Over the Mountain Studio Tour Bids Farewell to Sycamore Pottery Owners and Welcomes New Artists | News, Sports, Jobs

Over the Mountain Studio Tour founding members and Sycamore Pottery owners Ren and Pam Parziale stand by some of their pottery on Sunday afternoons. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The 33rd annual Over the Mountain studio tour wrapped up Sunday night, ending what may have been one of its busiest tours. According to founding tour members Ren and Pam Parziale, who helped basket weaver Anne Bowers realize her vision for an annual Jefferson County Art Studio Tour, Saturday’s warm and bright weather drew so many attendees. that they have sold the majority of their pottery stock. That day.

“It’s all about cooperation and sharing. We share information on how to advertise, how to price, how to write a press release – it’s all about marketing and how to take what you know and help other artists succeed,” Pam said, indicating that helping other local artists become more visible brings increased attention and support to the wider arts community, based on the long-standing success of her business and that of her husband. , Sycamore Pottery.

“It’s a basic philosophy, ‘If we succeed, we all succeed. If we do well personally, other people will do as well.” said Pam. “It is important for us to raise awareness that some objects are still made by hand, not everything is made by machine!”

Ren noted that Sycamore Pottery’s 50 years in business would never have been achieved if the Parziales had not been driven by a deep passion for their craft and a willingness to work hard to create the best possible product. This dedication to the success of their business began at the same location it continues to this day, Stop 5 Tower in Kearneysville. What was once a hay field gradually turned into a green, wooded area with four buildings, two of which were built to serve as an art studio and art gallery.

“When we moved here, there was nothing here – no buildings, no trees, just pasture where they roamed the cattle here,” Ren said. “Pam and I have planted over 4,000 trees [here]. Every spring and fall we would get a few hundred seedlings from the state of West Virginia that were available very, very cheaply. All the trees you see around here, chances are we planted them!

Shepherdstown-based artist Danielle Corsetto chats with old and new fans at her home, which served as Stop 7 of the Over the Mountain Studio Tour, on Sunday. Tabitha Johnston

This year’s tour proved particularly significant for the Parziales, as they announced it would be Sycamore Pottery’s last.

“We are slowing down, we are not stopping. I will never stop until I have to stop! Ren said, mentioning that producing enough pottery for the large number of tour participants had become a challenge, which led to the couple quitting after that year.

However, Ren said Sycamore Pottery will continue to create and sell pottery at smaller sale events in the future, including continuing their annual Mother’s Day sale at their gallery. And, as for the future of the tour to which the couple have dedicated decades of their lives, Pam said she was confident its future was bright.

“I think the studio tour will continue very successfully, because we have a lot of new, younger artists with enthusiasm and good work, who understand social media and how to advertise,” said Pam.

While tour attendees may have wondered if the presence of new artists with artforms already represented would hurt sales of returning artists from the forms, Pam said she doesn’t believe that’s the case, based on the fact that Sycamore Pottery was nearly sold out. of its stock this year, despite the introduction of a second potter on the tour. And that potter, Shepherdstown resident Esther Murphy, who was in Shepherdstown’s only art studio on the tour, Stop 7, echoed her statement, after recording healthy sales figures.

Greg Coble from Shepherdstown looks at a collection of mugs created by potter Esther Murphy, at Stop 7 of the Over the Mountain Studio Tour in Shepherdstown on Sunday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

“It’s been awesome! The tour has been really good for me and it’s been a fun weekend,” Murphy said. “It’s nice to connect with a part of the local art scene, which I didn’t have before, because I started in Frederick, Maryland, and connected there.

“I thought it would be my first and last year, but it was such a great experience that I will be back next year,” Murphy said, mentioning that in addition to her electric-fired pottery, she also sold wood-fired pottery, which added a differentiating element to her work.

Sarah Kleckner, from Harpers Ferry, chats with weaver Denise Ray, at Stop 7 of the Over the Mountain Studio Tour in Shepherdstown on Sunday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

Over the Mountain Studio Tour participants leave the Sycamore Pottery studio on Sunday afternoons. Tabitha Johnston

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