Art of the Pot: Art for your hands and mouth

Art of the Pot is bringing out the goods for its annual weekend studio tour and sale with work by 15 ceramic artists, each of whom bring something unique to the table

Punch bowl by Lorna Meaden
Punch bowl by Lorna Meaden
Platter by Bill Griffith
Platter by Bill Griffith

Earthenware, stoneware, or porcelain: Which glop of mud makes up the perfect cup? How to best prepare it? Do you prefer gas or electric range, a smoky wood fire or a hazy soda fire? The pottery connoisseur wants to know all this and more. Art of the Pot is bringing out the goods for its annual Mother's Day weekend studio tour and sale. The 15 participating ceramic artists each bring something unique to the table. Kowkie Durst paints the surfaces of plates with empty classrooms and Laundromats to form a domestic and possibly feminist narrative. Ryan McKerley, on the other hand, uses a single glaze to dive in and out of carved lines creating a topography of creases that seemingly emanate from within the form itself. These are only two of several very different ways to approach a surface glaze.

I'm impressed by the consistency and creativity of these functional designers. Austin artist Chris Campbell says, "The idea of function is the very aspect that makes the individual capable of experiencing pottery with all his senses. Use affords a level of immediate understanding through physical interaction." These artists provide you with an object of beauty to gaze at and a reason to hold it every day: It's a cup. This physical interaction and intimate relationship is also important to Durst, who is visiting from Portland, Ore. She says, "I imagine my pots in someone's home, tossed from sink to table to shelf. I want them to live with someone and become a part of their everyday life. The physical connection – lips, hands, eyes – that engages a user with the object is essential to the creation of meaning for pottery. My approach to clay enacts my passion for the material and exposes the physical nature of my own existence." Potters have a tendency to explain that they chose to be functional artists as opposed to fine artists. The fact that in the artists' statements they don't sound defensive about "craft" or "functional wares" speaks well of their professionalism and clear vision.

The Web site for Art of the Pot got a fresh new look this year; it's easier to navigate and has quite a bit of content. In addition to the pottery shopping, the studios will all have copies of a new recipe book in which the food was photographed on their dishes.

The Art of the Pot Studio Tour and Sale takes place May 12-13, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-5pm, in the studios of Claudia Reese, 709 N. Tumbleweed Trail; Rebecca Roberts, 205 & 207 Canyon Rim Dr.; Marian Haigh, 2600 Bridle Path; Lisa Orr, 1502 Alta Vista Ave.; and Ryan McKerley, 2710 E. Cesar Chavez. For more information, visit

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Art of the Pot Studio Tour and Sale, Kowkie Durst, Ryan McKerley, Chris Campbell

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