Archive for the ‘Loudoun County’ Category


Amy Manson Puts the Fun in Functional Pottery

December 15, 2010

by Kimberly McCann-Pierce

“It found me,” says Amy Manson when asked how she settled upon pottery as her artistic medium. Talking over wine during an ice storm Amy agreed to take a pottery class with a friend. “It was pretty instantaneous,” she says, describing her kinship with pottery.

Amy draws her inspiration from nature. “I really like things that are found in nature. Clays and colors that are earth tone.” When she started, Amy strove for geometric perfection, the perfect clay pot or piece with contours and lines without flaw. As her artistic voice grew, she began to experiment in what she describes as “the fun and funky hand building” side of pottery.

Her Leesburg, Virginia studio is spotted with both the specificity of wheelwork and the hand fashioned clay shapes of funk. Amy describes hand building as “more instant”, giving the creator something useable right away. The flexibility of hand building permits patterning or free flowing creativity. While traditional wheelwork is strong in identifiable shape and contour, giving an easily recognized piece an immediate sense of place, hand patterning is different.

Amy’s hand patterned clay art ranges from twists, bends, speckles, and colorful dollops to delicately filigreed images inspired by birds, trees, Earth. Display shelves in her home studio boast trays with funky splash, artfully jagged lines, and trendy backgrounds. Next to the hand-patterned creations, geometrically perfect drinking cups line the shelves, popular pieces Amy designs for weddings and gift giving.

She sees herself moving more in the direction of creating the perfect imperfect piece, blending different artistic modalities to create something both fun and functional. I spot some pieces haphazardly placed on a bottom shelf and ask about them. “Oh, those are just my seconds,” she smiles. In looking around her studio, I find nothing but first rate artistic expression.

In addition to transforming clay, Amy also teaches several pottery courses throughout Loudoun County. Currently her work can viewed and purchased at the Gateway Gallery at: For more about Amy and her artistic journey visit the Gateway Gallery home page biography at:

Her teaching venues include:

The Round Hill Art Center, Round Hill, VA 2010
Children’s Ceramic Instructor
Handbuilding Instructor

The Old Furniture Factory, Round Hill, VA 2010
Adjunct Advanced Wheel Instructor
Beginning Wheel Instructor

ArtSquare, Leesburg, VA 2010
Children’s Ceramic/Art Instructor
“Get Me Started With Clay” Instructor

You can also follow Amy’s pottery adventures on her blog at


Member Spotlight: ARTLINGZ

August 16, 2010

By Allen Pearson

Love art, have or work with children or grandchildren?!? Want to create an art lesson but avoid the headaches and expenses? Check out – an art resource for parents, babysitters, teachers, grandparents, anyone involved with children ages 4 – 12!!

Artlingz is art instruction for children. My inquiry to the owner, Lori Schue, gave me several pages of information about her program. Prompt replies were more prompter than prompt, I was impressed. I read the material and became fascinated with the program.

To begin this journey, go to and look around. The website is user-friendly and designed to catch your attention and keep it. You want to investigate. Being adventurous, the Explorer link immediately got my attention. I clicked on it and took a virtual field trip around the world to many well-known art museums by websites.

An email address is needed to access materials which you can select and purchase. As stated several times, Artlingz keeps your email private and does not share! Not sharing is a good thing, in this case.

I entered the Lesson Vault where I found an incredible selection of projects you can choose. Projects are based on Artists, Technique, Topic, Medium, and Adaptive Art (art for children with disabilities will be launched soon). Move your mouse over one of the topics and look to the left at the canvas, a brief description appears giving a general idea for the plan. On the right side of the screen are links to information where you can learn to effectively use this valuable resource. I checked out the Mixed Media and Native American Indian links and quickly learned about making a headdress.

And, there’s a gallery where your children’s work can be posted. How cool is that?

An important note, teachers anywhere in the universe can purchase and use the curriculum offered as it goes beyond National Standards for Visual Arts guidelines needed for instruction in schools., created by Lori Schue, Visual Communications degree, taught and written children’s art curriculum for over 20 years for schools and international programs such as Scholastic. Authored “Art Works for Kids,” series of books published by Evan Moor Publishing.

Allen Pearson is a Nature, Dog and Cat Photographer and a Loudoun Arts Council member and volunteer, for which we are most grateful. You can see his work at


Family Friendly! Fun! Free! – This weekend only!

June 18, 2010

Dear Mom,

So, I was thinking about a fun way to spend Father’s Day Weekend. Something fun, and outdoors, and even a little bit artsy? (That part is a secret.)

You know we are always dragging Daddy to weird conferences, and concerts? And how he just likes the driving part? Or how we drag him shopping? And how he complains about having to carry all the bags?

So, here is my idea. The Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour. What? You think you can hear him groaning already? (Yeah, I might hear him groaning all the way from Texas.)

But look! Daddy loves power tools, right? We can go see wood turning, or glass blowing, or welding! Daddy cannot be separated from his camera, right? – there are photographers of everything – landscapes, people, animals… There are also painters, potters, jewelers, AND sculptors in many mediums. Heck, there are even weavers…

Huh. You think this is a hard sell? Did I mention the booklet? There is a map, with over 30 stops to hit over two days. And at those stops, over 50 artists. Do you not think that he will LOVE trying to fit it all in? (I tried last year, and just missed my goal)…. Don’t you think he will get a kick out of traveling all over western Loudoun County- scenic countryside… historical villages? It is gorgeous. There are good places to dine, and wineries to do a quick tasting. There are even bed and breakfasts sponsoring the tour-great places to stay.

Okay. And here is the cool part, Mom. There is stuff for everyone! There is artwork to buy in all price ranges. The artists are there to meet, and you can see demonstrations of their work. There will be door prizes.

Oh. Here is the best part. It is free. FREE!!!

You are welcome, Mom. Check out the website: There are also booklets out in local stores. (I will send you one.)

Your artsy daughter,




The Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour

Saturday, June 19th, 10-5PM, Sunday, June 20, 12-5PM

Visit the studios of over 50 talented artists as you wind through the scenic countryside and historic villages of western Loudoun County. Enjoy paintings, pottery, jewelry, photography, fiber, sculpture and more!

Take this unique opportunity to talk personally with the artists, purchase artwork, view demonstrations and exhibits, or win a door prize!

FREE to public! For Tour Maps, lists of artists and more information please visit ur website at: or call 540.338.7973.


Come Help Choose Loudoun's Most Talented Youth!

May 25, 2010

Join us at 2 pm on
Sunday, May 30th

 Now’s your chance! 

The Top 10 Finalists from the Loudoun’s Got Talent auditions will be performing and competing for $1750 in scholarships…and your vote counts!

The audience and a panel of judges, led by Loudoun Symphony Maestro Mark Allen McCoy, will vote to pick the top three performers, so come out and cast your ballot, and hear some of the finest young musicians in the county.

+ A Special Performance by Maddy Curtis!!!

Tickets: Advance/Door: Adult $10/$12, Senior (65+) $8/$10, Youth 18 and under FREE.

Order Advance Tickets online at 
or call 703-771-8287.

Franklin Park Arts Center
36441 Blueridge View Lane
Purcellville, VA 20132

Partner: Loudoun Arts Council

Sponsors:  Wegmans. Sandy Spring Bank, Loudoun Youth, Inc., RainedOut, and Loudoun Times Mirror.

Some serious talent here folks! See for yourself!


Loudoun County Summer Concerts – UPDATED

May 19, 2010

Didja all know that there are outdoor concerts every week this summer right here in Loudoun?  For all you staycationers this year, maybe you can incorporate a few concerts into your fun schedules. Prices range from FREE to about $17.00.

Loudoun Summer Music Fest
When: Saturdays & Sundays.
Where: Belmont Country Club, 19961 Belmont Manor Lane, Ashburn, VA 20147.
Cost: Tickets range from $17 – $12.50 General Admission.
Contact: or 877-743-5320

Saturday, May 22: Cheap Trick
Sunday, May 23: Dark Star Orchestra
Sunday, June 6: Creedence Clearwater Revisited
Saturday, June 12: The Machine & Zoso
Sunday, June 27: Blues Traveler
Sunday, July 11: Travis Tritt
Sunday, July 25: Charlie Daniels Band
Saturday, August 21: The Original Wailers

Acoustic on the Green Concert Series
When: Saturday, 7-9PM, June thru August
Where: Town Green (25 West Market Street), Leesburg
Cost: Concerts are FREE. 
*Lawn chairs and picnic blankets are advised. No smoking or alcoholic beverages allowed, and no pets, please. Picnics are encouraged.

June 12: Todd Wright
June 19: Chelsea Lee, with TrustFall opening
June 26: Naked Blue
July 10: Prescott Engle
July 17: Luke Brindley
July 24: Michael Sheppard
July 31: Robbie Limon
August 7: Gary Smallwood
August 14: Don Chapman
August 21: Jon Carroll
August 28: Jennifer Daniels

Lansdowne Sounds of Summer Concert Series
When: Fridays, 7 – 10PM
Where:  Lansdowne Resort, 44050 Woodridge Parkway, Leesburg, Virginia 20176.
Cost: Concerts are FREE, but “Please do not bring food and drink into the concerts.”

*Enjoy specialty drinks, grilled foods, fresh salads, Loudoun County wines, featuring Lansdowne Reserve produced exclusively by Tarara Winery. Picnic basket snacks will also be available for purchase. 

*Some seating will be provided, but you are more than welcome and encouraged to bring a blanket and sit on the lawn.

June 18: The Jack Diamond-Jim Steed Band
June 25: JunkFood
July 2: Southern Excess
July 3: The Backseat Betties (Saturday night, including fireworks)
July 9: Sharon Thomas Experience
July 16: Esencia Tropical
July 23: The Jack Diamond-Jim Steed Band
July 30: The Reflex
August 6: AbbeyRoad
August 13: The Fabulous Dial Tones
August 20: The Monster Band
August 27: Gonzo’s Nose
September 3: Beach Bumz

Tarara’s Toast to the Tunes Summer Concert Series
When: Saturdays, June through October from 6 – 9:30PM!
Where: Tarara Winery, 13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg, VA 20176
Cost:  $15 per person
Contact: (703) 771-7100

* Experience live music under the stars at Shadow Lake while sipping a cool glass of Chardonnay or savoring a bold Cabernet Franc. Whether it’s original rock, cover bands, jazz, country or blues, Tarara has a complete line up to fulfill your musical desires.

* Tarara Winery also offers Live Local Music on Sundays, June through October from 11AM – 6PM on their charming wood deck overlooking the Potomac River, set against the backdrop of Sugarloaf Mountain. Surrounded by a canopy of trees, the Winery Deck offers a relaxing, pleasant atmosphere. Free! Wines available for purchase.

A couple of area neighborhoods have jumped on the bandwagon and are offering summer concerts right in their communities!  If I’m missing your community’s concert schedule, please drop a link into the comment section here and I’ll be sure to update this list!

Brambleton Sizzlin’ Summer Sounds
When: Thursday nights from 7 – 9
Where: Brambleton Town Center

South Riding Summer Concert Series
When: Friday nights from 7 – 9:30
Where: South Riding Town Green

Seriously? That is a lot of music. Go see something!

* Correction: When I sent this out via Happenings! on the 15th, I accidentally posted 2009’s schedule for the Bluemont/Dodona Summer Concerts on Sunday. As of now, they are still finalizing their 2010 schedule. Please check back at their website for their upcoming schedule.