07-01-2021 Howard Mag - Flipbook - Page 15
showcases the creations of about 50 local
artists. Visitors can buy a ceramic coffee mug
or plant holder, a colored glass picture frame
or button-covered mask at prices ranging $15
to about $200.
The second oor contains classrooms for
instruction in pottery, fused glass and mosaics and is outtted with 15 individual pottery
wheels. A small room at the top of the stairs
houses two kilns for ring pottery.
“ClayGround was too neat a place to stay
closed,” Michael said.
The family’s saga began when the rst
ood ravaged Ellicott City in July 2016. The
Koplows bought the business from the previous owner, who elected not to reopen.
“We decided to make a commitment to
our family, this business and to Ellicott City,”
Ellen Koplow said. “When we jumped in, we
jumped in with both feet.”
The second ood roared through Ellicott
City in May 2018.
“The town and roads were closed, but we
didn’t shut down operations for more than
a week,” Michael said. “Our customers who
were signed up for classes had to talk their
way past police barricades.”
In August 2019, the Koplows bought the
100-year-old building where ClayGround was
Artist/instructor Cheryle O’Donnell glazes bisque
pottery in the studio.
located. Seven months later, COVID-19 descended on Maryland, shuttering businesses
And thanks to the oak tree, which fell
in August 2020, the roof now includes two
“We thought, ‘OK, we’ll turn this lemon
into lemonade,’ ” Michael said.
Renovations began last November.
“The building was very compartmentalized,” he said. “There was no central airconditioning system. The pipes were so old
they were wrapped with newspapers from
1937. You could peel them off and read an
article about the Hindenberg disaster.
“And since one of our principal values is
inclusiveness, we wanted to have wheelchair
ramps and other things to make ClayGround
accessible to people with disabilities.”
Two weeks after ClayGround began
welcoming customers once again, psychologist VJ Iannone sat quietly at a table putting
nishing touches on a glass pendant.
“It was so hard not to have this place open
for more than a year,” she said.
“There is something therapeutic about
trying new things, even when you have to
struggle a lot. ClayGround is so welcoming.
It allows me the freedom to come as I am, to
push myself, and to see myself in different
ClayGround, 3715 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott
City, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11
a.m. to 11 p.m. For details, call 443-812-1158 or
Beautiful shades, moving to your schedule.
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