‘I want to make God known’

Former actress will present ‘The Master’s Pieces

Carole Wolaver learned the art of pottery when she was in her 20s and through the years was content to make pottery vases and vessels in her home workshop. And although she had been accepted at a prestigious acting school in Hollywood during her teen years, she no longer yearned to be in the limelight.

Yet, as she tells her story, she explains that God never wastes anything, including her talents.

Wolaver, known as The Pottery Lady, will use her skills as a potter and actress to present “The Master’s Pieces” at

7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Northern Bedford County High School, Route 36, Loysburg.

Her story of the potter and the clay as told from the potter’s perspective is the annual fall event of Ladies Encounter. The program is for women and teen girls, and no tickets are required. A freewill offering will be received and refreshments will be provided.

Wolaver got her start as The Pottery Lady about 25 years ago, when she was asked to speak about the potter and the clay from a biblical perspective at a women’s retreat at Calvary Chapel in LaMirada, Calif. The organizers wanted her to talk about how God molds the clay — people — in his hands and shapes them into useful vessels.

The message is based on Jeremiah 18:1-6 where God tells Jeremiah, the prophet, to go to the potter’s house and watch him work.

Initially, Wolaver thought the retreat planners wanted her to make a clay piece as a gift for the guest speaker. When she realized they wanted her to be the guest speaker, she agreed.

“I told the Lord I would do it once,” she said. “He has a great sense of humor.”

Since that initial presentation, she had thrown a pot on her wheel in front of audiences hundreds of times.

Initially, she had no intention of working the clay while she talked about what a potter does. She visualized herself wearing a new dress and standing at a podium and demonstrating the art of pottery-making after her talk.

The organizers wanted her to bring her wheel, the water and the clay and work while she talked, but Wolaver told them it would be difficult to do both at the same time.

Then, about four days before the presentation, she awoke about midnight and felt God was directing her to rework the presentation.

She remembers getting her blue notebook to record the new idea that included her working with the clay while giving her talk.

“I changed the whole thing,” she said.

Wolaver said about 250 women attended that first retreat, and people began to ask her to speak at their churches or other conferences. She went from doing a presentation once a month to about one a week.

“That’s how it started,” she said.

On stage, she tells the story of the potter and the clay based on the ancient craft. The potter goes to a pit to find the clay, prepares the clay, kneads it and lets it sit on a shelf for awhile. It also has to go through fire before it can be used, Wolaver said.

She shares Scripture during her talk to tell how “God molds and shapes our lives — to be vessels used by him for his glory.”

Although Jeremiah 18: 1-6 and Isaiah 64:8 are commonly used Scripture references about the potter and the clay, Wolaver quotes other verses that speak of how God molds and shapes lives while she works.

She sees that analogy in her own life.

Wolaver said growing up, she always wanted to be an actress — to be on stage. She eventually got her dream, but gave it up because she did not feel the roles were suitable for her as a Christian.

But to originally reach her goal, she had to develop her acting skills.

So the summer between graduating after high school and attending a theater academy, she worked as a tour guide for Universal Studios to help pay for tuition. There, she became acquainted with one of the studio’s drivers. He asked her out to dinner and during the evening asked her: “What do you think of Jesus?”

Her response was: “I’m Jewish.”

Her date asked if she had a Bible and would be willing to look up a Bible verse.

It was Jeremiah 31:31 which reads: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.”

During the next three months, she and the driver would discuss faith.

“He always left me with questions on my heart,” she said.

One night she asked him, “What do I have to do to be saved?”

Wolaver said she asked Jesus into her heart 40 years ago this December.

“It was the best decision, I ever made in my life,” she said.

That decision was followed by another important one — she married the studio driver.

He retired as head of transportation for CBS and was also a pastor for years in California.

They have raised three children and make their home in Tennessee, where Wolaver continues to mold and shape clay into works of art. She will bring some of her pieces to the fall event. Not one to waste anything, because she says God does not waste anything, she also makes shadow boxes with quotes from scrapes and trimmings from her work.

When she makes her presentation, she said she hopes the women will see how much God loves them and has a plan and purpose for them. Wolaver said she wants them to see how valuable they are to God, who sent his son to die that they might have life.

“I want to make God known,” she said.