When people retire, they often search for something to fill those empty hours. Chuck and Shana Fair found the perfect retirement project – making pottery. They took classes at OU Zanesville and had so much fun that Chuck decided to set up a studio in their garage. That led to the creation of Seneca Lake Pottery.
Shana grew up on the water at Lake White near Waverly so Seneca Lake seemed the perfect place to retire. She loves the feeling of weightlessness in the water and enjoys meeting a school of fish as well as exploring the beauty of the underwater colors.
Chuck grew up locally near Kimbolton and met Shana when they were students at Ohio State University. They married after graduation and each had fulfilling careers. Chuck worked as a buyer in the electronics industry, where he saw the progression from tubes to transistors to microprocessors. Shana’s career led her to work as a library director.
Today at Seneca Lake Pottery, Chuck focuses on wheel throwing to create pots with strong lines. He embellishes his pots by altering the thrown forms, adding texture and finishing with bold glazes.
He frequently demonstrates making pottery at downtown events and festivals. People, especially children, gather around to watch his creations magically take form.
Although pottery was new to Shana, she has been interested in crafts since she was a Brownie Scout and wove her first lanyard. Since then her passion turned to creating objects in macrame and she is presently working on a window treatment.
She also hand spins yarn, silk, and cotton using her great-great grandmother’s spinning wheel. Then she dyes the yarn with native plants such as marigolds, onion skins, walnut husks, Queen Anne’s Lace, or insects. These were the kinds of natural materials the early settlers could find near their homes.
Last season Shana created some beautiful pottery Christmas ornaments with silkscreened original sketches of the scenes done by Bob Ley before the Dickens Victorian Village project ever began. The idea was so popular that she is going to do more scenes this year.
Both Chuck and Shana are active in not only the making of pottery but also volunteering in the community. They are a husband/wife team that works together at so many functions.
They play leadership roles in the Byesville Rotary Club by organizing events to help the community. The Rotary Club provides scholarships to many area youths, Health Screenings. and Christmas food baskets to mention a few of their projects.
A recent mission trip took them to Guatemala where they donated books to the Literacy Program there. This country is making an attempt to be self-sustaining, so Rotary is assisting with scholarships and books to help keep children in school. The Fairs enjoy meeting interesting people wherever they travel.
They also are a tremendous help with Dickens Victorian Village in nearby Cambridge. In fact, without their long hours spent with the Dickens Creative Team, the Victorian scenes may never make it to the streets. Chuck is the carpenter in residence as he builds and repairs platforms as well as figures. He is now responsible for making the framework for any new or replaced characters.
Shana has been working on the scenes for years as she has an eye for perfect costumes. Her needle and thread are often at work here. In the last couple of years, she has expanded her talents to making the heads for some of the figures.
Both Chuck and Shana will be found in the Heritage Arts Tent at the 50th Anniversary of the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival demonstrating their creative talents. Chuck will be throwing pots on the potter’s wheel while Shana will be demonstrating slab building on molds.
They enjoy exploring new places so take exciting vacations each year. A favorite spot is the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean where they enjoy scuba diving in the coral reef at the National Park. This year their plans are to head to Glacier National Park on a Roads Scholar tour.
As you can tell, this is a busy couple. When asked what they do for relaxation, both answer, “Gardening.” Chuck also enjoys golfing and woodworking while Shana, with her library background, enjoys reading a book at the water’s edge. They both enjoy frequent trips to the theater.
Chuck admonishes young people to “keep an open mind about what is going on around you. Don’t be complacent about what you learned in your childhood.” Chuck finds changes in technology fascinating. “There’s no way to guess what you are going to see in life in the next hundred years.”
People like Chuck and Shana who share their talents are vital to the success of the community. We’re happy they decided to make their home on Seneca Lake.