Professional and student artists share the galleries at The Clay Studio

arts / Article

Above: “Claymobile Creations” by Philadelphia-area students.

The fare at The Clay Studio to kick off 2016 is about as wide-ranging as it gets. For its January exhibits, this Philadelphia Knight Arts grantee will have its “Our Community” show on display, celebrating the seasoned member artists that work at The Clay Studio. In the adjacent gallery, visitors will find works made by young school students through the studio's Claymobile Outreach Program, which gives these new artists the opportunity to show off their ceramic work–most likely for the first time ever.

“As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” That is the quote laid out in mosaic tiles against the back wall of the “Claymobile Creations” exhibit. The afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 10 was a flurry of activity as students and their families visited The Clay Studio's Old City location, many of them poised to see their own creations in a professional setting. Learning to construct objects like dishes and mugs, or sculpt likenesses from clay and then color them with glaze, students got a hands-on lesson in exactly what type of joys can be found in art-making.

The students, who were from a number of schools around the Philadelphia area, were asked what inspires them and then proceeded to work with the Claymobile's teaching artists. Started in 1994 by Kathryn Narrow, the Claymobile was conceived as a way to bring art to children instead of attempting to have busy parents bringing their kids to the Clay Studio. Twenty-two years later, the Claymobile is still going strong, having expanded its reach to beyond the traditional classroom to populations including deaf students, children in the juvenile justice system, as well as formerly homeless and learning disabled adults.

Andrea Marquis, “Ajoure.”

In the main gallery, visitors can also find ceramic work by many talented artists–a display that demonstrates the breadth of this medium's possibilities. Andrea Maquis's “Ajoure” is a spectacular metallic sculpture that resembles a Rorschach inkblot. Its jagged symmetry greets visitors almost as soon as they enter the gallery space, providing a tantalizing draw that beckons the curious in further.

Hope Rovelto, “Together.”

Hope Rovelto's “Together” adds a sense of humor to the show, but also a sense of movement. Two chairs, a white one and a green one, melt into one another as if merging into one piece of furniture. The idea of rubbery, fluid chairs is quite amusing, and also reminiscent of the soft sculptures popularized by Claes Oldenburg.

Diane Marimow, “Ghost Mollusk.”

Part sun hat, part ocean critter, Diane Marimow's “Ghost Mollusk” is a study in organic forms and textures. Like a mysterious animal from the depths of the sea, it is mostly pale and its center is full of spiny, tooth-like protrusions. If not for this central ring of sharp spines, it also looks like it could easily double as a fashionable, floppy hat for a weekend out in the country.

There are many more creations by both veteran and brand new artists on view at The Clay Studio. Be sure to visit before January 31 to see works from the community's expansive selection of clay artists, both fresh and professional.

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