Sketch, Paint, Create—Arts on the Bay

Pottery by Kimberly Knotts.

By Kathy Knotts, CBM Bay Weekly managing editor

It’s going to be a busy weekend here in Chesapeake Country. Having so many events and activities to choose from is one of the pleasures of the summer season. I’m hoping you hung on to last week’s Summer Fun issue to help plan your outings.

If you are around Annapolis this week, you will no doubt notice a different sort of canvas popping up around town—not the kind you catch a stiff breeze with.

Art no longer resides solely in a gallery or museum. And it no longer remains the territory of the wealthy and privileged. That’s the underlying idea behind Annapolis Art Week, which begins this weekend.

Writer Duffy Perkins sketches out the events and venues and the artists behind this community effort. Annapolis is an art-loving town. There are at least a dozen places you can find art on exhibit—be it a gallery, a restaurant, a park or even city hall. We are lucky to have an active Art in Public Places Commission, which works to make Annapolis “an art gallery without walls.”

We have outdoor sculptures, public murals, and art outreach programs bringing color and beauty and form and texture to all our neighborhoods.

There are art clubs, groups, guilds and studios. This is a region inspired by the Bay but also by its people, its places, and its shapes. They pick up cameras, brushes, charcoal, pencils—a lump of clay.

As Susan Nolan writes in her story about the SoCo Arts Lab in southern Anne Arundel County, clay is in the spotlight as a group of artists take lifeless lumps of earth and mold it with “endless opportunities.”

Visit them for Clay on the Bay June 18 and watch them in action and maybe discover your own desire to sink your hands into this very different art form. I’ve never done it, but I called someone who has gone on her own journey into the world of pottery and ceramics.

My sister Kimberly has been an adventurous artist as long as I’ve known her and her latest love affair is with wheel throwing.

“What’s really cool about clay,” she reports to me, “is that it’s very tactile. You’ve got wet muddy hands and its messy but you are also turning a ball of clay into something new.”

A bit of an enthusiast, she exclaims to me, “it’s a magical sensation—with just a few movements of your fingers, there’s a bowl or there’s a cup where before it was just a lump of clay.”

Clay work is meditative according to her. She says you can’t think about anything else while working with it; because every sensation, every bit of pressure or movement changes what you create.

There’s a science to it apparently because you have to knead it or “wedge” the material—something about getting all the platelets aligned. Truthfully, this is where she lost me. If there are bubbles or holes in your creation when it goes to be fired in a kiln, it can create a disaster. Now there’s a metaphor for life. Work the bubbles out, my friends.

Perhaps the best part of working with clay is that you don’t need to know the whys of it all. “There is so much to it, science, balance, creativity—but you don’t have to know any of that to do it,” Kimberly says.

And that perhaps is what lies at the heart of true art. Making something with your hands that is maybe beautiful, maybe practical, but you don’t know what you have created until it is finished.



In the story Annapolis Seafood Markets Closes Doors in our May 26, 2022 issue, Bert Kappel is misidentified as the founder of Annapolis Seafood Markets. In fact, Nick Bassford founded the business in 1978; Kappel served as its longtime sales manager. CBM Bay Weekly regrets the error. An updated version of the story will be posted at