ALEPH leaves its mark on SPC

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Another guest group has joined the SPC/CLT family! Starting with a connection through CLT Jewish Cohort member Kathy Orchen, and bolstered by our dear friends Rabbi Arthur Waskow and Rabbi Phyllis Berman, the Alliance for Jewish Renewal or “ALEPH” chose to hold two weeks of programming at Stony Point Center this summer: the first called Smicha Week; and the second, Ruach Ha'Aretz (meaning “Spirit of the Earth”). In their wake they are leaving several beautiful pieces of public art, a kashered kitchen, and raised expectations.

To prepare for ALEPH’s visit, we undertook for the first time the process of "kashering" - making the kitchen kosher by following the Jewish dietary laws. ALEPH extended the opportunity for CLT members and Summer Institute students to participate in several of their class sessions, as well as in the chanting and Shabbat ceremonies. The space was literally bursting with the colors and creativity of ALEPH’s sacred art and liturgical decorations, which SPC staff worked hard to help arrange, and to which every person on campus was blessed to treat their eyes. Finally, artist and Ruach Ha’Aretz staff member Sandy Pond (pictured) donated her time to paint a series of decorative murals on each of the lodges, depicting the trees for which they are named: Maple, Beech, Walnut, Magnolia.

Kashering our kitchen was a major undertaking, which was both challenging and galvanizing fo the community. Our Food Service Manager, Donna Costa, learned all she could about the requirements of kashering the kitchen and the religious reasoning behind the rules. Our community and staff supported the effort by agreeing to adhere to the strict policy around food and participating in only a dairy kosher kitchen serving vegetarian fare and fish during their time here. Many staff members joined in the massive effort to clean all surfaces and items in our kitchen under the direction of Rabbis Victor Gross and Channah Leslie.

The project was born out of necessity: Kashering the kitchen was a must-have for ALEPH because of the duration of their event, the size of the group and the exclusive contract. “For years we thought we could never really pull off kashering our kitchen,” said Costa. “But thanks to an amazing team effort across all departments, including the CLT community, we tested our limits and succeeded!”

“The amount of energy people put into it truly touched me,” said DeDe Adika, a member of the Jewish Cohort of the Community of Living Traditions. “A Presbyterian conference center with a kashered kitchen… it’s really a small miracle!”

ALEPH’s leadership and participants were so grateful for the project and the gesture it represented. Rabbi Victor Gross, who supervised the process said: “From the moment we asked about kashering the kitchen, the Stony Point Center’s commitment to and capacity for radical hospitality became fully visible. The Stony Point staff and community embraced our needs with such grace and willingness, engendering trust in the outcome. From the doing to maintaining to understanding, the Stony Point community and ALEPH/Ruach Ha’Aretz efforts were exemplary.”

ALEPH has also extended special energy to give something back to SPC as an indicator of the meaningfulness of their time here. Artist and Ruach Ha’Aretz staff member Sandy Pond reached out to SPC Co-Director Kitty Ufford-Chase to ask if there was some way the group could participate in an art project that would ‘leave a mark’ on our campus. After some conversation, they settled on a small mural painted on the front of each of our guest lodges, depicting leaves and blossoms that represent the name of each lodge: Maple, Beech, Walnut, Magnolia. “Not only are these little bursts of color just beautiful,” said Ufford-Chase, “but they will assist guests in finding the lodge they are assigned to. I shared with Sandy how deeply moved I am by the talent, skill and love she poured into the murals.”

“The exchange of energy that has flowed through these projects has impacted our lives and our campus in ways that will bear fruit for years to come.” said General Manager Paula Sandusky. “Managing a complex event where 200 people come and go over a two week period and classes are held in nearly a dozen meeting spaces has its logistical challenges for sure! My experience with ALEPH’s leadership and participants reminds me that trust in relationships empowers us to overcome obstacles, understand and allow for differences, and open up to the possibility of deeper sharing. Our campus, staff and resident volunteers are changed by each guest group, and we are especially grateful to ALEPH/Ruach Ha’Aretz for the ways in which they have impacted us with the compassion they bring to the world.”

Open Studio with Maud!

SPC Artist-in-Residence Maud Bartlett has been animating the SPC Art Space with Open Studio sessions every Monday & Wednesday from 4-6pm. All are welcome! You can learn to throw pots on the wheel, or try hand building with clay. Or you could explore fabric painting. Sessions will run all summer through September 6.  Contact Maud for other times or a Jin Shin Jyutsu session. Call or text: 502-418-0035

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More about Maud:
Martha "Maud" Bartlett:
Potter ~ Fiber Artist ~ Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner

Maud Bartlett is potter, fiber artist and practitioner of Jin Shin Jyutsu. After 17 years of teaching art in the public schools in Louisville, KY, she is now pursuing her arts through the artist-in-residency at Stony Point Center. Maud imagined and coordinated the Women’s Oral History Quilt and Theater Project and also received the Gheens Institute for Innovation Creativity and Entrepreneurship Award for her efforts in bringing the arts to disadvantaged students. Maud's website is at

Pottery at Stony Point Center’s Art Space
Making functional pottery is one of Maud’s great loves. As a young woman, Maud started the first pottery studio here at Stony Point Center 33 years ago, and has come back to inaugurate the pottery studio in the newly built Art Space. Maud has enjoyed teaching many people pottery and sees the studio as a sanctuary. There are four potter’s wheels and plenty of clay to build by hand. All ages and abilities are welcome. For instructional times other than Open Studio times you can contact Maud for details and appointments.

Fiber Art Explorations
Fiber Artist, Maud, takes the functional quality of fabric and transcends it into an art form blending color, textures and storytelling. Techniques include hand dyeing, painting, printing, stitching and more. Contact Maud for studio time and let her help you transform your ideas into something beautiful and functional.

Energy Body Work
Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) is an energy body work that comes from Japan. It is like a mixture of Reiki and Acupuncture as it uses a light touch of hands on the body along flows that are similar to the system of Acupuncture. Jin Shin Jyutsu is a path of harmonizing that can be done by either a practitioner or to ourselves. In JSJ there are no illnesses, only projects we work on. One-hour session is $60


Martha "Maud" Bartlett - Potter          

April - August 2017

Maud's website

A bowl by Martha

Maud's first official role in teaching was at SPC in 1984-5 as a young woman when the first pottery studio was created here:

The studio became a hub of community and even with my lack of experience the media of clay taught us all. Clay has been my longest enduring medium of choice. For 34 years I have been in relationship with clay. When clay wasn't in my life, it was clay that always brought me back to my life. More recently, fiber art has snuck into my consciousness through the back door. I began my fiber art journey while teaching art in the public schools and an artist came to work with my students. Now, it too, is here to stay.

I am now just retiring from 17+ years as a public school art teacher in Louisville, KY (ages 11 and up). My teaching style did not always work well with uncooperative or unmotivated students as I tend to allow the media teach the student and then I would model as needed. Given enough time or a class setting more conducive to intimacy I could usually get my students to take initiative and pride in their work. My class was often the reason they came to school.

During my time at Stony Point Center I hope to be able to make a viable clay space, kiln firing success, wheel working studio a hub of creativity and conversation for the Stony Point Community and its guests while also exploring functional clay forms through aesthetics and functionality.


Martha's Bowls

How does Maud see her art?

The purpose of my art has been personally therapeutic and a tool for dialogue with my inner self. As I have gotten older and have accumulated more 2D visual art than I can display in my home I have turned to the functional arts, bringing beauty to daily experiences like eating and sleeping. I also see art as a medium for creating deep relationships and community.

A few words about Maud's spiritual journey:

I am on a spiritual path. Been on it seriously since I was a child having the presence of Jesus in my bedroom. Yes, I have been flooded with God's light and continue to hone my practices. My practice has come in several ways. My work with young people has given me great opportunity to practice unconditional love. My studies in the martial arts have led me to eastern Taoism and Buddhist teachings which have infiltrated my understandings of this path of life, good and evil, and breathing-movement prayer/unification of mind, body, spirit.  I am also a shamanic practitioner with much experience entering deep conscious space for healing and growth. Added to this non-verbal practice I have just begun a practice of journaling dialogue I learned through classes in the Akashic Records. This has been helpful to be able to put words to the wisdom.

The beginning of Maud's passion for art:

One day when I was little, I had a baby sitter who could draw. She drew a picture of me sitting at the table and she drew me the way I was, with a little white undershirt with the small straps. When she showed it to me I told her I wanted to have different clothes, that I didn't like the undershirt. She said, "Go put on something else." So I ran to my room and changed my shirt. She drew the new shirt right on top of the other one and I saw the magic in it. Wow!  I think I was forever hooked from that moment on. I saw how we make our lives, it doesn't just happen to us...

Martha Maud Bartlett