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Feats of Clay - October Brings Pottery Events to the Kentucky Artisan Center

Photo: Kristal Gilkey throws pottery on the wheel at the Kentucky Artisan Center

 

From hand built jugs to wheel thrown pottery, visitors will have the chance to watch the magic as potters turn lumps of clay into dinnerware, vessels and sculptures.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, Waco potter Bill Whitt will demonstrate how he builds clay bottles and jugs from slabs and coils of clay from 10:30 to 3:30 at the center.

A native Kentuckian, Bill Whitt owns and operates Flatwoods Pottery in a renovated barn next to his house outside of Waco. Bill is a member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and he creates high fired functional works from both stoneware and porcelain. He specializes in smooth rich glazes and forms with simple lines allowing the natural throwing rings to show in the work. 

Alley Cat Pottery artist Kristal Gilkey, of Berea, will demonstrate pottery on the wheel on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10:30 to 3:30 at the Center. With amazing speed, Gilkey creates a wide range of functional kitchen wares on the potter’s wheel.

Gilkey makes a line of functional kitchen wares such as apple bakers, batter bowls, egg separators and cream-and-sugar sets. She fires her work in an electric kiln and uses smooth dishwasher-safe and oven-proof glazes. Gilkey’s pie dishes and apple bakers are very useful for baking and the choice of glaze colors available make them perfect for presentation at the table.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, three members of the Berea Welcome Center Carvers will demonstrate woodcarving from 10:30 to 3:30 at the Center. This group regularly demonstrates on the third Saturday of every month at the center. 

Ceramic artist Robert Brigl, of Bowling Green, will create pottery face jugs at the center on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10:30 to 3:30. 

Drawn to the traditional forms of American folk pottery, Brigl makes both functional and sculptural ceramic jugs and bottles on the potter’s wheel. He sculpts these thrown forms with faces and figures by adding coils and pieces of clay to their surfaces. He often makes the eyes from white porcelain clay.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, Alice Lloyd College art professor Mike Ware will throw pots on the wheel and demonstrate his unique carved decorating technique, from 10:30 to 3:30 at the center.

Ware creates his pottery on a potter’s wheel from stoneware clays. He often decorates his forms with images such as dogwood flowers, influenced by the woods near his home. He decorates his pottery using an incising tool that cuts away clay and leaves intricate texture and openings in the form. 

The Kentucky Artisan Center features the work of over 70 Kentucky ceramic artists and is located just off Interstate 75 at Exit 77. The center’s exhibit, shopping and travel information areas are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea currently features works by more than 700 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. Special exhibits on display include “Have a Seat: Chairs by Kentucky Artisans,” and in the lobby, “Kentucky Clay: A Continuing Tradition,” and ”Reveal: Monica Pipia.” For more information about events call 859-985-5448, or visit the center’s website or Facebook page.

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

 

Photos: Mike Ware carves a dogwood pattern into a bowl; finished glazed dogwood bowl by Mike Ware; Face Jugs in stoneware clay by Robert Brigl.

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