On Saturday, Nov. 10, Marianne Brown, of Lawrenceburg, will demonstrate pottery on the wheel and decorate her forms using handmade stamps, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.

Brown had her first experience with clay when she was 8 years old, and from then on was hooked on clay. She learned to throw pots at the Indianapolis Art League, spent one year studying at the Appalachian Center for Crafts in Tennessee, and went on to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Memphis College of Art. She has also taken classes at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina.

While Brown tried other, more traditional ways of making a living, none held her attention like clay. In 1996, she took the leap, moved to Kentucky to be closer to family, and started working as a full time potter. She and her husband built a studio behind their home to house both a working space and a kiln and forge. (Her husband is a knife smith.)

Brown has always been fascinated with the vessel form as a means of expression and her work is created using a potter’s wheel with occasional hand alteration of the forms. After being shaped and trimmed, she decorates each piece with textures by pressing bisque or wooden stamps into the clay to create different patterns.

Brown designs her decorative stamps using images and motifs drawn from multiple ethnic and cultural sources. Inspiration comes from 13th-century Persian pottery, Mayan and Aztec symbols, ancient imagery such as the spiral which represents life, or symbols from Celtic or Christian history. Some of the stamps she creates are based on designs from ancient Egyptian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese cultures, while still others are derived from more local and contemporary sources, such as traditional quilt patterns, architecture and nature.

Though traditional in form, Brown’s finished work has a contemporary look. She prefers matte, soft-hued glazes and creates a wide variety of forms, playing with the juxtaposition of rims and pattern. Her work is finished with her own glazes, formulated, measured and mixed in her studio, and she fires the pieces in a large gas kiln she designed and built. Her works are all dishwasher, oven and microwave-safe, and her glazes are completely lead-free.

Also on Nov. 10, the center will offer visitors free guided gallery tours through the center’s current special exhibit, “The Threads That Bind: Textile Works by Kentucky Artisans,” at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Pottery by Marianne Brown is regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The center currently features works by more than 650 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. A special exhibit, “The Threads that Bind: Textile Works by Kentucky Artisans,” is on display through Feb. 23, 2013. For more information about the center’s programming, call 859-985-5448 or visit the center’s website www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov.

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



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