Article by Jessica Broad and Images by Mitzi Davis
On April 16, I traveled to Macon, Georgia, along with Mitzi Davis to view Fired Works. The event ran from April 16-24, 2016. There were workshops, a preview party, and a very large pottery sale. I did not get to participate in any of the workshops, but we did spend an afternoon absorbed in viewing work and learning about the potters who were participating in the sale.
It was a revelation to see the work of artists I have admired and learn that they also live in Georgia. I have lived in Georgia for almost seven years now, but have not really acknowledged that I was living in Georgia. This trip has made me much more interested in learning about the other artists living in this state outside of our little Savannah community.
The work in the show was mostly functional, with a few sculptural objects including some robots made from wheel thrown parts by Michael Klapthor (http://www.mklapthor.com/). The functional work ranged from traditional southern face jugs and work inspired by George Ohr (the featured artists of the sale were Clark House Pottery of Greenville, SC), to very contemporary slip cast work by a group of students calling themselves 6-Pak. There were quite a few wood fired pots, a lot of traditional cone glazing, and a lot of really awesome surface decoration. I was excited to learn that Mark Errol lives in Tifton, Georgia, where he operates Marks Mud Gallery. I have been admiring his work for the last couple of years.
Mitzi and I both fell in love with the work of Jennifer Graff and went home with matching tumblers by the artist. Her work is technically amazing and esthetically beautiful. She like many of the potters in the show is an educator teaching at Gainsville State in Gainsville, Georgia. It was interesting to learn just how many college ceramics programs there are in Georgia from how many professors had work in the show. There were also quite a few public school educators with impressive work in the show.
The setting for Fired Works was also an important part of the experience; the show is held in the historic roundhouse building in Macon’s Central City Park. The ceiling of the building is amazing. One of the things I liked about the show was that everybody gets exactly the same display space (a table with a shelf above it), provided by Fired Works. It made a more equal footing for all the artists, which made it easier to give equal attention to all the work. Artists did customize the spaces for their particular work—some very successfully, but even the ones that didn’t, looked professional.
The other thing I really liked (but also did not like) about the show was that artists set up the work and then are free to leave. The sales are handled by Macon Arts Alliance. This made shopping lower pressure, and as an artist I can really appreciate the convenience of this; however, I was also disappointed that I did not get to meet more of the artists. The sale was busy the whole day we were there, with consistent lines at the checkout, so it seemed like it was a very successful event. All in all it was well worth the 2 ½ hour drive to get there.
Check out more information on the event, or find out how to participate in next year's event at http://firedworksmacon.com/