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Legacies left through ceramics

B&D Ceramics in Meansville is continuing the legacy of Wanola’s Ceramics and other ceramics shops which date back to 1945 in Nebraska and their ceramics legacy is now continuing through new owners. The family business was recently sold by Bob Clark of Meansville to his son Brian Clark and is operated by Tina Ackiss. His mom Wanola and dad Earl took over their aunt and uncle’s ceramics shop in 1967 in Nebraska, the same year Bob left for the U.S. Navy and he was later stationed in Cuba. ’They started doing it as a hobby and the next thing they knew, they had a full ceramics shop,’ said Bob. ‘Earl quit farming to work full time in the shop and when he and his wife Wanola retired, they planned to sell their more than 2,000 molds and three kilns, but my wife and I decided to buy the business in April 1985. I love this place and I’ve loved ceramics since I was a little boy and my mom would let us paint ceramics.’ The ceramic molds are filled with slip which is a liquid mixture that turns into bisque when fired once at 1,975 degrees. The bisque can be painted either with glaze or acrylic paints which are available at B&Ds and then they can be fired again to create a stronger piece. ’Slip is a mixture talc, clay and chemicals all blended together to make the liquid that ceramics are made of,’ said Brian Clark. Dixie Slip was purchased from Peggy and Jerry Hopper in Hapeville in 2006. ’They were our supplier, and they were retiring,’ said Brian. That purchase added the slip production to the ceramics shop. Slip is available for purchase for $5 per gallon. ‘The slip is being purchased by ceramics shops all over the southeast,’ Brian said. B&D Ceramics is also in the process of setting up a mold library to check out and return molds without having to purchase them. ‘Someone told me ‘˜no one’s ever done that before,’ and I said, ‘˜Well, there’s never been a Bob Clark before,’ he said. B&D Ceramics now has around 15,000 molds in their library that they have gathered since the 1970’s and are adding others constantly. ‘You can find just about anything here in our library,’ Bob said. ’There’s something for everyone to create, paint and enjoy for years and years,’ he said. Churches and other groups are welcome to come do crafts and there are projects starting from 50 cents and up. The ceramics shop is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Saturday. Classes are available upon request and bisque, greenware and slip are available and items can be fired for a small fee. Slip purchases can be made by calling Brian at 678-603-3718. Set up an appointment with Tina at 404-625-1820 to create ceramic pieces in the evenings.

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