Rebecca Wood was born in Richmond, Virginia and raised mostly in Smyrna, Georgia. She graduated from Lovett High School there, and then attended the University of the South before transferring to the University of Georgia in 1975 to study painting and drawing. She is the owner of R. Wood Studios, one of the largest pottery studios in America. Rebecca describes herself as a creator, business owner, fashion designer, flower arranger, photographer, painter, drawer, potter and promoter. She currently lives in an historic home in Lexington, Georgia.
What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Well, I graduated in drawing and painting from UGA. I did that for ten years, just painting and selling paintings. But, I always had creative inclinations to do other things, like fabric paintings and sewing, furniture painting and all sorts of other things. So, I dabbled in that, but what I really wanted to learn was china painting, which is what they call old lady painting where you have an already white china plate and paint delicate looking daisies or pansies on there. I finally got around to learning that skill, but then it turned out it would come off with a serrated knife or in the dishwasher, so it is just not durable. At that point, I just ordered some clay and glazes, and my neighbor, Nancy Lendved, bought me a used kiln for $200.00 at a yard sale. I just got a rolling pin and started rolling out balls of clay and making what I wanted to and glazing it with zero concepts about ceramics because I never had studied it at all. Right off the bat, people started buying the ceramics so gradually everything else got packed up and then I was just only doing ceramics all the time.
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens, and what do you love there?
I really like The National. There are so many good restaurants. And, of course home.made. Those are probably my two faves, although I haven’t eaten at all the restaurants. I don’t eat out that much now that I live out in Lexington.
What is your favorite thing to do in Athens, or Lexington, when you have some downtime?
If I am in Athens, I like to go to the farmer’s market on Saturday. That is probably my favorite thing to do besides thrifting and going to antique malls. Out in Lexington, I have more favorite things to do like yard work and flower arranging, photography, painting and sewing and getting inspired and landscaping and all the things that I do out there.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I would go back to Japan. I just got back from there two weeks ago and it was just so fascinating and different and beautiful and wonderful and so many concepts there that intrigue me. I am still trying to digest it all! But, I am obsessed with Japan, and this was my second trip there. I went ten years ago and this time because my son is out there and we travel around together, but I am not going to wait another ten years before I go back.
If you could have a billboard that says anything, what would it say?
It would be something about love or beauty. Or, my personal motto: intuit and do it.
What advice would you offer to younger yourself or do you give to others?
Work hard, but also somehow try to relax. It is really hard for me because I have so many ideas that when I do try to relax, I’m always saying to myself, ”get up, do this!’ It is hard, but it is so important, especially as you get older you just need more rest time between your big projects and stuff. It took me like ten days to get over Japan because I was so exhausted. We went hard over there and blew our minds.
What current or former business around here makes you most nostalgic about Athens?
I am just nostalgic for when downtown used to have stores, that is what I am nostalgic for. I mean it is all beer joints now and no retail. It used to be so much fun for me and the kids to window shop at Christmas with all the lights up and look in all the windows and get something to eat and all that.
What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
That I was a disco queen in the 80’s! I will leave it at that. Ask people that were there in the 80’s.
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home”?
Light, peace and beauty.