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Covering a Memphis art venue

Last week, I covered the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

Since the summer is a perfect time to travel, I will cover another Memphis arts venue. With its close proximity to Oxford and easy access from I-55, Memphis is a great day-trip destination for art lovers of all kinds.

The Memphis Potter’s Guild will be holding their annual spring show and sale on June 10-12 at the Memphis Botanic Garden’s Goldsmith Civic Center which is located at 750 Cherry Road in Audubon Park.

They will hold an opening reception on Friday, June 10, from 5-8 p.m. The show will continue on Saturday, June 11, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m and on Sunday, June 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There will be locally made tableware, hand-thrown pottery, sculpture, jewelry and more. Artists will show work in diverse styles including Raku, earthenware and stoneware.

The guild began in the winter of 1976 when Cissy Jones and Patti Lechman met at a pottery class at the Memphis College of Art and decided to open up their own joint pottery studio. Workshop Inc., as it was first named, was located at the corner of Hollywood and Summer Avenues, where they offered classes to the public. 

In 1978 they received a charter from the Ann Arbor, Michigan Potter’s Guild where Patti had studied. Modeling their guild after the Michigan one, the Memphis Potter’s Guild began.

They continued to offer classes, rented space to other artists and eventually began holding a bi-annual sale and show. Gradually, it became more costly to run the studio as members began moving on to establish studios of their own.

The group still remains firmly established and continues to share ideas and to present shows to the community of Memphis.

According to their website the guild “is committed to increasing the public’s appreciation and understanding of quality workmanship through teaching, demonstrating, exhibiting and supporting workshops throughout the community.”

One of the artists, Nile Wallace, who is also a professor of art at the University of Memphis, has been getting a lot of recognition for his work in clay.

Wallace recently hosted Tennessee’s first lady, Crissy Haslam, in his studio and was invited to participate in the Holiday Tennessee Craft Show at the governor’s mansion.

Not only did he participate in the show, but the piece Haslam purchased will be on display in the Tennessee state residence for the duration of the Haslam’s occupancy. 

In addition, Professor Wallace has recently received an individual artist’s grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

With about 25 current members, including some of the original founding artists, the group is a network of artists who join together to share ideas, foster appreciation of the art and help each other conduct sales fostering the careers of local ceramic artists.

You can support their mission by taking a road trip to Memphis the weekend of June 10-12 to see amazing pottery in many different styles by a variety of artists.

ANDI BEDSWORTH is owner of Art To Go, which brings free art opportunities to children in the community.