If you’re curious about the art of pottery, you can satisfy your desire for knowledge during the 2015 Tampa Bay Tour de Clay.
This is the eighth Tour de Clay, which is always held during the second weekend in December. It’s an event that gives visitors a chance to see potters in action at four pottery studios and the opportunity to experience a kiln opening at each.
“It creates a situation where people can come in and talk to the artist,” said Jack Boyle of San Antonio Pottery, owner of one of the studios on the tour.
All four of the studios are hosting their kiln opening on Dec. 12.
The first kiln opening is at 9 a.m., at Pottery Boys Studio, 30 Bogie Lane in Palm Harbor.
The next opening is at noon at Hidden Lake Pottery, 16705 Hutchison Road in Odessa.
Then, there will be an opening at 2 p.m., at Wellman & Welsch Pottery, 17202 Whirley Road in Lutz.
And, finally, there will be a 4 p.m. opening at San Antonio Pottery in San Antonio, at 11903 Curley Street.
“It is rare that people get a chance to see a kiln opening,” said Glenn Woods of Pottery Boys in Palm Harbor. “Potters work for weeks to create enough pieces to fill their kiln. When it’s finally time to open the kiln, after days of firing, it’s always exciting to see, because the artist never knows exactly how a piece will turn out, or how a glaze will look, until the kiln is opened.”
He likens the experience of opening a kiln to that of opening presents on Christmas morning.
“Sometimes you get a shiny new bike, and other times you get socks and underwear,” he said.
After a piece is taken from the kiln, it is passed around to those gathered, so they can see and feel it. Sometimes, the newly fired piece is still warm.
“We talk about the results,” Woods said. Sometimes, the effects are intentional; sometimes, they’re a surprise.
The tour gives people a greater understanding of the art of pottery, Woods said.
“I think it’s really important to see that a piece of handmade pottery isn’t just another pot sitting on a shelf, that’s been made in a factory. These are all individually made, hand-crafted items,” Woods said.
To encourage people to visit all four studios, visitors can pick up a Tour de Clay “Passport to Pottery” tour guide at each studio location, or download it from the event’s website at TampaTourDeClay.com.
As they make their way from studio to studio, they have their passport stamped. Those completing the tour are eligible for prizes.
Every stop on the Tour de Clay allows visitors to:
• Watch artists work in their studios
- See pottery made by hand or by wheel
- Learn about the many types of kilns and firing techniques
- See examples of glazes and finishes for finely crafted decorative pieces, as well as functional vessels and dinnerware.
Participating artists are:
- Pottery Boys Studios: Jennifer McCurdy, Fong Choo, Zan Barnes, Teresa Testa, and studio owners, Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand.
- Hidden Lake Pottery: Jonathan Barnes, Chuck McGee, LC McGee, McKenzie Smith, and studio owners, Kim Kirchman and Mark Fehl.
- Wellman & Welsch Pottery: Kimberli Cummings, John Kellum, Laurie Landry, Katherine Mathisen, Charlie Parker, Matt Schiemann, and studio owners, Harry Welsch and Kim Wellman-Welsch.
- San Antonio Pottery: Ira Burhans, Ken Jensen, William Kidd, Michele Ginouves, and studio owner, Jack Boyle.
Proceeds from Tour de Clay go to support local charities and community radio station WMNF.
What: Pottery demonstrations, kiln openings, sales, demos, raffles and refreshments. The event features 25 nationally known clay artists.
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 12, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 13. (Note: San Antonio Pottery’s hours will be extended to 8 p.m. on Dec. 12, and there will be live performances there from “The Barking Dogs” and “Those Unscrupulous Sunspots.”
Where: The studios are in Palm Harbor, Odessa, Lutz and San Antonio. For specific locations, tour map, kiln openings and list of ceramic artists, visit TampaTourDeClay.com.
How much: The tour is free. Those taking the entire tour will be eligible to win prizes.
Published December 2, 2015