Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Smoke & Fire II

On May 9 from 5-8 pm we are having another ArtWalk in Downtown New Bern.

It's a great time, stroll the streets, look at great art work, meet your friends, eat dinner and HAVE FUN!

At Carolina Creations we are having a raku and pit fired pottery show called Smoke & Fire II. Over the next few days I'll introduce you to some of the artists whose work we have in the show.

The first artist I want you to meet is Mary Dewey and her cats.

"My cats are handmade of clay and the colors and patterns are produced by an ancient method of firing called sawdust or "pit" firing.

Once the piece has been bisque fired in a kiln, it is buried in sawdust and the sawdust is burned. The smoke from the sawdust produces the permanent colors in the clay. Sizes vary slightly and color patterns are random.

I am owned by one cat, Kaygee, which is short for "kiln god". It is a tradition among potters that a new kiln have a kiln god made of clay to ensure successful firings. Kaygee came marching through the woods on the day of the first firing of the new kiln...he has stayed to watch over the production ever since, and has been the inspiration for many of the Dewey cats.

Mary Gates Dewey was born and raised in southern Florida. Upon high school graduation, she moved north to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she majored in painting. She first studied ceramics at the University of Alabama where her husband was teaching, and found a real affinity for the diverse applications of clay.

Mary and her family moved back to Ohio and she continued working in clay, opening a gallery and studio in Zanesville in the early 70's, and teaching ceramics and sculpture at Muskingum College in New Concord.

She was forced to make a major life change in 1980 when her teaching job was eliminated, and she was separated from her husband. She moved to Athens, in the foothills of the Appalachians, to begin her ceramics work in earnest. Athens provided an inexpensive lifestyle, and her studio and house were built in the midst of the woods, one mile from the nearest road. With no electricity or running water, she began her work. She came upon the idea for the cats purely by accident in 1982, and today it is only cats that leave the studio.

The cats continue to evolve with each passing year, and although Mary's house and studio have moved and have become what some would call more "civilized", complete with flush toilets, she still finds peace and inspiration in the woods and hills of southeast Ohio, with Kaygee by her side.

Come in & meet Mary's friends!

Other artists I'll introduce you to are Brian Evans, Chris Moses. Brenda Townsend (covered jar left), Heather McQueen, Bruce Johnson and Andrew Berends.

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