Bay School News

Teacher Profile - Tom Doyle May 04 2017, 0 Comments

Tom Doyle has been teaching bridge (yes, that card game we all used to play, and many of us still do) at the Bay School, for going on seven years now.  

Why would he do this? Well, mainly because they asked him to, and, with some reservations, he was happy to oblige. Tom had moved to Mathews from Northern Virginia, to be near his daughter Valerie. This was just after his wife passed away. He knew he didn't need to sit around and mope in his new Cobbs Creek house, and so he started playing bridge again (after a 35-year layoff). Bridge is a great game, easy enough to learn the basic rules, but very hard to play well, far more skill than luck. There were two long-running local games that he learned about, on Gwynn's Island and at the Woman's Club. So he joined those games, loved the competition, but also, and mostly, the wonderful social aspects that bridge provides. He soon felt most welcome and happy in Mathews, largely because of this.

(Early on, Tom and Betsy Paul, of Gwynn's Island, became regular bridge partners. Betsy's husband passed away a few years ago, and the two are now very close friends.)

Tom is not too bad a player, Word got around, and they asked him to teach. He had taught chemistry for most of his 35 years as a research chemist, worldwide in fact, but had never tried teaching bridge. This mere game? Why not? There were, as mentioned, some reservations. Those who know Tom know that he is totally deaf (he had meningitis as a young boy), so there are certain challenges involved. But things have worked out just fine, in fact this class being "different" is probably part of the fun. Seven years of it, and counting.

Tom Doyle was born in NYC in 1938, became deaf fom meningitis at age eight. BS in Chemistry, 1960, Fordham University. Ph.D in Chemistry, 1971, George Washington University. 35 yrs as Chemist, Research Chemist, Supervisory Research Chemist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Published extensively, patent-holder, lectured, taught nationally and internationally (Egypt, Venezuela, Scotland, Sweden, etc.). Retired in 2000. Now widowed, four children (two now in Mathews), five grandchildren. Dear friend of Betsy Paul of Richmond/Gwynn's Island.

In addition to teaching bridge (not only in Mathews but in Gloucester also), Tom is Director/Manager/Webmaster of the Mathews Duplicate Bridge Club ( He holds the rank of Silver Life Master in the ACBL, and plays often in games and tournaments on the east coast, winning his fair share.

Teacher Profile - Paul Michael Blais April 03 2017, 0 Comments

Paul Blais has been teaching photography classes at the Bay School for 2 years.  His next class, Using HDR Photography - Intermediate, is coming up on Saturday, April 29 9am - 3pm.

Paul received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota and was a registered Landscape Architect. He worked in a consulting office that did both public and private work. Some of it was traditional Landscape Design and some was related to private real estate development and expert witness testimony in matters of city planning and zoning. Later he moved on to information technology related to cities and counties. In 1998 he became an independent Software Developer and is currently retired. His renewed interest in photography progressed over the years and when digital photography was possible it was meant for his past and current passions to come together.  Paul has lived in Hayes, Virginia on Sarah Creek for the past 14 years with his wife and three dogs.

A few questions to Paul:

What made you start teaching?

My interest in photography goes back to my years in college creating presentations as a key part of the education. Standing up and explaining complex issues using visual tools was ingrained into my education and professional work. I have taught assorted subjects as a professional in data processing. I now offer classes in photography at the Bay School. I am also President of the James River Camera Club in Newport News.

What do you get out of teaching?

 If you really want deep understanding, teaching makes it more rewarding and exciting.

Tell me something people would be surprised to find out about you.

I have been very active in outdoor activities including camping, canoeing, and backpacking. I’ve spent 2 years of my life in a tent over the past 50 years in many places from the mountains to the shores. I’ve sailed for the past 13 years and have explored waters from the Delaware River to Charleston, NC including many places in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. What is not surprising is that these experiences come through in my artwork.



Teacher Profile - Bobbie Skerrett March 08 2017, 0 Comments

Bobbie Skerrett has been involved with the Bay School for the past 3 years.  Her next class, Clay Relief Tiles, is on Thursdays, March 23 & 30 6pm - 9pm.


Bobbie attended the University of Colorado from 1969 to 1971.  After that she spent time at the Feminist Studio Workshop in Los Angeles, CA.  She also taken classes at the Penland School of Crafts in Pendland, NC.  From 1998 - 2002 Bobbie sold her work at the oldest farmers market in the country in Olde Town Alexandria.  Bobbie is currently a member of the Pottery Studio at the Bay School.


A few questions to Bobbie:

What made you start teaching?

 I started teaching wheel throwing because I wanted the students to see how fun it was to move the clay.

What do you get out of teaching?

There's an expression that takes place in the class room when people catch on to what they are being told and run with it.  It is inspiring to watch students discover something new and find a connection.

 Tell me something people would be surprised to find out about you.

Something people would probably be shocked to learn about me is that I do feminist art.

Teacher Profile - Rita Cutler January 30 2017, 1 Comment

Rita Cutler has been teaching classes at the Bay School since 2002.  Her next class, Beginner Rug Hooking , is on Saturday, Feb 11 10am - 3pm.  Register early to secure your spot!


Rita has revived the art of primitive and homespun rug hooking. She is the owner of the Primitively Hooked Studio in Mathews County. Rita combines traditional and new motifs with unique and striking color schemes.


A few questions to Rita:


What made you start teaching?

I love working with my hands and I love color and texture.  Therefore the art of rug hooking has always appealed to me.  I searched for someone who could teach me this old craft/art for many years while living in Va. Beach and continued the search when we moved to Mathews 20 years ago.  Finally my persistence paid off and I have been hooking now for 18 or so years.  When Wendy Wells approached me about teaching hooking at the Bay School I immediately said yes! I felt it was a small step in saving this beautiful old craft.


What do you get out of teaching?

I love teaching because again it helps to carry on the craft and I love seeing what my students will create.  Each piece is always unique and I love seeing each persons take on it.  At the end of the day I love walking away knowing that there are a group of new hookers out there!


Lions, Tigers & Bears...Animal Adaptations with Lee Jackson's 3rd Graders January 20 2017, 0 Comments

As part of our outreach programs within the Mathews community, we’ve teamed up with the 3rd grade teachers at Lee Jackson Elementary School to combine the arts with the subjects the children are learning about throughout the year. Our Gallery & Outreach Coordinator, Saraya Cheney, has spent this past week with each 3rd grade class, showing them how animal adaptations can be translated into pieces of art by exploring patterns, colors and silhouettes.

Saraya challenged the students to identify patterns and colors of animals’ fur, feathers, scales and skins by first looking at photos. The students were then asked to choose their favorite animal and create the patterns and colors of that animal’s outer layer with puck tempera paints. The final step was to create a silhouette of that animal to be pasted onto the animal print background.



Students were then able to share their knowledge of animal adaptations by talking about the animal they chose and how that specific animal’s fur, scales, feathers or skin allows them to survive in their environment.

Our program with the 3rd graders will continue next semester when we delve into the world of explorers.

Teacher Profile - Doris Hackworth January 02 2017, 0 Comments

Doris Hackworth has been teaching pottery classes at the Bay School since 2014.  Her next class, Beginner Wheel Throwing, is on Saturday, Jan 28; Feb 4, 11, & 18 from 1pm - 4pm.  Register early to secure your spot!


Doris Hackworth discovered the joy of wheel thrown pottery in 1981 through community college ceramics classes in CA. Nearly 30 years later in 2009, she took to the wheel again and has been taking classes ever since at the Bay School, the Visual Arts Center in Richmond, Nan Rothwell Pottery in Charlottesville, The Cultural Arts Center in Glen Allen, and the John C. Campbell Folk Art School in NC. Doris’ emphasis is on form and function. She loves making pots that have a job.

A few questions to Doris:

What made you start teaching?

I have always been a teacher in my heart.



 What do you get out of teaching?

I take huge satisfaction in promoting the joy of handmade pottery and being a part of adults finding a creative outlet they enjoy.

Tell me something people would be surprised to find out about you.

You might be surprised to know that I taught community college biology for a while and also worked for a language school teaching English to German speakers.


HOLIDAY SPECIALS! December 22 2016, 0 Comments

Shop creatively!  Shop local!  Shop at the Bay School!

We are offering the following holiday specials with online discount codes:

code JEWELRY - 10% off all jewelry

code ART$$$OFF - $200 off paintings by Gayle Merrill

code ART20OFF - 20% off Paul Blais Photography, Neck Tiaras by Brownie Haracivet, Works by Dale Peterson, and Paintings by Bob Carlson

code ART15OFF - 15% off Paintings by Lynn Scalise

code 10OFFART - 10% off Pepper Creek Pottery, Nina Buzby Baskets, Karen Hacker Paintings, Watercolor Boxes by Rebecca Grow, and Ellen Davidson Photographs

Come in and shop our gallery, or buy online and we'll wrap your gifts and have them ready to pick up.

Merry Christmas from all of us at the Bay School!

Teacher Profile - Nina Buzby December 01 2016, 0 Comments

Nina Buzby has been teaching pine needle basket classes and cello lessons at the Bay School for many years!  Her next pine needle basket class is Thursday & Friday, March 9 & 10.  Register early as her basket classes fill quickly!!  

Nina Eastman Buzby grew up in Richmond but has lived in Mathews since 1976. She retired in 2002 after 33 years as an elementary school teacher and administrator. Nina is the daughter of an art professor dad and musical mom. This has made her both musical and crafty. Although she has been involved in many kinds of crafts all her life, Nina was introduced to pine needle basketry in March 2003 at the Bay School. She has been making and designing pine needle baskets ever since. When not making baskets, you may find her playing the cello, singing with the Tuneful Teachers and ringing handbells with the BayBells. Nina began playing the cello in the Richmond Public Schools when she was 10 and studied privately with Paul Cartwright and Gesila Depcat of the Richmond Symphony, and was a member of the Symphony herself for 5 years during the 70's.  Nina plays locally with Strings & Things Musicians, The Festival Musicians in Kilmarnock and Trio Con Brio in Richmond.

A few questions to Nina:


What made you start teaching?

Both my parents were teachers, so teaching just came naturally. When you have a particular skill and are asked to share it with others, you do so willingly. I have to say it took me several years of making baskets before I felt I knew enough to teach the pine needle basket class.

What do you get out of teaching?

As a teenage baby sitter and camp counselor, I loved working with children; especially first graders. There is something exciting about being there when your students realize they can do things on their own. The same is true of working with adults. Being able to bubble things down into small steps that help students become successful is a challenge. And, seeing your instruction work for your students is a joy.

Tell me something people would be surprised to find out about you.

Most people are used to seeing me by myself around town. But, I have a very large family that comes often to visit Mathews. It is not unusual for me to host 27 family members for holiday weekends where they enjoy wave runners, a pedal boat, a canoe, kayaks, tubing, knee boarding, fishing, floating islands, go carting, cookouts, and family sing-alongs.

Holiday Specials! November 18 2016, 0 Comments

We love getting ready for the holidays!  And we love having so many beautiful handmade gifts lining our walls and shelves... which ones do you want to give (or receive!) this year?  Do you know we have a gift registry?  Come in, look around, and make a wish list, then tell your loved ones to shop at the Bay School!

Lots of our artists want to get in on the fun and are offering specials Thanksgiving weekend, during our Holiday Open House and beyond.  Item prices will be updated when sale time comes, for now here is a list of the discounts:

Photographs by Paul Blais - 25% off Friday, Saturday, and Monday online discount code PBP25

Oil paintings by Bob Carlson - 20% off Friday, Saturday, and Monday online discount code BCO20

Neck tiaras by Brownie Haracivet - she will be here for the Open House with special pricing, and all neck tiaras are 35% off on Cyber Monday 

Pine needle baskets and gourds by Nina Buzby - 10% off Friday, Saturday, and Monday online discount code NBB10

The following specials are gallery and school-wide, on top of the artist discounts!

Black Friday, November 25 10am-5pm

20% off art supplies

15% off December classes, online code BLACKFRIDAY

Small Business Saturday, November 26 10am-5pm

15% off kids' classes, online code ART4KIDS

Free gift with purchase over $50

Student Sunday, November 27 - online specials all day

10% off classes in the new January-May 2017 catalog, online code STUDENTSUNDAY

Cyber Monday, November 28, 9am-1pm in-store or all day online

10% off orders over $100, online code CYBER10

20% off orders over $200, online code CYBER20

20% off art supplies, pay online and pick up in-store, online code MAKEART

Giving Tuesday, November 29, 10am-4pm in-store or all day online

Make a donation of $10 or more and your name will be added to our Holiday Tree of Thanks-for-Giving

We look forward to seeing you next weekend!!!

Pam, Grace, Virginia, and Saraya

Teacher Profile - Linda Brent October 31 2016, 0 Comments

Linda Brent has been teaching clay classes at the Bay School since 2014.  Her next class is Intro to Hand-Built Pottery which will be on Thursdays, Nov. 10, 17; Dec 1 & 8 6pm - 9pm.  You will learn the pleasure of building useful objects with minimal equipment made out of clay.

Linda graduated from VCU with a BFA from the Crafts Dept. She retired after 25 years of teaching art at Ware Academy and has lived in the area for 30 years.  She enjoys the freedom to expand what she taught children at Ware to adults at the Bay School.

A few questions to Virginia

What made you start teaching?

I was a substitute art teacher for a few years when an unfortunate incident caused the permanent art teacher position to become available.

What do you get out of teaching?

 My favorite part of teaching art is making it so the student is not afraid to try new things.  I want them to feel comfortable enough to create art on their own.


Tell me something people would be surprised to find out about you.

I have been raising butterflies for 3 years.  It is magical and fun to release them!  I like being able to watch their life cycle