About two hours from Macon, a perfect autumn drive on Georgia’s back roads, is Watkinsville, the charming hamlet that is home to the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation, sponsor of “Perspectives,” the Georgia Pottery Invitational exhibit.
Considered by ceramicists to be one of the most prestigious shows in the Southeast, it is also listed as one of the top 20 events by the Southeast Tourism Society.
In its 13th year, the foundation invited 50 of Georgia’s best-known potters to keep their shelves stocked with their most outstanding vessels and decorative pieces for almost three weeks, opening the last week of August and closing last Wednesday. In the Rocket Hall sales gallery, there were names familiar to collectors, plus a few new participants this year.
Since Macon has its own Fired Works each spring, sponsored by Macon Arts Alliance, and lies in the heart of clay country, it was not surprising to see Roger Jamison’s wood-fired burnished urns and chargers, Jim Sandefur’s creative designs or Kathy Murphy’s brilliantly glazed contemporary pieces included in this imposing pottery exhibit.
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The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation invited some of the participants in this year’s show to display several unique pieces from their collections in the permanent gallery.
Murphy’s “Three Muses,” a set of three bowls, and her large charger, “Artemis,” were excellent examples of her pattern and glazing techniques. One of the docents in the gallery was having an enlightening discussion about wood-firing with a small audience that was curious about Jamison’s “Platter w/Rope Texture & Shells,” and exactly how he incorporated the additional elements to clay in the wood-firing process.
Sandefur’s “Wood-fired Jar” and two pots, in earth tones indigenous to the primitive process, were easily recognizable to his Middle Georgia admirers. “Perspectives” was well received this year and, according to Murphy, a very successful show for the participants, just whetting our appetites for Fired Works in 2016.
REPRISING HIS ACT AT THE COX CAPITOL
On Sept. 12, Tommy Townsend, lead singer with the Waymore’s Outlaws and a member of the late Waylon Jennings’ band, and Shooter Jennings, son of the band’s founder, joined two other original musicians in Jennings’ band on the Cox Capitol stage for a return visit after Townsend had participated in the inaugural “Design, Wine and Dine” festival in 2014.
Not only did he entertain the closing gala for that event with a memorable rendition of Jennings’ “Luckenbach Texas,” he brought samples of his Granddaddy Mimms Authentic North Georgia Moonshine (now legally manufactured in Milledgeville) as a presenter during the wine and dine segment of the festival.
Townsend was smitten by his reception in Macon and vowed to return, much to the delight of the crowd last Saturday at the Cox.
Jerry “Jigger” Bridges, the band’s bass guitar player, who played with Jennings for more than two decades, was celebrating his birthday on the day he visited Macon. Little did he know that one of the audience members, Phyllis Farmer, was also a September honoree and had invited her family to hear a band she knew they would enjoy enough to add to their playlist.
Daughter Tiffany Nelson and husband Jay brought their children Natalie Slocumb and Nathan Slocumb to hear country music seasoned with a little Muscle Shoals blues.
Downtown was still alive and well after the show when the party moved to Tokyo Alley for dinner, a birthday cake and photo opportunities with the band. Caroline and William Williams, after hearing the band for the first time in person, agreed with his local fans that Tommy Townsend should consider himself an adopted Maconite.
ANOTHER MUSE FROM MACON
Walker Bass, who lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with wife, Mary, is the son of Tricia and Tom Bass of Macon, and works as a caregiver. He appeared at a reception in his honor in the Burden Parlor of Wesleyan College on Sept. 8 and read some of his poetry to the assembled guests that have known him since his childhood days in Macon.
To date, Bass has not published any of his poetry, preferring to share his free verse perceptions in person. Linda Padgett, who has known Bass all of his life, remembers him as an introspective and thoughtful teenager whose poetry reflects a sage realism far beyond his years.
Bass had dedicated several of his poems to family members and lifelong friends, among them John Reichert who was there with his mother, Bebe Reichert. Friend John could appreciate his interpretation of the angst of teenage years as well as the abstract “Blessings for the Journey,” be they physical or emotional sendoffs.
Lanier Anderson and Eleanor Lane braved inclement weather to be on hand for another emerging literary artist from Macon.
Katherine Walden is a freelance writer and interior designer in Macon. Contact her at 478-742-2224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.