The Lincoln Clay Tour returns for the fifth time Friday and Saturday, with a new studio stop, and three new potters.
The tour, in which this year 10 experienced potters will show their work at three home studios, is an offshoot of a tour that has been taking place in Minnesota’s St. Croix Valley for 26 years.
Clay tours have expanded around the nation. For example, last year there were 31 clay tours in 18 states and three Canadian provinces, including the tours in Lincoln and the Omaha North Hills Pottery Tour, which will be held in early October.
The Lincoln tour had three stops for its first three years, then dropped to two — at the studios of Gail Kendall, 2525 Winthrop Road; and Amy Smith, 7540 Nemaha; last year -- because “people moved.”
This year, the tour is back to three locations, the third being the studio of one of the three potters who will be new to the tour this year.
Margaret Bohls, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln art professor, will have her “White and Black Ware” pottery -- simple utilitarian pottery made using smooth porcelain slabs where the edges of the slabs are left visible -- for view and purchase at her home at 1839 Crestline Drive.
One of the two new potters is Jenni Brant, who creates handmade serving vessels and dinnerware. Brandt, who received her MFA in ceramics from UNL and is a past winner of the Lincoln Mayor’s Arts Award, will have her work at Gail Kendall’s.
The other, Suze Lindsay, is a studio potter from the western North Carolina mountains who is currently a visiting lecturer in ceramics at UNL. Lindsay works in stoneware, making pots that subtly suggest figure and incorporating hand-built elements with thrown parts. She will have her work at Bohls’.
The other potters with work on this year’s tour are, at Amy Smith’s: tour co-host Sharon T. Ohmberger of Firth; Peter Scherr of Bellevue; and Sean Scott of Battle Lake, Minnesota.
At Gail Kendall’s: guest artists Ervin Dixon of Beatrice and Tim Reese of Utica.
There is no charge to attend the tour. A variety of pottery in a range of styles and materials, including earthenware, porcelain and stoneware, will be available for purchase and viewing. The artists will be at the three stops to meet visitors and talk about their work.
Tour hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
There’s a fourth, unofficial stop for the tour this year. The UNL Clay Club’s Spring Sale precisely coincides with the Lincoln Clay Tour.
The sale, which will include works of art created by graduate students, undergraduate students, alumni and faculty in the School of Art, Art History & Design representing a broad range of aesthetics, techniques and concepts, is set for Friday and Saturday in Richards Hall, Room 118 on the UNL campus..
Both the Clay Tour and the Clay Club Sale are events I attend each year -- and I almost always end up taking home a cup, plate or other piece.
A bit of professional advice here -- if you go, touch the merchandise, especially the cups. They’re, by and large, utilitarian vessels, made to be used, not sit on a shelf and look nice. And if you’re going to use them, they need to feel and look right.