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Clayful imaginations

by William T. Beverly, Ph.D.

LA VETA- The Clay Continuum Exhibit and Sale opened its 5th annual show Saturday with a robust crowd.  Viewers enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, conversation, and innovative, well-crafted functional and sculptural pottery and clay formations.

    The brainchild of Polly Harris, Lori Hannan, Nicole Copel, and Mary Daly, this show has grown.   According to co-founder Copel of Pinon Hills Pottery, they now enjoy “more entries of higher quality and greater variation!”  Once an invitational show, the show is now juried.  This year 11 of 18 applicants were accepted.

    This show was judged by Sumi von Dassow.  According to the SPACe website: “Sumi is an award-winning ceramic artist who lives in Golden, Colorado.  Her love of color and form is expressed in a varied and unique body of work ranging from brightly glazed functional pottery to unglazed burnished work.” 

    The Clay Continuum this year showed both functional pottery and intriguing sculptures.  For example, Sharon McCoy’s “Best of Show” winner could be interpreted as a sculpture of a common functional tool – a tricycle.  This piece appears to be a goat with horns riding a tricycle with a pig’s body for a frame.  Where junior’s little bike light or horn might typically go on the handle bars, one instead finds the face of a piglet.

    Co-founder Polly (the Potter) Harris is also interested in sculptural as well as functional forms.  In 2001, captivated by Huerfano County’s  Spanish Peaks, Harris moved here from Boulder.  Since 1983, she has built a successful pottery wares business, manufacturing 15,000 or more per year of any given item, such as her popular French butter safe.   Harris continues to create the attractive functional pottery wares she has manufactured for years but has also developed more sculptural forms.  For example, along with her former staples, Polly makes those famous pumpkins for the La Veta Oktoberfest.

    Notables this year included Sharon McCoy,“Best of Show” for the tricycle piece;  Liz McCombs, First Place Sculptural; and Laura Cooper, First Place Functional, Elm.  Other awardees included Neil Celani, Bob Smith, Donna Rozman, and Abbey Rothenbuehler. 

    This exhibit will be at the SPACe Gallery until August 14.  For an online preview, go to http://www.spanishpeaksarts.org/ and hit “Current Show.” 

    Also, SPACe presents La Veta’s Annual Studio and Gallery Tour 2010 August 7 and 8 from 9 to 4.  Maps to participating artists’ studios will be available at the Gallery in the Park.  ­