Wayne County Weekends
That coffee or tea you’re sipping might taste even better coming from a hand-crafted mug.
More than 20 potters from eastern Indiana and western Ohio will be selling their wares at the fifth annual Potterypalooza from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, on the lawn in front of the Richmond Art Museum, 350 Hub Etchison Parkway in Richmond.
It’s the perfect chance to pick up a new mug. Or some plates and bowls. How about an earthenware birdhouse? Need a vase? A spoon rest? A wine stopper?
It’s all there, in a variety of prices and styles.
But Potterypalooza is more than just an opportunity to shop.
All day, there will be demonstrations on pottery wheels. Potters will compete to see who can create the tallest cylinder with a set amount of clay in a set period of time. A live raku firing – a process using a brief period of intense heat to produce pots with unusual and unpredictable colors and glazes – is planned.
At the Kids’ Clay Zone, families can create their own pots, try stamping, and make sculptures.
And of course, the potters themselves are there to answer any questions or simply to talk about their creations.
Add a food truck or two and live improvisational folk, blues and jazz from the Wingwalkers, and you have a relaxing, family-friendly way to spend a chunk of your Saturday.
Lance Crow, education director for the museum, said the event was created five years ago to honor the region’s rich clay tradition, including the Overbeck sisters of Cambridge City, Byron Temple of Centerville and his disciples, and the longstanding ceramics program at Earlham College. He believes it’s the only art fair in the area dedicated to clay.
“It’s been really well received,” Crow said. “It’s grown just about every year.”
Loretta Wray of New Castle came to the first Potterypalooza and decided to get involved. Wray first became interested in potting in high school and has been doing it seriously (“I wouldn’t even define ‘seriously’ as seriously,” she said with a laugh) for a little over eight years. She makes kitchenware, wine accessories, and birdhouses as a member of the Millrace Potters Collective based in Greenville, Ohio.
“I don’t think people realize there’s a lot of talented potters around this area,” said Wray.
Wray has seen a lot of repeat customers year after year at the event, but likes the way it welcomes newcomers. “They can walk around and see the actual process,” she said.
Both Wray and Ben Clark, a Richmond native who is president of Queen City Clay in Cincinnati, attribute the recent resurgence of interest in pottery to the locally-grown movement. Just as people want to know more about the food they eat and where it came from, they want to know the same about the dishes that their food is served on.
Understanding the potting process and using utensils created by potters you have met and talked to is “just another way to support your local community and be a responsible buyer,” Clark said. “It really improves your time at the dinner table.”
So pick up a mug. Pick up several. Find the one that feels just right in your hand and pleases your eye. The one that makes your tea or coffee taste even better.
And who knows? You might just become the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind art piece.
It’s that kind of event.
blog submitted by Louise Ronald