After temporarily closing its doors for in-person shopping in response to COVID-19, local and nationally renowned pottery business R. Wood Studio celebrates will reopen for patrons Sept. 1 in time for its 30th anniversary.
R. Wood Studio was founded in 1991 by University of Georgia alumna and potter Rebecca Wood and is one of the largest pottery studios in America. Since its original opening, the studio has operated out of a charming warehouse in the historic Carr’s Hill neighborhood of Athens, where several talented artists, including Wood herself, orchestrate impressive and original ceramics, dinnerware pieces, wood fired vases and other pieces cherished by collectors and buyers nationwide.
In March 2020, in light of the effects of COVID-19, the studio decided the safest plan for the community was to close its retail doors to the public and resort to online sales only.
It will reopen for in-person shopping tomorrow.
‘A whole different experience’
Artist Josh Skinner, who has worked inside the walls of Wood’s business for 16 years producing ceramic pieces, orchestrating colors and more, credited the business’s continued success during COVID to its strong website and social media presence.
“We have been fine tuning our online presence for 10 years, so in a way we were ready for something like this to happen without knowing it would,” Skinner said. “But I have learned that when my back is against the wall and I am in a place of uncertainty, I get very creative and inspired, so we all made a plan to market different collections in a new way in spite of this.”
Since then, the studio became inventive with its products and expanded beyond pottery by hosting online workshops, hand-crafting home goods, gift boxes and much more.
Skinner and Wood both mentioned that while sales did not suffer due to the pandemic, the social experience provides a community that is unparalleled.
“People really enjoy coming to the studio, walking around and seeing how we produce art, it really is a whole different experience that online shopping doesn’t provide,” Wood said. “It’s so fun to have all that positive energy in the studio and we really enjoy it.”
More than one artistic passion
Wood began her time at UGA studying art and painting and spent years oil painting still-lifes and selling her pieces. She then diversified her craft by making furniture, jewelry, fabric and other household items. It wasn’t until she took a fine china painting class that she discovered her love for ceramics.
Wood then opened R. Wood Studio, and after 30 years, it has acquired high profile customers and resellers such as the Sundance Catalog, the Francis Ford Coppola Winery and other famous collectors across the country. Wood even unlocked her photography and literary passions — she is the photographer of the blog and book “Beauty Everyday” and the writer of the blog “Southern Shacks.”
One of the things Wood learned from opening and running R. Wood Studio is that it’s important to hire people that are “smarter than you.” Having people around that one can be open and creative with fosters an endless fountain of ideas.
Skinner highlighted Wood’s knack for connecting her art with people that inspire her and one another.
“Rebecca finds people that have a little spark, and she sees something in people, and through her and this place I view art as a daily ritual and therapy,” Skinner said. “It’s about keeping yourself inspired so you can continue to live the rest of your life with positive energy.”
NOTE: This story was updated to reflect an event cancellation.