Crafting Love

Two pottery goblets handmade by Melina Keighron and Eric Schopler at the NC State Crafts Center.

When planning their wedding that took place in April 2022, Melina Keighron and Eric Schopler decided it would be fun to incorporate their shared love of crafts as part of their celebration.

Melina had more experience with pottery, dating back to ceramics class in high school, followed by pottery classes at Claymakers in Durham and a one-week workshop at the renowned Penland School of Craft in western North Carolina. Eric’s background is in woodworking, though he had taken a beginning wheel class at Claymakers before COVID hit. As was true for so many folks, the pandemic had impacted their opportunities to make things, and they were eager to get back in a studio.

By fall of 2021, Keighron was a Ph.D. student in the NC State Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, and they had set a date for their wedding. She and Schopler signed up for studio memberships at the NC State Crafts Center. (Studio memberships are available for purchase by those not taking a class, provided they have sufficient experience and knowledge to work independently in the studio.)

Once Melina and Eric realized they needed two goblets for wine at their wedding, their inspiration to create kicked in. And there was more than the wedding to get them moving on making their own wine goblets: the couple hosts an annual medieval-themed feast every year. They used their semester-long studio memberships to make 18 goblets, with two rising to the honor of the wedding ceremony.

Jennifer Siegel, former clay studio manager at the Crafts Center (credited by Keighron for being “a huge help”) recalls that Melina and Eric were “quite the team in the studio.” She adds, “I loved their energy. They always worked in unison, sitting at pottery wheels across from each other, discussing their steps and sharing what they were learning.”

Their craft skills added another special touch to their celebration, with the couple painting 220 “wood biscuits” with NC flora and fauna to give as wedding party favors.

Melina reminisces that “having the shared experience of making the goblets together made the ceremony even more special and the wine a touch tastier.”

Eric Schopler and Melina Keighron stand under the chuppah at their outdoor wedding ceremony. Melina is sipping wine from one of the pottery goblets she and Eric made at the NC State Crafts Center.

Would you like to explore classes offered at the Crafts Center? You’ll find options in clay, fibers, glass, jewelry and metals, lapidary, mixed media, new media, photography, and wood. Classes are open to students, faculty, staff, and members of the community.