You may think it was hot in the Rogue Valley this summer, but some of your neighbors were working in temperatures well over two thousand degrees. We’re speaking of clay artists from Jacksonville and environs, who were firing work for the 42nd annual Clayfolk Show and Sale, scheduled for the weekend before Thanksgiving. You may know some of these hot ceramists:
Nancy Adams has a national reputation for colorful vessels adorned with exquisitely-crafted animal and plant figures. She takes her inspiration from Native American renditions of totem objects.
Chris Usher studied veterinary medicine in Uruguay, but she is renowned here for her animal sculptures, both large and small. Many depict rare and unusual creatures, such as aardvarks and condors.
Kazuko Young brings a Japanese accent to her clay work, done in the raku style—meaning that it is pulled directly out of a red-hot fire and plunged into an organic bed of wood chips or leaves, producing incandescent, shimmering colors that can be achieved in no other fashion.
John Dodero also makes raku pots with a Japanese design, but his colors are from a different palette—always very intense. John specializes in vases and urns that seem to bulge and stretch beyond the allowable laws of physics.
Jane Anderson’s palette is muted and earthy, for she fires her work in a wood-burning kiln—which she built. In an atmosphere of smoke, fire, and ash, the vitrified clay takes on some of the organic characteristics of the wood itself, in the form of ash deposits that become a glaze at white-hot temperatures.
Ray Foster, now retired from teaching high school, makes stoneware, often in blue tones, decorated with a variety of simple organic designs. These functional forms typically feature a mysterious red dot.
If you would like to see pictures of these artists’ work, (or just puzzle over the red dot) peruse the Clayfolk online gallery at http://www.clayfolk.org/member-gallery/. Even better, you can talk with them in person at the upcoming Clayfolk Show and Sale, November 17th, 18th, and 19th at the Medford Armory at 1710 S. Pacific Highway.
It’s the largest ceramic art show in Southern Oregon, featuring more than seventy clay artists. And, as always, it’s the weekend before Thanksgiving—the perfect time for holiday shopping. There is no admission fee.
On Friday, the doors will be open 4:00-9:00pm. To avoid parking hassles that evening, you may take the All Aboard Trolley to the show from the Wal-Mart parking lot.
On Saturday, the show runs from 10:00am-7:00pm and on Sunday, 10:00am-4:00pm. Saturday and Sunday, shoppers can see pottery-making demonstrations, and everyone (children included) will have the opportunity to try their hands at clay on Saturday (10:00am-5:00pm) and Sunday (11:00am – 3:00pm).