Bay School News

ALTERED: Exploring the Artwork of Patrick Andrews January 17 2018, 0 Comments

Our first gallery exhibition of the year is a solo show featuring the sculptural work of Patrick Andrews. Patrick's sculptures consist of as many repurposed objects as possible and his award-winning metal work ranges from the whimsical to functional. He uses patinas and cut shapes to explore surface, scale and space in a way that alters his materials into works of poetic beauty. 

Gallery Coordinator, Saraya Cheney, had the opportunity to ask Patrick a few questions to gain a bit of insight into his creative inspirations and his origins as an artist:



SC - How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

PA - I use scrap metal, found objects and raw material to make sculptures, lamps, bells and functional art. By using reclaimed or re-purposed materials I can give these items a second chance at life and help to reduce the amount of material destined for landfills.

SC - Where do you say that you get your inspiration from? Does it come from one particular place or multiple places?

PA - I am frequently inspired by nature and other artists. In nature, the organisms or residents will frequently adapt to the environment in which they find themselves. This adaptability can result in entirely new species or behaviors. Some of the most vibrant colors and shapes I have seen have been in nature. Even after a natural disaster such as an earthquake or forest fire, nature is able to re-assert itself in newer and stronger ways. The skills and techniques of other artists have inspired me to look at what I make or do and realize I need to evolve as well. That is one reason I am frequently changing what I am making. In order to learn and grow.

SC - What or who do you think has been the biggest influence in your artistic career?

PA - While I visited the usual museums and an occasional gallery growing up, I think the Internet has become one of the biggest influences on my artistic endeavors. The Internet has allowed me to see art and artists from around the world. I have been able to see styles, colors, and techniques that I never knew existed. I have even used it to contact some artists for advice. The Internet has also allowed me to show my work to the world and I have been fortunate to find that others like what I make.



SC - What’s something you’ve struggled with creatively the most?

PA - Color choices, combinations, or finish is frequently a challenge for me. I have found that while I can see in my mind the idea of what I want to make, the color or finish can have a dramatic impact on the final product. There are some pieces I have made where, as soon as I was finished, I knew it was a success and other times when I look at something and realize it just doesn’t work. Sometimes it is that the paint did not adhere correctly or had drips or runs, or other times that the color selection was just plain wrong. I had one bell that I ended up having to repaint four times before I was happy with it.



SC - Have you always been making work from salvaged items or is this something that is relatively new? What does it mean to you to be able to take something, alter it and create something entirely new?

PA - I remember being in grade school or middle school and walking along railroad tracks, out in the woods, or on the beach. I would come across pieces of metal, interesting looking rocks, sticks or seashells and drag them home. In my mind they always became something else. As an adult I have been able to purchase tools and equipment to bring those ideas to life. I also tried to instill that idea in my children. I still have containers of Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, crayons, and colored pencils my children used in school and have been known to raid those boxes for current projects.

SC - What prompted your work to head in that direction?

PA - One of the most important things I learned is to not look at an item as what it is, but what it can become. I apply that same philosophy to people and try to look for the hidden potential of what they can become. While I think I have been somewhat artistic my whole life, I have found that I now have the time and means to bring that to life.

SC - What is your favorite piece that you have created?

PA - It would be a dogwood branch sculpture I made for my house. I was on a portion of Virginia Beach one fall day about eight years ago and I found a large pile of metal rebar. The waves had twisted the pieces together like a plate of spaghetti. In addition, the salt water and sand had eroded portions of the metal so that instead of its usual look, it now looked very textured and organic. I had no idea what I was going to make with this, but I knew I had to have it. That rebar sat in my back yard until the following spring when the dogwood trees started to bloom. I now knew what the rebar was to become.

SC - Do you ever get blocked creatively? How do you work through it if you do?

PA - To borrow a quote from William Faulkner – “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o'clock every morning.”

While I have had times when I question what I am doing and if it is worth it, I consider myself lucky in many respects. I have stacks of paper with sketches or ideas for various projects. When I find that I am tired of a particular style or item, I will frequently change the type of material I am using or the style of work I am attempting. This allows me time to take a break and regroup. I have also found that if I need inspiration, I can also just start cleaning up my pile of scrap metal. Moving those pieces of metal around is akin to re-arranging the letters in your rack in the game of Scrabble, in that, sometimes a piece just jumps right out at you.

I also recently read an article where another artist offered advice along these lines. “Make what you need to make in order to pay the bills. Occasionally, make what you want to make and that is fun for you. Soon you find that this last group of items is what pays the bills.” I interpreted that as meaning that the audience can see when an artist is making something from the heart.


Patrick's solo show ALTERED: Exploring the Artwork of Patrick Andrews opens on Friday, January 26th with a reception from 5-7pm. Refreshments and drinks will be served. 


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!


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.


Shop Local With Rebecca Grow July 17 2016, 0 Comments

Shop Local is a monthly event held at The Bay School every third Thursday of the month. This month, we're proud to be featuring Mathews' very own, Rebecca Grow and her beautiful, functional 3D watercolors. 


Rebecca first discovered her love of watercolors two years ago in a class taught by Kathleen Noffsinger, right here at The Bay School. Since then, she's developed a unique way of displaying her watercolors in a 3D format. Come stop by The Bay School this Thursday, July 21st, to get to know Rebecca and experience her process first hand. Rebecca has also graciously offered a 10% discount on all of her work on that day only. What a wonderful opportunity to encourage and support our local artists!

For more information on Rebecca, you can visit her website: and be sure to keep an eye out for an article featuring Rebecca in the August edition of Chesapeake Style Magazine.

Wildly Creative Week at The Bay School July 14 2016, 0 Comments

This week the Bay School has come alive with the amazing creativity of kids and teens from our local communities. Our Free Weeks of Art are in full swing and the attendees have been diving right in, exploring the world of myth & legend! Mermaids, dragons, Medusa masks and loads of Pandora’s Boxes line the shelves of the classrooms, adding splashes of color and touches of whimsy to the atmosphere. All of the work created in our Free Week of Art is eligible to be displayed in our Kids Art Show coming up in August, from the 12th-20th. Any kids or teens who wish to have their work in the gallery during that time can either leave their work at The Bay School or bring their work in from August 4th-6th.  Along with works from the Free Weeks of Art, we are encouraging those who currently attend, or who have attended, any of our Outreach Programs to participate, as well any children who have taken a class at the Bay School in the last year. The show is one of The Bay School’s proudest moments as we celebrate the imaginations of our community’s budding artists.


Joining in on the creativity this week is the Virginia Cooperative Extension Mathews 4-H Program. Gallery and Outreach Coordinator, Saraya Cheney, has been joined by 30 Cloverbud Campers who are all incredibly excited to create works of art based on the theme of “water”. The campers have enjoyed learning about watercolors, making sea creature windsocks, exploring the deep with submarine silhouettes and creating ocean themed sculptures from clay. 

Though these past few weeks have been packed with activity within The Bay School walls, plenty of art has been taking place in other locations around Mathews and Gloucester. Many of our Outreach Programs are still inspiring members of the community with Bay School Teaching Artists visiting the Mathews Active Lifestyles Center, Riverside Convalescent Center in Mathews, The Mathews Boys and Girls Club, The Brambles Day Support Center and The Laurel Shelter. Each of these programs provide an artistic respite from the summer heat and a way to connect with the creativity within so many members of the local community.

Outreach Programs - OpenArts After School November 12 2015, 0 Comments

The Bay School not only provides a place for art enthusiasts to learn new techniques, but it also goes out into the Mathews/Gloucester communities to teach art enrichment programs to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to explore the arts. The second week each month, we’ll give you a peek into the many educational programs that are powered by grants and other generous donors.     

Every Wednesday, from 3-5pm, the Bay School joins forces with the Mathews Family YMCA to teach the OpenArts After School Program. This special arts session introduces students to a different artist/technique each month and provides a much needed, “art break” for the students that attend. Led by Saraya Cheney, Bay School Outreach Coordinator, and Virginia Coyle, Bay School Teaching Artist, the students are welcome to explore, make messes and create something beautiful.  In past months, the student artists have explored the works of Vincent Van Gogh, George Rodrigue and most recently Roy Lichtenstein. This program has been generously funded by the Richard and Caroline T. Gwathmey Memorial Trust, making it open, and free, to the general public.  Elementary, middle, and home school students here in Mathews are welcome to join the YMCA campers in this art adventure!



  For more information about this or any of our other outreach programs, please contact us directly via phone or email – 804-725-1278

Teacher Profile - Christopher Wynn November 02 2015, 0 Comments



 Christopher Wynn will be teaching “A Crash Course in Watercolor” at the Bay School on Thursday & Friday, Nov. 19 & 20.  Christopher majored in fine art at the University of Washington, Seattle, and the University of California Berkley, where he graduated with a B.S.  Further art studies include Otis Parsons Art Institute and Santa Monica JC, and Foothill JC in Los Altos, CA.

He worked for years as an Art Director and Creative Director for numerous corporations and advertising agencies on the West Coast.  In 1992 he began and produced artwork and campaigns for many of Silicon Valley’s largest and most successful companies.




 In 2005 and 2006, Christopher circumvented the globe solo for seven months to paint watercolors en plein aire in over 24 countries.   Currently, his watercolors are represented by a number of art galleries and art venues on the West and East Coast and many around Richmond, VA.   He generously donated one of his paintings to the Bay School Fine Arts Auction this year



Christopher paints contemporary realism with a loose style.  He typically “mixes and rolls” the paint directly on the paper to achieve soft, organic gradients of color, transitions virtually impossible in any other medium.  There is always an element of “hit and miss” with these techniques, which often bring surprising results.  Here are some pictures from his first class at the Bay School, in February, along with some of his own work.


Empty Bowls! November 25 2014, 0 Comments

The Bay School Community Arts Center is excited to host the Middle Peninsula’s first Empty Bowls Fundraising Event to benefit Hands across Mathews. Local artists have been busy making hand-crafted pottery bowls for several months in preparation for the event. Each ticketed guest will receive one of these unique bowls and a serving of soup, bread, and water, as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger and was created by The Imagine Render Group. Events vary greatly in size and character – some are extravagant soirees while others are relaxed lunch-time gatherings. This event, on Sunday, December 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm., will be informal and reflect Mathews’ small town community. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the Bay School in advance or at the door. Ticket sales will be limited to the number of bowls available, and other artwork and pottery will be offered for special sale as well. All proceeds go directly to Hands Across Mathews, so please bring cash or check.

Market Days is almost upon us! September 02 2014, 0 Comments

Make sure to join us for the always exciting Mathews Market Days this coming Friday and Saturday!

There will be tons of fun to be had throughout the historic downtown area with funny parades and contests and the Art & Craft Show. 

We'll have our own mini-festival here at the Bay School, with several local artists on hand to show off their art!  Artists on site will include Katie Adkins (painting), Libby Boyer (glass jewelry), Carolyn Carpin (jewelry), Brenda Finley (pottery), Kevin Forsythe (stained glass), Kinn Kreckman (fiber smocking), Debbie LaFrance (painting), Brenda Mahoney (pottery), Cynthia Ray (painting and mixed media), and Jennifer Schroeder (jewelry).


There will be hands-on art activities for the kids to unleash their creativity outside, including sand painting, mask decorating, bracelet braiding, and making artist trading cards.  There will be a special area for Teen Open Studio, which moves to Friday afternoons starting this week.  Teen artists can make artist trading cards and paint mini masterpieces on canvas.


And no Market Days would be complete without our fabulous photo opportunities!  Come check out who you can be this time.

Many thanks to Gallery Manager Suzanne Wheeler, who has put all of this together and will help you bring out your own artistic best all weekend!