If you are traveling on the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway, also known as Highway 2, be sure to stop at CaLinda's Pot Shop and Art Gallery in Ashby.
The store is named for Linda Lacy and her husband Cal. The store is located inside the old Ashby Cafe. "I turned it into a pottery shop," Lacy said. "It was closed. My then-to-be father-in-law handed me the keys. I said I'd just use the back room to put in a kiln, and it just kind of evolved, and I took over the whole thing."
The store started out to be a hobby shop because Lacy taught in the schools through the Artist In Residence program with the Nebraska Arts Council. She developed an art education program, because she felt the schools were not offering the right kind of art education. "I saw an ad in the paper from the Nebraska Arts Council," Lacy said. "I answered it, and they asked what I wanted to do. I took a map out, and made a circle around where I lived at the time of 80 miles. I thought I could go to each one of these schools in one day, and teach them art the way I thought it should be taught. I did that for 25 years. I've been in 57 schools in 7 counties. I loved it."
As the schools Lacy taught in consolidated or closed, she decided it was time to focus on her art shop full time. "My pottery is all made here. It's pottery, not ceramics. I have many paintings that are all for sale. I also teach classes," Lacy said. Her husband changed the counter of the old Ashby Cafe to cedar wood. Lacy then put tiles in the wood that depict her life story. When you visit, you'll have to look at the pictures in the tiles, and ask Lacy to share her stories related to each one.
Along with the pottery and paintings, another big draw for visitors are the specialty coffees and ice cream treats that you can enjoy during a visit to the store. One of the ice cream treats available is a "soapweed squeeze", where the ingredients include rainbow sherbet, ginger ale, and whipped cream. "I think God has a plan for me, he had a plan for this shop," Lacy said.
Ashby is unincorporated, but has much to offer visitors, including CaLinda's Pot Shop and Art Gallery. Be sure to check it out the next time you are traveling in the Sandhills.