Festival puts clay art in the limelight
The second annual ClayHouston Festival crafts up the weekend by exhibiting elaborate artwork made solely from clay.
In this year’s uniquely themed exhibit, guest artists will offer attendees demonstration sessions on how to create these universal ceramic designs. From the classic cup or coffee mug to an intricate sculpture or vase, attendees will be able to view ceramic pieces of all sorts.
UH affiliate instructor of ceramics and exhibiting ClayHouston artist Lotus Witt explains the different methods most artists apply to their artwork, which include primitive, traditional and contemporary techniques. Primitive methods include using smoking patterns while a more traditional method consists of fire glazing the clay in a wooden kiln. Gas and electric firing are more contemporary methods used for firing the clay.
"It’s all clay work…. some of (the ceramics) are hand built and some of it is sculptural," Witt said. "There is a huge variety, which you don’t always see in art festivals."
Witt said that there will be a special treat for spectators throughout the weekend.
"We’ll have five guest artists continuously demonstrating the whole time, which is really cool just so you can see the work in progress," Witt said.
Coordinator of the ClayHouston Festival Betsy Evans said that educating and reaching out to the community about ceramics is a principle goal.
"It is a showcase of fine craft. Our ClayHouston Festival provides an intimate opportunity for the public to experience the special talents and artistic visions of some of the excellent ceramists in this area. Not only can they view and buy, they can also learn how ceramists turn soft, pliable clay into solid finished art objects," Evans said in release.
A Kids’ Table will be available both days from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. where supervisors will assist children with crafts. Discounts are available to parents who choose to have their children’s pieces fired in a kiln at one of Houston’s clay studios.
"We’re getting children involved," Evans said. "They’ll have an opportunity to have hands on work with clay… make pots and roll out clay noodles; it’s an opportunity for them to learn about clay."
Head of Ceramics at San Antonio Southwest School of Art and Craft Dennis Smith recruited 18 potters and sculptors within a 150 mile radius of Houston for the festival.
"It’s including people from Austin, people in Bryan…. we have someone from Tyler, so it’s not just artists from Houston." Evans said.
Evan said that the two main forms of ceramic artwork are functional and sculptural. Functional works include common objects such as a vase or a jar.
Witt, a second-year exhibiting artist, said that art venues do not exhibit selections of ceramic pieces, but is thankful for the exposure given by ClayHouston.
"It’s nice that it’s an all clay venue, and makes it even more special exhibiting," Witt said.