One of Georgia's largest pottery exhibitions kicked off in Watkinsville Friday, drawing artists, collectors and others from across the Southeast to gaze and admire one of civilization's oldest crafts.
Over the course of two weeks, some 3,000 to 4,000 people will visit the for its ninth annual Perspectives:Georgia Pottery Exhbition, where they may see and purchase a variety of one-of-a-kind pieces from 50 professional artists from as near by as Farmington to as far away as Peru.
“You'll have everything from the wimsical to just basic functional and everyting in between,” said Joe Ruiz, the executive director of the Oconee County Cultural Art Foundation. “Seeing it all at once is a treat for the eyes, even if you don't appreacite pottery, but the collectors like it because they can see everything all in one place.”
Patrons will have until Sept. 14 to visit the exhibit in the OCAF Center and gander at sale pieces in the Rocket Hall Auditorium from 10 a.m. To 5 p.m. each day.
Unlike paintings, pottery can be fairly inexpensive, selling for around $50 and can be more appealing to buyers who like the idea of having a piece that can be used and displayed at the same time, Ruiz said.
“Not only is (pottery) in reality affordable in terms of a handmade one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork, but you can pour your tea, drink cofffee with it, you can serve your masterpiece you make in the kitchen with it,” Ruiz said. “We even have some older-looking jugs that you can put your moonshine in.”
Each artist in the exhibition is selected by an OCAF-appointed committee, which visits other pottery festivals and evaluates the applications of participants every year. While many of the artists have returned multiple times to showcase their work, this year, it was a first for Adrina Richard.
Richard brought 100 pieces in all to display, most of which were constructed using a technique that makes each pot look as if it were a woven basket or handbag.
“I've loved pottery all my life,” Richard said. “I think this has one of the best quality collections of potters, so I feel really great to be included in their group.”
While each year, the artists sell an average of $140,000 combined, many of the potters look forward to the event to trade ideas, or add to their own collections, said Geoff Pickett, who owns Farmington Pottery, in Farmington.
“The fact of the matter is, if you're really into cars, you just like having cars around,” Pickett said. “This is no different.”
On select days, visitors will also have an opportunity to view demonstrations of different pottery making techniques.
Among the many highlights of the event is a special demonstration on Peruvian hand and feat building by artists José Luis Yamunaqué and Kate Tremel. Yamunaque, a restorer of Peruvian archaeologicall ceramics and Tremel, a lecturer at the University of Michigan, will teach students the technique, which involves pressing a stone into clay with hands or feet, today and Sunday.
The centuries-old technique if done correctly, produces a piece of pottery that is bowl shaped and incredibly thin, Tremel said.
“I like this technique because it lends itself to kind of rounded forms, almost like the skin of a pot,” Tremel said.