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Heard on the Path: Are you engaged in a visual art or craft at Nubi?

Dori demonstrates throwing a pot on a wheel

I’ve been throwing pottery on and off for 14 years. (For the uninitiated, ‘throwing pottery’ is making pottery on a wheel, not breaking it against a wall.) I began throwing in Asheville, North Carolina, and when I moved to the Monadnock region, I continued taking classes at the Sharon Arts Center. They have a couple of instructors who run studio classes for many levels of potters.

I’m currently developing a Nubi-based studio in the Governor’s House, and hope to have a kiln on site in the coming months. My plan is to commit to spending 2 days a week in the studio, working on my own pottery. And, I hope to offer classes to as many Nubi neighbors who have expressed interest. I will have 3 and possibly 4 wheels in my expanded studio. While classes will primarily be for neighbors who want to throw pottery, I also plan to have some kids’ hand-building classes as well. I’m hoping that the clay studio will become a community resource.

I had never found a craft or art form that I enjoyed doing – until I came to Peterborough. Here, I discovered needle felting. Responding to an ad in the local paper, “Wanna make a bird?”, I spent a Saturday morning gathered with 5 others learning how to transform a piece of wool into a bird using a barbed needle. The simplicity of the craft and the limitless creative possibilities got me hooked.

Needle felting is a relatively new craft that started in the 1980’s and evolved from the ancient process of felt making. It uses wool roving, wool that has been washed, carded, and dyed. A barbed needle is used to grab wool fibers and bond them to adjoining fibers. By simply jabbing the needle into the wool, you can sculpt the wool into any form you want. So far, I have worked on making birds, flowers, and dolls. It is simple, fun, and satisfying. One warning – the needles are sharp and this craft is not about acupuncture.

Barbara and friends weave on her loom

I’ve always wanted to weave, and the miraculous thing about landing at Nubi was the proximity of the Harrisville Design Studio, where I take classes and buy supplies. There are just so many connections in this area to all aspects of textiles, from people raising sheep and other wool-bearing animals, to spinning, dying, weaving, felting—you can really learn about any part of the process.

I love to draw with watercolor pencils. I’m working on capturing the Nubi rooster at the moment, and I’ve also drawn botanicals around the farm. I’ve also taken a drawing course at the Sharon Arts Center. As a parent, Nubi and the region in general have been really supportive of developing an appreciation for various arts and crafts in my kids. At Nubi, they are surrounded by neighbors who engage in a variety of different arts and crafts, at all levels. We’ve even had a craft’s day here when we all had a chance to try out everything from weaving to cupcake decorating. And, in the schools, and through surrounding organizations and teachers, there are many opportunities to learn and nurture different interests.

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