It’s a call back to Georgia’s rich clay history and also a chance to see and purchase art from potters all over the Southeast.
The 12th annual Fired Works Regional Ceramics Exhibition and Sale opens Friday night in Central City Park with a ticketed Preview Party. General admission for the nine-day event begins Saturday with more than 6,500 pieces of both sculptural and functional pottery on display.
“This one event provides a great opportunity for people to shop for art, see art and actually invest or start collecting,” said Kathy Hoskins Nolan, a communications consultant for Macon Arts Alliance. “You can buy items as low as $10.”
She said last year Macon Arts sold more than $95,000 worth of pottery and many of the artists were called back to replenish their stock.
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“It’s kind of a win-win because the artists are compensated and have a place to show their work in a setting that draws a large crowd,” Nolan said.
There are 65 potters in this year’s show, including featured potter Barry Gregg, who lives in Decatur and is a former graphic designer. His style is described as whimsical and features things like dogs, bears and pigs, said Megan McNaught, curator for Macon Arts Alliance.
Gregg will give a talk at 1:30 p.m. Sunday that is included with admission.
There also are two chances to make your own piece of pottery. The “Wheel Turning” workshop involves creating on the pottery wheel with professional guidance. This happens Tuesday from 6-7:30 p.m. and again from 7:30-9 p.m. and tickets are $50.
There is also a chance to sip cocktails and make a small piece of pottery at the “Corks & Clay” workshop. This happens Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. and again from 7:30-9 p.m and tickets are $30.
Fired Works also has kids’ workshops that are free but require advance registration. The April 22 workshops are full, but the workshops repeat April 29 at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
All of the events raise funds for Macon Arts Alliance, which serves as a support and marketing umbrella to 58 arts organizations in Middle Georgia.
“We help to provide programming for them, education when we can — whatever kind of support they need,” Nolan said.
Macon Arts also operates a gallery on First Street and manages ovations365.com, which is a calendar repository for all kinds of arts and community events.
Nolan was on the Macon Arts’ board when Fired Works was started 12 years ago. She said the event pays homage to Georgia’s pottery traditions while also benefiting the local arts.
“The red Georgia clay, and Lizella clay in particular, is used by potters in all parts and in the heritage of the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds. We have shards that are some of the oldest dated back in North America from there,” she said. “So, it just kind of had a lot of natural things that people would be drawn to this area for pottery and there wasn’t an exhibition of this magnitude.”
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 22 and 29, noon-4 p.m. April 23 and 30, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. April 24-28
Where: Round Building, Central City Park, downtown Macon
Cost: $5, free for kids 12 and younger