In October, I wrote about the annual Texas Metal Arts Fest
held in Gruene, Texas every September. I also wrote that I planned to attend the annual Gruene Clay Festival
on 24 Oct, which I did. As expected, it got crowded fairly quickly, but we arrived just as it opened so we were able to enjoy the wares at a leisurely pace for the first hour or so. As usual, we brought home a few items, some of which are shown in the images section below. As always, the Clay Fest was well worth the time, and would have been even if we hadn't found something we liked.
Although many of the pieces on display this year were typically utilitarian, like all true art, fired clay can abjure usefulness and exist entirely for its own sake. Likewise, it needs no explanation or clever caption to help people 'get it.' A finished piece is a tangible articulation of the artist's inner vision, and explanations only diminish its potential or dilute its potency, and constrain it. For me, a good piece is one that can stimulate and accommodate diverse interpretations, and the best pieces are those that are seen and experienced differently every time, depending on the frame of reference and mood of the viewer.
As for preferences, I like useful smallish items that are visually and tactilely appealing, but my favorites are those that have no purpose except to be decoration. I especially like an item that can distract me from what I am doing or saying whenever a casual glance traps and leads my mind into tangents of thought--things that are not so much conversation pieces as conversation interrupters.
At this year's Clay Fest, I saw many useful and decorative items. Some of the pieces I liked most are shown below. Click on an image to see a larger version.
Alejandra Almuelle Ceramics
Carl Block Pottery
Chris Campbell Pottery
Eye Of The Dog Art Center
Linda Gossett Pottery
Luling Icehouse Pottery
Eye of the Dog Art Center
Billy Ray Mangham
The Starkeeper Gallery
Mike & Teri Hubbeling
- Most photographs on this page were taken with the permission of the artists whose names are listed herein. Some of the photos are from previous years' Clay Fests, and were included because I could not get decent photos this year. All of the photos are copyrighted and all rights are reserved by me, but the artwork copyright belongs to the artist whose name is listed above each set of images.
Minor changes were made to this essay on 22 Jun 10; links were updated 11 Oct 20.