May 7, 2007

Dassel's Polish potters to be on HGTV

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The Levandowskis of Dassel will soon be seen on the Home and Garden Channel in a show featuring the Polish potters and their individual work.

Jena Levandowski was encouraged by a friend to apply for “That’s Clever,” a show profiling three crafters from around the US in a 30-minute episode.

When she was accepted for the taping, Jena wanted her husband, Aron, to be in on it, as well, since he’s the one who got her into pottery.

The show was supposed to feature Minneapolis crafters, but Jena talked the show into traveling an hour west just for them.

“It all happened so fast,” Jena said. After applying and getting the call back from the show’s producer, the Levandowskis had only a few short weeks to prepare for the big day.

“It’s pretty crazy to think it all transpired in two weeks,” Jena said.

The Levandowskis used the time to prepare the work spaces for the camera crew and to make prototypes that would be segmented at different stages.

Aron described it as a cooking show, where the cook would prepare the food and then, at the end of the show, pull out the finished product from the oven.

The crew arrived April 24 at 8 a.m. and didn’t finish filming until midnight.

“It was exhausting,” Jena said. “It was much harder than what I expected,” she said.

With the 30-minute show featuring three crafters, each would only receive about six to eight minutes.

“For every minute of the segment there was about an hour of taping,” Aron said.

During the daylight, Aron and Jena each did an introduction outside. This was difficult with the constant noise from traffic on the highway and trains passing by, Jena said.

With the microphones picking up every noise, the crew had to wait for silence to film the particular outside scenes, she explained.

For Aron’s intro, he had to climb up in their big oak tree and say with enthusiasm, “Hi. I’m Aron Levandowski from Dassel, Minnesota and I like to play in the mud. Today I’m going to show you how to make a covered canister with a leaf motif.”

For Aron’s program, he made his wheel-thrown leaf canister, and Jena’s Christmas show, she made a Santa hat candy dish.

Step by step, each of them had to describe what they were doing. That was hard for Aron especially since he is used to working continuously on the pottery wheel, he said.

After Aron’s taping, it was Jena’s turn to be in front of the camera. By this time, the evening was getting long and it was hard for her to concentrate, not to mention smile, she said.

Although the day was long, it was over as fast as it came, Jena said. She described it similar to her wedding day; spending so much time preparing for the big day, then finding it’s over before she knew it.

At the end of the filming, they both sat at their kitchen table and said, “Wow. Did that really happen or was it just a dream?”

This is definitely a “stepping stone” for their careers, Jena said.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for us thus far,” Jena said. For Jena, this was especially big since she hadn’t even gone to school for pottery, like Aron had.

The show will give the Levandowskis more exposure of their work, and allow for their business to grow, Jena said.

The couple will be featured for the 2007-08 season, but will give an update of exact time and date on their website www.levandowskipottery.com when they are informed of it.

Currently, Levandowski Pottery is open by appointment and is located on Highway 12 in Dassel.

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