Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Monday, January 25, 2010


We just returned from spending a few days in Chattanooga, TN (where the people were warm but the weather was chilly!) attending SSAWG (Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group) convention with my husband.

On the way down we stopped at Bybee Pottery. Even with printed Yahoo directions and a GPS lady telling us where to go (!) we still had a hard time finding it – and of course when we finally decided to go in a store to ask for directions, the employee pointed across the road and said “there it is”.

I had been there many years ago and have recently heard that they might be closing – after 200+ years! Just in case that is true, and because we were going past the area and having lunch at Berea anyway, I talked my husband into going there. It appears that closure is not imminent, but they are having a hard time finding people who want to work there.

Here are a few photos of the facility.

As you can see, over the years the clay has built up! The roof is also supported here and there by steel posts, but it has held up – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Here they are loading the kiln – the car they use to move it has warped from the high heat.

Shelves filled with items to be glazed.

The glazing room.

If memory serves – on the left - the pitcher in front will be blue, the mugs dark red with white speckles, the bowls blue with white speckles and on the right - the back bowl will be black with white flower and the bowls dark blue with light blue speckles.
As the gentleman told me - they don’t have a lot of variety but their simple designs have served them well for over 200 years.

After our brief tour there we went on to Berea for lunch at Boone Tavern. Once again we ignored GPS lady and after driving on some backroads in the general direction of the “foothills of the Smokies” we found ourselves in Berea. They have made a $13 million renovation of the Boone Tavern and it was quite different both inside and out. (I now wish we had gone upstairs to see what they have done with the rooms).

However, they haven’t tampered with the food, thank goodness, and we had a wonderfully delicious meal, along with that famous spoonbread.

Berea is home to Berea College ( where each student  must work at one of the student enterprises while attending college.  It's a beautiful town - just a bit overcast when we were there.  On the left are some of the dorms - on the right the student store where they sell so many of the beautiful hand crafted items produced in the area.

Filled to the gills, we continued on and arrived at Chattanooga just at dusk. This time the GPS lady was steering us on a good course, only to be thwarted by my husband who, even though the GPS lady and I were both yelling “keep left”, made a right hand turn and, once again, we were temporarily lost!

We made it to the hotel, parked and found our room. After we realized how convoluted the garage was, after dinner we decided to move the car to a spot much closer to the elevators. We got off on level 4, only to find this was a different level 4 and the car was in a totally different area of the parking garage! After wandering around we did finally locate the car and drove to a better parking spot. In fairness to us, several other folks mentioned that they had also misplaced their car and wandered through the garage!

After that it got better! The hotel was connected to the convention center and the meeting rooms were easy to find. A nice soup and salad buffet was provided each day for a reasonable cost and we found the most delightful place for dinner each evening – City CafĂ© Diner. Can’t say enough good things about this place – the food, service and friendliness were extraordinary!

As far as the workshops - we had some good classes and some so-so, but that is to be expected, and I had one fantastic speaker! We met some nice people, learned some things and overall had a good experience.

Now if you will excuse me, I’ve got 25 pages of notes to type!

I’ll be back with more art related info as soon as I catch up!


Vicki Greene said...

This sounds like a really neat trip. I am glad that you were able to visit the pottery and Berea looks like a very interesting place to take pictures. Welcome home!

Kathy Wirth said...

Boone Tavern spoon bread - Yum Yum! We love it so much that I make it at home now every holiday. It's a family favorite. We used to go to Berea every summer for their craft fair. Neat place. Steve and I love to "get lost" and back roads and eat in local diners. Sounds like you had a fun trip.

debwardart said...

Vicki - it's very quaint and the Tavern is quite "old South" elegant dining.
Kathy - I used to go to the fairs all the time, too, haven't been in several years. I've tried the spoonbread and it was a bust! You will have to give me your secret recipe!