The Sophia Street Pottery Throwdown is becoming one of Fredericksburg’s prized traditions.
Pottery itself is something of a local craft. There’s a strong scene that potter and event organizer Trista Chapman called “unique of Fredericksburg. It’s a great place to showcase the work of so many artists. And a lot of people have no idea how much is going on.”
From LibertyTown Arts Workshop to PONSHOP, from Artful Dimensions to Sophia Street Studios, and all the galleries and workshops in between, Fredericksburg is simply a place that nurtures the craft of clay work.
And in its third year, the event has 24 booths for individual potters, the most artists featured yet. The Pottery Throwdown takes place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 1000 block of Sophia Street in downtown Fredericksburg.
While most are local potters, artists Jeff Vick and Phyllis Handal are coming in from Richmond to be featured. And Christina Bendo, who many may remember from working locally, is returning from her new artistic home in North Carolina for the event.
Chapman said this year’s event also features new artists who have just begun making their impression locally in their own booths. It’s an opportunity for people not only to discover new artists, but to help young potters by buying work and even find their own creative energy, she said.
There will be a hands-on tent sponsored by LibertyTown Arts Workshop, where attendees can throw their own pots under the guidance of artists.
A raffle to benefit Empowerhouse will also be offered. The pot being raffled is, like the local art scene, a collaborative effort.
Local potter Dan Finnegan will make the pot, and Chapman will decorate it.
There will also be live music from Larry Hinkle & Friends, T-shirts for sale and beverages.
“There’s a real energy for it,” Chapman said about the event. “It’s something we’re looking forward to building and inviting more artists each year.”
It’s also fulfilling her dream. When Chapman was a young artist starting out in Richmond, potters there helped her along.
“I never would have had the courage to do it the first time,” she said. “They kicked me out of the nest to do my first show. And want to pay that forward.”
The Pottery Throwdown also helps people discover what’s on this end of Sophia Street. Last year, the event drew 500 people to the corridor, and Chapman is hoping for even more this year.
“It’s hard to get people around the corner,” she said, to find her shop and restaurants like the Happy Clam along Sophia Street.
She said the businesses really notice a difference from the visibility, and so do the potters who exhibit.