Sperryville column for Aug. 2 

Happy anniversary, Knit Wit

This Saturday (Aug. 4), Knit Wit Yarn Shop celebrates its third anniversary from 10 to 4 at the shop’s new location at Sperryville Schoolhouse. Owner Rebecca Abecassis says she is thrilled with her new location, across the hall from Monkey Business Unlimited antiques. The celebration will include a visit from friendly alpacas and sheep, free cake and treats. Abecassis said there also will be drawings for discounts, including three chances to win a 30-percent-off coupon. Door prizes will be given away for both knitters and non-knitters alike.

The shop features wonderful local yarns as well as colorful gifts, handmade and fair trade jewelry, felted goods and clothing. The anniversary celebration will run in conjunction with the grand opening next door of Coterie (see next item). Contact Rebecca at 540-987-8251 or visit knitwityarnshop.com for class schedules. The shop is located at 12018 Lee Highway, Sperryville.

Coterie’s grand opening

Coterie, self-described as a collection of “artisans, creations and wares,” opened its doors earlier this summer and are up and running at the Sperryville Schoolhouse annex. The grand opening is 10 to 4 this Saturday (Aug. 4) at the bright and inviting shop, which features collections of jewelry, handmade glass, leather goods, creative dish gardens, felted birds and other locally crafted artistic offerings. Managers Susan McCarthy and Jen Perrot will be on hand to welcome visitors.

Jen says August’s “theme of the month” at Coterie is birds, and Coterie will feature a guest local artist in one of their “Pop Up Shops.” Contact Coterie at 540-987-8249 or thecoterieshop@gmail.com. The shop is at 12018 Lee Hwy.

Playing with the clay

One of the messy and memorable moments of this summer’s Sperryville Pottery Clay Camp. Photo by Rita Cliffton.
One of the messy and memorable moments of this summer’s Sperryville Pottery Clay Camp. Photo by Rita Cliffton.

Sperryville Pottery is into their second week of clay camp, and it is a hit. Many of the campers return year after year to spend a week or two with resident artist Susanne Zylonis in her Main Street shop. The campers work on hand-building coil pots and slab designs. Their favorite activity is sitting at the potter’s wheels and shaping their creations. Fun, creative and messy – working on the wheel is always an adventure for campers, who range in age from 5 to 15.

This year’s group includes campers from Manassas and Charlottesville in addition to local kids. Sperryville Pottery’s Clay Camp is in its 12th year, and it gets better each year! “The kids come from so many different areas, make great pots and long-lasting friendships,” says Zylonis. “The campers grow into counselors, and then the counselors send their kids – it’s the perfect continuum!”

Zylonis, also an art teacher at Wakefield Country Day School, is the Pied Piper of pottery who has the a knack for making each child feel special and creative as they learn about how to apply glazes, mix colors and tints, and how pottery is fired. Tea pots, mirrors, mugs, plates, bowls, chip and salsa plates, vases – the assortment is endless! Zylonis has a gift for bringing out the inner artist in every child. Boys as well as girls work hard on their creations, and while forming clay they are forming friendships that are renewed every summer.

Some former campers and counselors have grown up and gone off to college but still reminisce about their summers with Suzanne. University of Michigan student Laura Drohan of Washington, D.C., told me: “Sperryville has a very special place in my heart and some of my happiest memories are from my time there, and Pottery Camp is right at the center of them. I have known Suzanne for 13 out of my 18 years and she is someone I want to be in my life forever. Suzanne taught me how to treat other people (especially kids!), how to be patient, and how to love the world around you, among many other things . . . I have taken private lessons, been a camper, a counselor, and now I get to be a huge fan of the wonderful experience that is Sperryville Pottery Camp.”

And you can’t forget Andrew, and the dogs Tarbert and Baby! They make the whole pottery camp experience complete!

For you adults out there longing for a creative outlet – classes are available, if you are ready to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty! Sperryville Pottery is on Main Street across from the Post Office and next to Haley Fine Arts. Call 540-987-1000 or visit sperryvillepottery.com.