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June 23 + 24, 2012 | Sharon, NH | ClayFest

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A two-day celebration of clay featuring live demonstrations, food and music, and hands-on activities for both children and adults is scheduled for Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24 from noon to 6 pm at the Sharon Arts School of Art and Craft, 457 Rt.123, Sharon.


The Sharon Arts Center and the New Hampshire Institute of Art are partnering in this event to feature master clay artisans who will be onsite both days with demonstrations of how they work.




“We hope that Clayfest will be an important catalyst in creating a greater awareness of the beauty and accessibility of clay,†said Sharon Arts Executive Director Keri Wiederspahn. “We’re pleased to be bringing the community together in this creative and family-friendly event.â€


Wiederspahn added that during this year’s Clayfest Sharon Arts will be introducing their Japanese Anagama Kiln Project, which they will be launching through an upcoming fundraising campaign in order to build and provide community access to a state-of-the-art Anagama kiln. Next year’s Clayfest, she said, will be preceded by a four-week educational program encompassing the actual building of the Anagama, engineered with clay artist James Mitschmyer along with Japanese potter and kiln builder Koichi Ohara, a master guest artist coming from Japan to help facilitate the project.


“With fundraising success,†Wiederspahn said, “the month of June next summer will allow for both the Anagama to be built and have its initial firing. Our goal is that the kiln will be the ceramics centerpiece of our region, engaging emerging and professional ceramicists, the New Hampshire Potters Guild, and undergraduate students from New Hampshire Institute of Art, Franklin Pierce University, Keene State, and Colby-Sawyer College, among others. Clayfest itself is intended to grow after the kiln is built, and to be an annual event that will incorporate a firing week into its schedule, along with public accessibility to witness the craft and purchase wares.â€


Master clay artisans from the New Hampshire Institute of Art who will be onsite both days with demonstrations of how they work include Maureen Mills, Chairperson of Ceramics at NHIA, Karen Orsillo, NHIA Adjunct Ceramics faculty, John Baymore, NHIA Adjunct Ceramics faculty, and Chris Archer, NHIA Ceramics faculty. On Saturday, June 23 Maureen Mills will demonstrate “Sectional Wheelthrowing†and Karen Orsillo will explain “Textured Slab-Building Techniques.†On Sunday, June 24, John Baymore will do “Wheelworking Techniques,†demonstrating how to make various jars, cups, and other signature forms which will incorporate and cover a variety of wheelworking techniques, and Chris Archer will demonstrate “Complex Forms,†which will focus on throwing techniques and altering techniques. All of these demonstrations will be held from noon to 2 pm and again from 2 pm to 4 pm.


Ongoing through the weekend there will be outdoor firings managed by Sharon Arts faculty member and local potter Janet Duchesneau of Eastwind Pottery along with renowned New Hampshire potter Glen MacInnis. Visitors will be able to witness Raku firings, Saggar Pit firings, and sawdust firings.


Hands-on workshops will be available as well. On Saturday from 4 to 6 pm, Sharon Arts faculty member James Mitschmyer will lead a segment on printing on clay. On Sunday from 1 to 3 pm Duchesneau will be leading an introductory segment on creating with clay, covering basic handbuilding and wheel techniques.


Youth-specific workshops will include Handbuilding for Kids on Saturday from noon to 3 pm with New Hampshire clay artist Shana Brautigam of Rooted in Clay. Also on Saturday, from 3 to 6 pm, Sharon Arts faculty member Connie Gray will lead a mini-class on creating with Polymer Clay. On Sunday from noon to 3 pm Karrie Mitschmyer will lead a mini-class on creative sculpture for kids. These youth offerings are open to ages 6 through 12. Younger children accompanied by a parent are welcome.


Participants are limited to eight per workshop, and sign-ups will be taken the day of the event. Observers are welcome at all demonstrations.


In addition to the weekend’s activities, information about the proposed Anagama Kiln will be available as well as an onsite temporary weekend gallery featuring artisan wares for sale. Featured artists will include participating NHIA faculty, Sharon Arts Center juried crafters, and Sharon Arts Center students and faculty. Displayed work will represent a diverse cross-section of styles of functional and decorative pieces.




“Clayfest promises to be a favorite event,†Wiederspahn said, “and we’re excited to see how we can continue to build interest and accessibility to this vital art form and its community-building process.â€




Outdoor firings will be ongoing throughout the weekend.Exhibition/sale items will be on display throughout the weekend.


12noon-2pm, and 2-4pm – Sectional Wheelthrowing with Maureen Mills12noon-2pm, and 2-4pm – Textured Slab-building with Karen Orsillo

Hands-on Workshops (Limited to 8 per workshop, taking registrations the day of event) :4-6pm – Printing on Clay with James Mitschmyer

Youth Workshops (Ages 6-12, under 6 must be accompanied by adult) :

12noon-3pm – Handbuilding for Kids with Shana Brautigam

3-6pm – Polymer Clay for Kids with Connie Gray2-6pm – Clay Dinosaurs with Liz Fletcher


12noon-2pm, and 2-4pm – Wheelworking Techniques with John Baymore12noon-2pm, and 2-4pm – Complex Forms with Chris Archer

Hands-on Workshops (Limited to 8 per workshop, taking registrations the day of event) :

1-3pm – Clay for All Levels with Janet Duchesneau

Youth Workshops (Ages 6-12, under 6 must be accompanied by adult) :

12noon-3pm – Handbuilding for Kids with Karrie Mitschmyer


For more information, go to:




or call: (603) 924-7256

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