Macon’s affinity for pottery goes way back — literally thousands of years — with some of America’s oldest known vessels crafted, used and then more recently unearthed and displayed at the Ocmulgee National Monument.
Newer versions of the age-old craft will be displayed and sold April 13-22 at the Macon Arts Alliance 13th annual Fired Works Regional Ceramics Exhibition and Sale at Central City Park.
Sixty Southeastern potters are bringing works. But where their counterparts 10,000 years ago were concerned only with creating functional objects for daily use, today’s potters will show and sell both their functional and their purely artistic wares.
One renowned potter coming from northeast Georgia is Ester Lipscomb, Fired Works 2018’s featured potter. Lipscomb crafts functional pieces but also creates more artful pottery and sculptures using the Raku process.
However, Lipscomb might dispute the “more artful” designation.
“I do a mix of things from very functional items like cups and dishes and pie plates that are at home on kitchen tables to very flashy work that includes gold gilding that might be more at home being looked at on a shelf,” she said. “But I believe each is art, each beautiful, and each connects with its surroundings and to us as human beings. I don’t elevate one above the other. To me it’s not craft versus art. They’re together — both beautiful.”
Not a newcomer to the exhibition, Lipscomb said one of her favorite features is its preview party. This year’s is 6-9 p.m. April 13. There, the public and potters get to meet.
“I always hope people will come up to me and talk, ask questions,” she said. “I love the interchange.”
Kathy Nolan, an event organizer, agreed the preview party is an annual highlight. She said this year’s is catered by Piedmont Brewery and costs $40 in advance or $50 the day of the event.
She also noted Lipscomb will be doing one of Fired Works free workshops April 14. Information about other free and paid workshops, plus exhibition hours and additional features, is on the Fired Works website.
“Fired Works began as a simple, local pottery show and has grown into the largest exhibit of functional and sculptural pottery in Georgia,” Nolan said. “Its purpose is to help Southeastern ceramic artists and potters show and sell their work, to promote the history of pottery in Georgia and Ocmulgee River Region and to raise funds for the Macon Arts Alliance.”
But for most, Fired Works is a 10-day opportunity to get out, visit the park, see unique, useful, artful, classic, quirky, admirable, and sometimes common works of modern crafts persons.
And take some home.
“You might spend as little as $10 for a one-of-a-kind, handmade work of art you can even drink coffee out of,” Nolan said. “Where else can you do that? Of course something may strike your fancy that costs much more.”
Nolan said April 14 is considered Super Saturday and admission to Fired Works also serves as admission to the Junior League of Macon’s Rock ‘n Rides, also at Central City Park. It features family activities, entertainment, food trucks and has motorcycles, classic cars and emergency vehicles to view and explore.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at email@example.com.
Fired Works Regional Ceramics Exhibition and Sale
Where: The Round Building, Central City Park
When: 6-9 p.m. April 13 preview; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 14 and 21; noon-4 p.m. April 15 and 22; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. April 16-20
Daily general admission: $5 with unlimited returns through the week. Tickets available online or at the door