Local youngsters staging "The Boy Who Drew Cats'

MEREDITH — Ten local young actors will perform an original adaptation of a Japanese folk tale when the Winnipesaukee Playhouse Education Department presents "The Boy Who Drew Cats" this weekend.

Adapted by the Playhouse's Education Director Timothy L'Ecuyer, "The Boy Who Drew Cats" is the story of the youngest son of a farmer, too small and weak to be of use on the farm, who scribbles in a notebook as he quietly endures the rolled eyes and muttered disapproval of his siblings and schoolmates. Noticing his attention to his notebook and hoping the boy might prove himself an intellectual, his parents send him to boarding school. The boy, however, often misses his lessons, as he is more and more distracted by the notebook — and his drawings of cats contained in it. "The Boy Who Drew Cats" encourages us to see the value in those who cannot and do not follow traditional paths.

The show is sponsored by New Hampton School and will be performed on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased over the phone at (603) 279-0333 or online at www.winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org.

Bakers respond to call for cookies after 2,400 taken from car bound for Christmas Village

LACONIA — Although a Grinch made off with 200 dozen cookies destined for Christmas Village, people from across the city quickly fired up their ovens Thursday and filled their shopping bags to ensure that no child visiting the annual festival will go without.

Patty Derocher had collected the cookies, packed them into her car then stopped at City Hall on Wednesday on her way to deliver them to the Community Center, only to find the cookies gone when she returned to her car. She called her friend Mary Huntoon at the City Clerk's Office who said "I took the ball and ran with it." Thursday morning an email asking for donations of cookies made the rounds of city offices while word was also posted Facebook. "Don't you mess with our Christmas Village," Huntoon said., adding that her family was baking in the afternoon and she planned to bake that night.

Nancy Brown at the City Manager's Office said that soon packages of home baked and store bought cookies of all varieties began flowing into her office. "They just keep coming in," she said, pointing to the stack of boxed cookies in the Mayor's Office by the middle of the afternoon. Patrick's Pub donated 50 dozen. "The comity is pulling together," Brown said.

Meanwhile, firefighters tended the double oven at Central Station throughout the day. "It was pretty tough for us to get it all done with all the calls and inspections in between," said Lieutenant Jay Ellingson. "We had to keep an eye on the oven and not set the fire to the fire house." Altogether the firefighters had baked 47 dozen cookies by late afternoon while Susan Matheson of Warren-Wentworth Emergency Medical Service spent her day off baking another 10 dozen.

"This is a huge event," Ellingson said. "When you go with your kids, the hot chocolate and cookies, that's all part of it. Without the cookies, there goes some of the magic."

Local attorney opening Redneck Potters shop with open house on Friday night

LACONIA — With her father an artist and her mother a musician, it's not hard to understand where local attorney Jen Brooks gets her artistic talent.

A potter, Brooks is opening Redneck Potters in the same suite as her law offices at Eight Gables shopping center (585 Union Avenue) this Friday night.

Brooks said she came to pottery early when her father, an artist and eventual dean at Plymouth State College, found a foot operated potter's wheel and she started making things.

"It was fun, but I found it hard to keep my clay in the center," she said.

Brooks attended Holderness School, where her mother was the music director, and said that at the time the school had a very small arts program but it included a pottery section where she trained under Bertha Waters, who was the wife of famous New Hampshire wood engraver Herbert Waters.

She said she earned the Art Award at Holderness School for three of her four years there and went on to attend the University of New Hampshire on a Fine Arts Scholarship.

Because she loved her work-study job cooking in the faculty lounge, she changed her major to Hotel Administration and worked for a chef who was from the Culinary Arts Institute in Newark, New Jersey.

"I fell in love with cooking," she said.

After graduation she was the food and beverage manager at the Ashworth in Hampton and later branched out on her own. She said her solo venture didn't prove to be what she had hoped so she worked in various kitchens while she went to law school at night.

Back permanently in Laconia, she said she bought her own electric potters wheel and worked out an arrangement with Mike Verhoeks — she would turn her own pottery and use his glazes and kiln.

"I finally bought a kiln in 2014," Brooks said, noting she found it on Ebay and went to Long Island to bring it back.

Most of what will be on display in her pottery shop is from that time forward. Also on display are some smaller items like Christmas Tree ornaments that are made by her wife Joyce Dunwoody.

Brooks loves blues and earth tones. She said her glazes are based on how much of each one she can procure because she is "a dipper and not a painter," two potting techniques that create a different looks.

All of Brooks's collection is made with the intent of being used practically.

"There is no lead,  they are dishwasher safe, oven safe, and microwave safe," she said.

"I make functional items that people can use," she said.

The grand opening of Redneck Potters is Friday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Anyone who attends will get a non-expiring 10 percent off coupon as well as enjoy snacks and soft drinks.