The Wake Robin Gallery Story
If you are lucky enough to visit Southern West Virginia, you may feel you have stepped back in time to the beauty of an early 1900’s farming village as you enter Forest Hill, near the border of Monroe and Summers Counties, the home of Wake Robin Gallery.
Within the gallery, you will find many treasures. Gallery owner Marcia Springston Dillon will greet you, most likely accompanied by her companion German Shepherd. While the beauty of her work is immediately apparent, you may not realize that Marcia has created these amazing pieces while being blind since birth.
Marcia’s passion for pottery began during her independent study in high school. She discovered that she really loved pottery, particularly the magic of the wheel.
Before pursuing a career in pottery, she worked as a counselor for newly blind adults. “I spent my time teaching those skills that were normal for me, but new to them, like how to operate phones, threading needles, cooking and the skills of daily living. I wanted to show them how to be more confident and adept in their environment.”
Later, Marcia decided to obtain a graduate degree. While applying to graduate schools, she took a job at an historical museum as a tour guide in the glassworks and pottery studios. Working closely with artisans at the museum provided her the inspiration to focus on ceramics and sculpture. After graduating, Marcia returned to her home state of West Virginia and eventually established her gallery in Forest Hill. As explanation for choosing Forest Hill, Marcia says "We mostly thought of it as a good place to work and a great place to live."
Originally, she focused on making fine functional pieces like mugs, platters, bowls and dinnerware. Over the years she continued to attend workshops with other successful ceramic artists to enhance her techniques and artistic growth, and now finds that by spending part of her time on more unique sculptural pieces, she feels more challenged and fulfilled.
In addition to Marcia’s stoneware and ceramic pieces, the gallery also offers jewelry, wooden utensils, stained glass, baskets and other interesting items from talented local artisans. Marcia’s pieces beckon to be held and used. Her glazes are beautiful renditions of colors from nature - celadon shades and cool and dark blues blended with stone tones. The motto on her business card is an apt description of her work: “Pleasing to the hand, as well as the eye."