Blue, green and brown glazes shimmer off of the ceramic kitchenware and vessels lining the shelves of Pine Row Studios, a pottery shop in downtown Mount Vernon. Offering functional items, decorative pieces and classes several times a week at affordable prices, Pine Row Studios is a hidden gem of Mount Vernon’s arts scene.
Gambier Township residents Bill Jones and Pamela Woodworth opened the shop in 2016. Before opening the shop, Woodworth was formally trained as a painter and was an art teacher in Atlanta Public Schools. Jones earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics at Ohio State University and worked for the American Ceramic Society, publishing a magazine that explored the creative and scientific applications of ceramics.
Products for sale at Pine Row Studio are all made in-house by Jones and Woodworth. The couple mixes their own glazes, the finish that adds color and shine to a clay form. “Nature inspires our work,” Woodworth said, mentioning sights familiar to Kenyon students like the Brown Family Environmental Center observatory trail and the Kokosing River.
Jones cites the Japanese Mingei Movement, a craft movement in response to the Industrial Revolution, as what motivated the focus on their functional ware such as plates, mugs and kitchen utensils. As Jones’s thumb carved an indent into a mug’s handle, Woodworth explained, “Our hands have touched these pieces with hundreds of movements. There’s an intimate aspect of something you use that has been crafted.” So that their handcrafted products can be a viable alternative to commercially manufactured products, the couple intentionally prices their items affordably to make them more accessible to customers.
The weekly pottery classes designed primarily for adult learners are what makes Pine Row Studios stand out, according to Woodworth. “Ninety-eight percent of the people that are adults and walk through here have never really worked with clay before,” Woodworth said. “The fun part is showing people what it’s actually about to be a creator and manipulate this material and make it into a particular object.” Some potters return for years, either to take a class or for an open studio session. Jones proudly noted that half a dozen of their former students have set up ceramic facilities in their homes after enjoying their introduction to the craft. In the summer, Woodworth uses her experience as an art instructor to lead pottery workshops for children over nine years old.
In addition to the work displayed at the store, the couple also exhibits pieces at local art shows. They currently have a work on display at the Mansfield Art Center in Mansfield, Ohio: a totem pole several feet high that the couple collaborated on together.
To take a look at their wares or take a class, you can visit Pine Row Studio, located at 10 E. Gambier St. in Mount Vernon. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday or by appointment Monday through Wednesday.