Art of the Pot: Dishes that make dining so fine

The handmade dishes you find on the annual studio tour can make every meal a fine dining experience

Art of the Pot: Dishes that make dining so fine

Fine dining to me is about more than food and family. Fine dining is an atmosphere of being well-prepared for the necessary act of eating. It is the feeling of a balanced knife while you chop. It is the weight of a glass and how it feels in your hand as much as what's in the glass. Handmade dishes, with their individual character and craftsmanship, can add a lot to that atmosphere, and as Mother's Day weekend once again brings us the Art of the Pot studio tour, we have another opportunity to experience that through the vastly talented community of ceramic artists in Central Texas.

This year's celebration actually began last week with a lecture on raku firing from the beloved Sharon Smith, who has been teaching at Austin Community College for 29 years. Art is objects, but art is also life. Smith is a woman whose real life is reflected in her artwork, her home, her travels to Peru, and her students, who are so devoted to her and sign up for her classes over and over again. She rejoins Art of the Pot after being a tour guest at Marion Haigh's studio in 2004.

Among this year's guests is Josh DeWeese from Bozeman, Mont., who is showing in Lisa Orr's studio. The sheen on his ceramics gives them almost a wet appearance, which should look great next to Orr's mind-melting baroque style. Mary Fischer of Austin will put her little houses on display at Haigh's studio, along with animated, childlike teapots by Bernadette Curran from Philadelphia. Ryan McKerley will host Rick Dunn and his acorn forms from St. Louis and Eric Johnson from Buda. Philadelphian Andy Shaw, who's showing at Claudia Reese's studio, uses strong shapes and a light stamp to create white-on-white dishes that are classy and subtle. The texture is lovingly crafted and makes each piece unique.

Art of the Pot takes place Saturday & Sunday, May 10-11, 10am-5pm, at the studios of Claudia Reese and Rebecca Roberts, 709 N. Tumbleweed Trail; Marian Haigh, 2600 Bridle Path; Lisa Orr, 1502 Alta Vista; and Ryan McKerley, 2710 E. Cesar Chavez. For more information, visit

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Art of the Pot, Marion Haigh, Lisa Orr, Ryan McKerley, Claudia Reese

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