Chapter 03

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On the western shore of Willow Lake, three structures huddled amid the evergreens.  The shoreline studio dwarfed the tool shed nestled in the trees opposite the lakeside yard and the main house stood recessed between the two.  From the house and the studio large bay windows peered out across the lake to the eastern shore.  At the lakeside a weeping willow towered over the compound.

Kiln rooms added to the side of the studio housed industrial electric kilns and gas-burning giants.  The old wood-burning kiln which Will preferred stood half dug into the ground by the tool shed.  Despite the old kiln being Will’s preference the oven did not get much use anymore.

Inside the studio were two large tables with urns ranging in size at different stages of completion.  On the far wall were stacks of clay sacks and the smaller tool and paint storage rooms.  The bathroom was in the corner.  Everything was coated in a fine layer of clay dust giving the room a distinct grey accent.  Lined up and evenly spaced under the large window stood five pottery wheels.  Sitting at one was Will.

Will had spent most of his sixty-seven years in this greyed studio and was as much a part of the workshop as the clay and urns themselves.  All of his memories came from this place.  Bellen hands had built the Bellen studio.  Will had grown up in the studio and there he had raised his children.

The potter’s wheel is where Will felt most comfortable.  The wet clay felt moist against Will’s hands lightly running between his fingers.  Delicately the clay was brought to life by his seasoned touch.  Will had learned how to be a potter from his father and in turn had taught his son.

For generations the Bellen name was synonymous with hand crafted ornamental urns.  Since Will’s grandfather had built the studio, trucks had come to Willow Lake four times a year to pickup urns ready for consignment.  Will was proud that Bellen urns had been taken as far away as China and India.

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