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Drown the summer heat with aquatic pottery

1. Tide-inspired aquatic plate with pooled glass by Laura Nichols of Great Falls, Va.
1. Tide-inspired aquatic plate with pooled glass by Laura Nichols of Great Falls, Va.
Laura Nichols

The Kiln Club is plating up turf with surf in an aquatic theme show, so they describe. We have seen a lot of paintings so far this summer, and it is good place to keep cool at the Torpedo Factory Scope Gallery. I see more potters working in the studio in the summertime than I see printmakers, for instance. Maybe they enjoy the comfortable cool studio and the nice wet clay.

“Alexandria, Va., July 28, 2014 -- Surf's up as primo pottery with cool aquatic variations anchors the Kiln Club show at the Torpedo Art Center's Scope Gallery.

Pottery is watery as glazing mimics glassy surfaces and waves of texture take a vessel into unchartered waters. Find fluid forms and pier at mud fashioned into marine-themed, mondo creations.

Beachware is a must for any Summer cupboard! Before heading to the golden sands, equip beachfront interiors with something splashy. Raku-fired vessels topped with a natural driftwood accents add tradition and high-end taste. Frosty crystalline glazes of frothy white, cobalt blue or misty green mimics sea glass at the water's edge.

Something is pretty fishy with octopi winding tentacles around a vase, goldfish serving as the spire for a turquoise lidded jar and tableware dotted with schools of minnows. A wine chiller is encircled by golden carp with textured, stylized waves. A sculpted fish detail arcs over an angled vessel in sandy tones.

Today's best catch could be sushi plates with fish silhouettes, a server with alabaster dogwoods floating on a deep teal background or a dramatic boat centerpiece to float candles in.

And that just skims the surface as organic grooved spirals echo wistful whirlpools in trays and bowls. Aqua glass pools in dishes and ceramic-framed mirrors.

Artists are taking the plunge, riding the creative wave, incorporating figments of the sea using imaginative mussels and for a perfect sail.”

Via Tracy Griffith at the Kiln Club

Take a tour of some of the potters and pottery from the featured exhibit. See the slideshow.

Laura Nichols (Pig Pen Pottery) talks about berry bowls on her website. I agree with her that berry bowls are a tremendous asset, especially in the morning. Clean your strawberries, sliced or whole, rense berries and the residual water drains through small holes that is caught by a saucer designed for that purpose. Berry bowls can also be used as collendars. I use mine to rinse herbs.

Jeff Watson has been throwing clay since the 1970s. Jeff makes truly functional work that is most enjoyable.

“The pots I make are functional, usually thrown on the wheel and sometimes altered, and are of stoneware or porcelain. Forming the pot is the part of the process that I most enjoy -- actually feeling the wet clay slide through my hands, the pot taking shape from the pressure and gestures of my hands. I tend to like simple glazes and fire pots in a gas-fired kiln to about 2400 degrees.”

Tracie Griffith is a writer and a potter. Her work is especially artistic. You must see her Chinese painting style on her website as it is splendid.

Donna Downing produces little collectables among other things. We have covered Donna and her displays at the Lee Arts Center:

Bev Andrews describes her work.

“The possibilities afforded by clay are endless. I love to experiment with different forms whether thrown on the wheel, hand built, or both. I like combinations that reflect both the antique and contemporary.”

The Kiln Club show runs July 28 to August 31, Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with Thursdays open until 9 p.m. The Art League show runs April 9 to May 5, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays noon to 6 p.m. with Thursdays open until9 p.m. The galleries are located at 105 North Union Street, ground floor, Alexandria, VA. 22314. For further information call the Scope Gallery at 703-548-6288 or visit and

Kiln Club is an organization of more than 90 Washington D.C. area artists working in the clay medium. Juried members exhibit themed shows every other month at the cooperative artist-run Scope Gallery in Alexandria's Torpedo Factory Art Center.

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