By Laurelle Walsh
Methow Valley Clay Art Center on the TwispWorks campus hosts the Methow Valley Clay Art Fest this weekend (Aug. 6-9).
The event begins on Thursday with a potluck “meet ‘n greet” and ceramic exhibition from 7 – 9 p.m. On Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., the festival’s featured ceramic artists will demonstrate their work, explaining their process, technique and inspiration. Potters Ruth Allan and Matthew Armbrust will do demonstrations on Friday, and Jason Briggs and Tara Wilson on Saturday. The festival wraps up on Sunday at 10 a.m. with bloody Marys at the Spartan Art Project next to the Clay Art Center.
Allan’s saggar- and raku-fired ceramics have been exhibited and collected around the world. She teaches ceramics at Wenatchee Valley College and curates exhibits at the Museum of the Columbia. Allan “conjures” subtle yet striking color effects on the surface of her vessels by the placement of minerals and combustibles on or near the surface during firing, she said.
Armbrust’s recent work includes flasks and vessels with complex applied surface designs. He lives in Twisp and recently received his master’s in fine arts from Central Washington University.
Briggs’s porcelain art objects contain strong visual references to the human body, sometimes sexually explicit, often tactile. Briggs lives in rural Tennessee and teaches at Belmont University.
Wilson is a Montana artist who specializes in wood-fired utilitarian vessels. Because of pottery’s “inherent relationship to the figure,” Wilson said, the shapes of her bowls, mugs and pitchers often take on the curves of the human form.
The festival is free, but donations will be accepted to help defray costs, according to Armbrust, festival organizer and founder of the Clay Art Center.
In conjunction with the Clay Art Fest, a solo exhibition by artist Philippe Pirrip opens on Friday (Aug. 7), at the Spartan Art Gallery with an opening reception from 5 – 7 p.m. Pirrip’s work will be on display at the Spartan until Sept. 1.