A passion for pottery
What: Clay Extravaganza
When: 10 am Sat., Mar. 2
Where: Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Ave
Cost: Entry is free
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
When asked what makes her passionate about working with clay, potter Ann Marie Cooper has a difficult time containing her enthusiasm for the craft.
“‘Passionate for clay’ pretty much sums me up,” Cooper says. “I love the medium itself, its endless possibilities. I can spend an entire day in my studio and feel like I’ve only been there for minutes, I get so engrossed in what I’m doing and don’t want to stop.
“However, my passion for clay stems, oddly enough, from the people around me,” she emphasizes. “The community I’ve built since becoming a potter—fellow clay folk, collectors, students—are the real driving forces in my clay life.”
Some of the community she’s referring to includes her peers at Whatcom Artists of Clay and Kiln (WACK), and the dozens of area artisans who show and sell their work at Good Earth Pottery, the longtime studio in Fairhaven she recently became the sole owner of.
This month, locals will have a chance to catch up with Cooper and the rest of the WACK crew at a couple of different events. The first is an annual “Clay Extravaganza” taking place Sat., March 2 at Bellingham’s Depot Market Square, and the second is a featured exhibit through March at Good Earth, which will include a reception during the Fourth Friday Art Walk in the historic district.
The first offering, Cooper says, acts as both a sales and an educational event. It’s a way for people to learn about Whatcom County’s clay community via checking out the works of more than 30 ceramic artists who will be vending, dropping by informational booths hosted by local clay studios and regional clay organizations, watching various demonstrations, and even getting their hands on some of the subject matter at public areas for both kids and adults to play with clay and try out the pottery wheel. And, in two separate sessions of “Clay Games,” members of WACK will face off to see who can throw the widest bowl, roll the longest coil, and throw the wheel while blindfolded.
“Clay is awesome, it’s fun, and it’s work,” Cooper says, “and we hope that people coming to the Clay Extravaganza will help those who appreciate our objects learn how much effort goes into making them.”
At Good Earth Pottery’s WACK reception Fri., March 22, attendees can talk to the various artists about their work, and quiz Cooper on what it means to her to be part of a place that has such a rich history of showcasing ceramic artists.
“It made me who I am today,” Cooper says. “I wasn’t a potter 10 years ago when I started working there, and now my life revolves around ceramics, and I am so thankful for that. This year is Good Earth Pottery’s 50th anniversary, and I see it as a huge honor and responsibility to celebrate and grow its legacy.”
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