The sixth annual Tour de Clay is Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14-15, at five studios around the Tampa Bay area. Hours are Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The theme of this year's Tour de Clay is “Collectors’ Edition," encourages thinking of purchases as the beginning or continuation on a journey as an art collector.
Organizers say, while participants travel from studio to studio, they should seek a style they like or an artist whose work they would like to support and make a purchase as a vote of confidence – a way to show appreciation for the artwork. It is a fun way to participate in the artist’s natural progression as their work evolves.
Each purchase encourages the artists to create something new or better to add to the collection of their patrons next year and the year after that.
There are five studios featuring ceramic works of 23 clay artists. There will be pottery demonstrations both days and all artists will be present to discuss their work.
Following is a list of participating studios:
• Pottery Boys Clay Studios, 30 Bogie Lane, Palm Harbor. The hosts are Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand. Call 504-6200.
• Clay and Paper Studio, 110 Peterson Lane, Palm Harbor. The host is Ira Burhans. Call 772-9570 or 644-0072.
• Hidden Lake Pottery, 16705 Hutchison Road, Odessa. The hosts are Kim Kirchman and Mark Fehl. Call 813-920-4341.
• Wellman and Welsch Pottery, 17202 Whirley Road, Lutz. The hosts are Kim Wellman and Harry Welsch. Call 813-961-7106.
• San Antonio Pottery, 11903 Curley St., San Antonio. The host is Jack Boyle. Call 352-588-4228.
Saturday will feature a progressive kiln-opening schedule. Each of the five studios on the tour will have at least one kiln to open on Saturday. The kiln-opening schedule is as follows:
• Pottery Boys Clay Studio, 9 a.m.
• Clay and Paper Studio, 10:30 a.m.
• Hidden Lake Pottery, 2 p.m.
• Wellman and Welsch Pottery, 3 p.m.
• San Antonio Pottery, 5 p.m.
There are a variety of types of kilns on the tour, each offering varied styles and results. The tour offers an opportunity to learn more about the firing process and understand some of the special techniques each artist uses in the creation process.
This year’s participating clay artists include Jonathan Barnes, Allen Bennett, Jack Boyle, Ira Burhans, Kimberli Cummings, Trevor Dunn, Mark Fehl, Michele Ginouves, Andreas Goff, John Kellum, William Kidd, Kim Kirchman, Vadim Malkin, Cory McCrory, Linda McGee, Brenda McMahon, Ken Shields, McKenzie Smith, Timothy Sullivan, Harry Welsch & Kim Wellman, Glenn Woods, and an emerging artist Anthony Powell.
As in past years, Tour de Clay has chosen a cause to raise money for through various fundraising activities at each studio. This year’s recipient will be WMNF Community Radio. In addition to WMNF, the Pottery Boys Studio will support the Clearwater Free Clinic and raise money by taking donations for a chance to receive one of four pieces of beautifully crafted pottery donated by each of the four artists from this location.
Also, in addition to WMNF, Clay and Paper Studio will support the Safety Harbor Art & Music Center and raise money by Spin the Wheel for Pots.
Ira Burhans, along with his guest artists Alan Bennett and Vadim Malkin, will be donating prizes for Spin the Wheel. Patrons can make a donation to spin the wheel to win clay works or a percentage off their purchase. All of the donations will go to WMNF and SHAMC.