Jars of clay
Process and growth keeps me engaged with the clay.
Pull, push, pinch, swirl, paddle, stroke, stretch, roll; so many ways to form clay. Forms constantly evolving, emerging in my work with clay. I continually want to find new ways to touch and manipulate the clay. Movements that are committed to muscle memory and movements of flinging freely to continuously shape and reshape each form. Engaging drawing skills also impress upon the forms a reflection of my world. Feeling the movement from one form to another with skill, joy, and infatuation. A life-long journey.
At age 40, Ruby suffered a stroke that made it difficult to walk, talk, and take care of her three children. In order to recover better, her family moved from Homer to Missouri. Ruby began to recover slowly, taking short bike rides down the road to the nearest landmark, a clay studio and manufacturing center.
Curiosity led her to eventually go inside and her eye locked on someone using a kickwheel. She initially saw it as a tool to build strength in the leg affected by the stroke. The more time she spent sitting, kicking, watching, the more she wanted to learn about what the ceramic artists were doing there.
She spent 3 years under Jerry Roberts’ tutelage in Missouri before moving back to Homer in 1997. Ruby and her husband Tim built the studio, store, and their family home. In the early years, Ruby split her creative time with working in the schools with students who were deaf or had intensive needs. Now, her small businesses, her garden, and her grandchildren occupy most of her time, and she gets help running the studio and store from apprentices. Tourists, art collectors, old friends and curious visitors all stop by the shop to see what the storefront has to offer.
My work so far has been an exploration into form, decoration, and technique. This experimentation often results in a wide array of forms, functions, textures, and surface decoration. One constant source of amusement and joy has been indulging my love of miniatures. I like to see the same genuine delight spark alive as others look at or interact with my miniature houses and tea sets. Collaborating on commissioned work has also been a big influence over the past six years in clay. Clients ask for things I might not normally make (like urn sets or jumbo butter dishes) or designs I would not normally think up. Sometimes custom work becomes part of my regular repertoire, sometimes a piece is entirely one of its kind.
Tara Schmidt grew up in Nome, Alaska. While studying broadcasting, Tara continued with pottery electives for her four years at Gonzaga University, then strung together ceramic workshops and classes afterward, including a semester at the Kachemak Bay Campus. Ruby Haigh of Jars of Clay Studio brought her under her wing. She has been making at Jars of Clay since 2014, learning and helping with every aspect of running a studio--from mixing glazes, to inventory and ordering, to commerce and craft fairs. At Jars of Clay, Tara says she and Ruby teach and inspire each other: “Whether it be from the newest tool, technique, repurposed item, YouTube video one of us saw, or by simple encouragement and feedback.”
The 2021 Pottery Studio Tour at Jars of Clay will include a sale with one-on-one studio tours by request on Saturday, May 15th 10am - 5pm and an online shop update the day of the Tour. Masks are required for entry, and we will try to limit shoppers to one group at a time. Indoor/outdoor studio tour may also be available, weather permitting.
Online orders will be available for local pickup 12-4pm on Sunday, May 16th (pickup by appointment after May 16th).
Online orders made before midnight on May 15th will count as one entry into a pottery giveaway! Stay tuned to our social media for more details and pictures of the drawing prize.
Jars of Clay Pottery
3857 Main Street, Homer
Take Pioneer Ave. through downtown Homer, turn uphill on Main Street. Turn into the first driveway at the sign for Jars of Clay Pottery.