Friday, March 30, 2012

Pat Conrad Painting

This is one of my favorite paintings of Red Dot Gallery student Pat Conrad. She is free and uninhibited  with her brush (a talent of which I am always jealous) and she is very prolific (another thing I envy!) This painting affects me, in a good way, on so many levels. One of Pat's best qualities is that she has no equal when it comes to following directions, and, as I am her teacher, that is a delightful thing. It also means she has progressed by leaps and bounds since she started a few years ago. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ellen Moore Painting

Red Dot Gallery painting student Ellen Moore frequently paints her grandchildren in simple landscapes. Her family is honored to be the subject of such a talented artist. She has been taking classes at Red Dot for over 4 years, and is one of the most enthusiastic, dedicated, and FUNNY people in the place. Red Dot wouldn't be the same without her.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Alabama Clay Conference Photos

Hundreds of ceramic artists and enthusiasts from around the region and across the country converged in Birmingham February 16-19 for the Alabama Clay Conference at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. 

Gryder, Isupov, and Meaden demonstrating

They found plenty to pique their interest.  In this 27th annual edition of the conference—the largest and most prestigious clay meeting in the Southeast—more than 400 attendees witnessed live demonstrations from some of the country’s top ceramists, toured an exhibition of the invited artists’ works, visited a ceramics trade show, shopped at a marketplace featuring the work of Alabama ceramic artists, toasted handmade “pints” at the Good People Brewery, and enjoyed the incredible collection of ceramics at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

Attendees flocking around artist's work

Scott Bennett, 2012 chair for the Alabama Clay Conference, a ceramics teacher and co-owner of Red Dot Gallery in Homewood, was guided by his own experience attending national and international art shows as he planned this year’s conference. Moreover, the Alabama Council on the Arts, the Alabama Craft Council, and the Potters Council, hosts of the event, have designated Birmingham as conference location for the next five years.

Attendee's exhibition

The conference itself was centered around the presenters’ demonstrations and exhibition. The marquee presenters were internationally recognized artists Sergei Isupov, Lorna Meaden, and Chris Gryder. All day Friday and Saturday, February 17-18, at the convention complex at 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North, the three offered on-stage demonstrations of their work while discussing their processes and inspirations. Adjacent to the demonstrations area was a ceramic supply and workshop vendors’ trade show and an exhibit of attendee’s artwork.

From the Vendor's Trade Show

Presenting artists Isupov, Meaden, and Gryder need little introduction to many ceramic enthusiasts.

Sergei Isupov, among the world’s most famous and beloved ceramic artists, has been thrilling collectors for decades with his meticulously surreal figurative sculpture.  Born in Russia, Isupov studied art at universities in Kiev and Estonia before emigrating to the United States in the early 1980s. His work is in museum collections around the globe. From his home in Massachusetts, Isupov travels widely to lecture and hold workshops world-wide.

Isupov sculpting his piece

Pre-fired piece at end of conference

With her elegant and sensuous vessels, Lorna Meaden puts her own spin on historical ornamentation and celebrates the practical use of everyday, utilitarian objects.  She contrasts extravagant embellishment with a rough-hewn, home-spun, sensibility. One of America’s most popular potters, Meaden exhibits in galleries and museums nationwide. She has been an artist in residence at some of the most prestigious art instruction centers in the country, and resides in Durango, CO.

One of Meaden's demonstration pieces

Chris Gryder, from Roanoke, VA, is well-known for his large-scale tile installations, which have been placed in private collections and institutions nationwide. Using a casting process with silt, he is able to capture one-of-a-kind multi-layered surfaces; his forms suggest botanical and mechanical imagery, melded together in orderly and harmonious arrangements.

Gryder's work in progress

The Alabama Clay Conference is proud to call Birmingham its new home. For more information about the conference, visit the Alabama Clay Conference web site,  For specific questions about this year’s event, contact Bennett at

Monday, March 12, 2012

Alabama Clay Market

A series of blog posts to come will feature the Alabama Clay Conference of which my husband, Scott Bennett, was this year’s chairman.

The 27th annual Alabama Clay Conference kicked off this year with the Alabama Clay Market at Art Folk Gallery in Birmingham, Alabama. For the first time, ALCC 2012 hosted this week-long pottery and sculpture sale, offering the work of some of the state’s best ceramic artists. The Clay Market opened with a reception on Thursday evening, February 16. The market continued through Saturday, February 25th.

The event was very successful, with a large turn-out and higher-than-expected sales.

Held at Art Folk Gallery at the Young & Vann Building at 1731 First Avenue North, the Market brought together the work of approximately 30 Alabama ceramic artists, with styles ranging from folk to modern. Not to be confused with traditional street fairs or craft shows comprised of booths and elaborate displays, this was a frills-free market set-up with artist wares displayed on tables. Modeled after the original 50 Georgia Potters exhibit (a widely popular and very successful venture) the Alabama Clay Market exhibited the work of well-known Alabama potters and ceramic artists together and offered the public a wide-variety of choices and prices.

 Exhibiting artists in the Market include Larry Allen, Margaret Barber, Dianne Benefield, Scott Bennett, Nada Boner, Susan Bowman, Ryan Carlson, Paveen Chunhaswasdikul, Becky Crisswell, Susan Freeman, Chris Greenman, Lynetter Hesser, Kevin Irwin, Kerry Kennedy, Janice Kluge, Steve Loucks, Jane Marshall, Bertice McPherson, Branan Mercer, Fran Nagy, Tena Payne, Guadalupe Robinson, David Self, Randy Shoults, Adam Snyder, Adam Sterrett, Ursula Vann, Marylin Wilson, and Tony Wright.