Art Nouveaux – Getting Messy

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On Monday, July 21, Odyssey Center for the Ceramic Arts opened its doors to the Museum’s collectors’ group, the Art Nouveaux. Odyssey founders and owners of Highwater Clays, Gail and Brian McCarthy welcomed the group, and gave a guided tour of Odyssey, with peeks into artists’ studios, kilns and a summer workshop.

Then the fun began—there was a reason we were all wearing t-shirts and jeans! Artist/instructor Les Powell led us to the outside kiln yard, and explained the art of Raku –in his very simple terms “doing something to a hot pot.” For us, Les had arranged for “Horsehair Raku.” We were invited to each decorate our own pot—pulled from a 1250 degree kiln—by draping graceful wands of horsehair across, around, on the hot pot. Smoke, sizzle and beauty in an instant! ….and the smell of burning hair, of course.

Here Les holds the hot pot while Art Nouveaux member Thom Robinson works with the horsehair.

Our finished Horsehair Raku pots!

Retreating from the kiln yard to an indoor studio, artist/instructor Gabe Kline, patiently demonstrated the smooth glide of throwing bowls on a wheel. He made it look so easy! With our pre-centered (thank you, Gabe) mounds of clay at the ready, we all got a little messy and muddy, and with great glee threw a quite fine looking bunch of pots. Don’t you agree?

Group members Ann Forbes, Janet Whitworth and Michael Andry try their hands at the wheel.

Our bowls!

We rewarded ourselves with dinner and wine. Great fun! We’d love to have you join this exciting group. If you are interested, get in touch with Rebecca Lynch-Maass at 828.253.3227, ext. 114 or