Pottery Trail event planned in Union, Jackson counties

The second annual Shawnee Hills Pottery Trail event in Southern Illinois is planned Saturday and Sunday, May 6-7. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Ten potters will be featured on the trail. The self-guided driving/biking trail will include seven stops and go through Jackson and Union counties.

The event is open and free for everyone and will give the public a chance to interact with potters, to see studios and to view demonstrations. There will also be pottery for sale at each stop.  

A Pottery Trail Passport will be available, and if completed with a stamp from each stop will give the holder a chance to win free pottery.  

The Pottery Trail is partially funded by a grant from the Murphysboro Tourism Commission. 

A link for the Shawnee Hills Pottery Trail website, which includes information on each of the potters and maps of the trail can be found at http://potterstrail.wix.com/pottery-trail and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PotteryTrail/. 

The potters who will be featured on the trail include Dan Johnson, Steve Grimmer, Karen Fiorino, Harris Deller, Sam Bates, Stephanie Dukat, Darby Ortolano, Gene and Beth Smout and Rob Lorenz. 

Each potter brings his or her unique style and firing technique to the creation of their works. 

Harris Deller’s functional and decorative porcelain is made to enhance enjoyment and pleasure in daily life.

Rob Lorenz fires in a wood and soda kiln and talks about his pots: “I like illustrations and telling stories, so I put illustrations and stories on the pots I make.”  

Karen Fiorino uses the majolica technique to produce her brightly colored bowls, mugs and vessels. She says: “Nature inspires me, from the smallest to the largest of creatures: from the colors of geological formations to the colors of the sunrise and sunset.” 

Darby Ortolano loves making colorful and engaging pots for every day use. Her sculptural work combines floral and landscape in textured, quiet forms.

Steve Grimmer concentrates his work on making functional pottery for everyday use. “Not only are pots useful through their physical function, they take integral part in and aesthetically enrich the most important ritual of daily life: that of nourishing self and others,” he says. 

Dan Johnson makes both functional and sculptural works; he uses both high fired stoneware and porcelain clays and the raku firing technique. 

“The whole process, from digging clay out of the hills to forming, glazing and firing and finally living with and using a piece is both creatively challenging and part of striving for a full life,” he says.

Stephanie Dukat feels pottery connects the user with an experience through daily use. In each use favorites are developed through pattern, print, color, and the weight of the object. 

“I want my work to be that appealing object in the cabinet you seek out,” she says.  

Sam Bates creates functional pottery and sculptures in high-fire stoneware, working mainly on the wheel.

He crafts pieces with organic and unplanned forms and surfaces that balance functionality with personality. 

“The contrasting nature of clay is mesmerizing: It can be formed instantly by hand then preserved permanently by a high temperature. Momentary decisions are etched in stone, and the effects of a single touch can last for hundreds of years, embedded in the work. I continue to be fascinated by the properties of my chosen medium,” he says.

Gene and Beth Smout work together to create their pieces. They said they have worked in ceramics collaboratively and independently throughout their 43 years of marriage.

Johnson and Fiorino will provide studio tours on request. Johnson also is planning to demonstrate clay sculpture techniques. Fiorino may be demonstrating wheel throwing and glazing techniques, possibly a kiln opening.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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