First Friday: Stretching clay’s limits

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Whether your cup of tea (shown, Jill Bonovitz’s “Untitled”) is ceramic tea pots or non-functional sculpture, you’ll probably be wowed by the work on display at the Clay Studio‘s “Mastery in Clay 2003” show and next weekend’s auction of more than 260 pieces from nearly that many artists.

The quality is high, the range wide, from clay artists local and from across the country invited by the Clay Studio to participate.

Joan Takayama-Ogawa’s “Golden Dogwood Teabag” teapot, with its saucy lipstick spout and high-priced glaze seems to raise issues of Asian women in American culture.

A straightforward object like Sarah Jaeger’s porcelain bowl (shown) with its metalic glaze and rippling rim offers something irresistable and voluptuous to look at. The delicate tears in the tissue-thin lip of Mary Roehm’s porcelain “Torn Bowl” offers a pared-down approach to the same material, which, in its natural color, resembles skin.

The crowded, plant-like spikes in Kyoko Tokumaru’s “Germination #3” (shown), the cartoony cat-in-the-hat faces confronting eachother in Janis Mars Wunderlich’s “Family Fight” (it looks like it was inspired by a teapot about to boil over and blow its whistle), the texture of Harold N. Schaefer’s “Python Vase,” are just a few of the many, many things I admired in this show.

I’m not sure how the Clay Studio sustains one terrific show after another, but it must be doing something right.

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