When her father died, Carly "Conlin" Pochop, the owner of Colorful Creations in Aberdeen, turned to what she knew best — art therapy.
The end result, which will appear in mid-May, is a plan to display 500 yellow clay roses.
In order to complete the project, Pochop is offering others a pound of free clay to be used used to create the roses. A pound of clay can make anywhere from three to five roses, and the work can take anywhere from five to 10 minutes, she said.
“It really depends how big you make them. … You can make smaller ones, you know, they’re just budding, or you can make really big ones that are bold. So it really just depends on what size that you make,” she said.
As of Tuesday, Colorful Creations had given away 150 pounds of clay. That was just six days after announcing the community-based project.
“It’s a little overwhelming, I was not prepared for that. Like, I have 200 pounds of clay on hand. I didn’t know I needed more than that, but it’s been cool,” Pochop said. “I have a personal theory that if something comes up in my brain three times or more, it’s the universe telling me I need to do it.”
The yellow rose has a significance to Pochop as it was her father, Bill Conlon’s favorite flower.
“Yellow roses were my dad’s favorite roses. Which naturally was really my mother’s, and being the good husband he was for 37 years, it was also his,” she said.
Pochop’s father, Bill, was the president of the softball league in Watertown for 25 years.
She also chose the color yellow as part of her color theory background.
“Yellow means friendship, it also means connection and it also means love,” Pochop said. “So I think those things helped me to realize that I needed to turn this into something bigger than myself just for the meaning of those things, because 2020 was a rough year. It’s nice to know that a community is behind you.”
When displayed at a location she is not ready to disclose, Pochop is hoping the roses will give the community something to smile about.
“I want the power and gravity of 2020, but also the power of seeing 500 roses somewhere together to just make somebody stop and appreciate the breath in their lungs and the friends next to them,” she said. “I want them to see that, and I want the community to get excited about seeing all of that together.”
Not only has the community participated in the project, but students have also been making roses. Anyone from fifth grade up can make a one, according to Pochop. One of the schools that has participated is Mike Miller Elementary, but there have been others, too.
Pochop will ship the clay, but asks those from out of town to fire the roses on their own, since they can be so fragile.
“If you want to participate in this and you want to feel a part of something, I don’t know what the end goal is other than this is what I needed right now for my healing process, and hopefully somebody else needs that or wants that and will feel the love community-wise,” she said.
After roses are made, they can be taken to Colorful Creations, where Pochop will fire and paint them. Finished products need to be returned to Colorful Creations, 207 S. Main St., by May 1.