lives,” said Marti Hovis, program and services coordinator at the Lincoln Senior Center.
The lesson on Wednesday began with everyone crowding around Lee who wore a shirt that stated “Throw your life away (be a potter).” Lee’s four cats – Mr. Cat, Greystone, Popsicle and Potter Cat – lay about the shop, taking time to lazily eye the demonstration.
Lee showed participants the basic shapes to cut out in order to make a birdhouse. However, he didn’t want his instruction to hinder their creativity.
“Don’t copy mine,” he said. “Just let your imagination flow, because that’s what it’s all about.”
The seniors took him seriously, carefully assessing the look they wanted their birdhouses to have.
“They put a big effort into making sure its unique,” said Jenny Cartee, Lee’s assistant.
Wednesday’s 10-person class was made up of both “newbies” and seasoned pros.
Pinkie Mosteller, for example, took her last birdhouse all the way to the state Senior Games competition and landed third place. She also received awards at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Games and Lincolnton’s 2003 Apple Festival.
“That little birdhouse traveled,” she said.
The class also has its share of newcomers. For Jay Keener, it was the first time he had made something out of clay. He ended up a big fan.
“You should always have new experiences, learn new things,” he said. “When you cease to learn, you die.”
Reginald Deal attended the workshop because his wife “talked me into it.” He ended up enjoying it, and his hand-carved ceramic tray was the toast of the class.
“It’s something to do besides yard work, which is what I’ve been doing since I retired,” he said. “It makes you feel a little bit like a beginning artist.”
And who knows, with the work being displayed at the Cultural Center and entered in area competitions, something more might come out of it.
“Everyone should try it,” said Keener. “It may become a great way to relax or a way to make a few dollars.”
by Sarah Grano

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