Thursday, December 11, 2014

2014 Tampa Bay Tour de Clay, December 13 & 14, Blends Science, Math, Art

Shelves filled with glazed mugs, bowls, and other 
functional pieces of service ware are ready to be 
rolled into the gas-fired kiln at San Antonio Pottery, 
the last stop on the south-to-north route of the 2014 
Tampa Bay Tour de Clay. Each studio has different 
types of kilns and uses different firing techniques. 
(Image courtesy of Jack Boyle)
Science and math teachers may want to take a field trip this weekend to five local science labs aka ceramic studios. The studios form the stops on the 2014 Tampa Bay Tour de Clay, a weekend-long ceramics open house.

Ask San Antonio potter Jack Boyle about the scientific method, for instance, and he’ll bring out one of his hundreds of notebooks recording decades of firing experiments. “I’m looking for the thread of consistency that will help me understand how to get similar results each time,” said Boyle. “A change in the barometric pressure or the way I stack the pieces in the kiln can change the way the glazes work.”

Talk about the physics of kiln building with Lutz potter Harry Welsch, who taught AP Physics for many years. Or discuss the chemistry behind glazes with Odessa potter Kim Kirchman, also a professor at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, or with any of the other artists participating in this year’s Tour.

“For me, pottery was a way into other subjects like math and science,” said Glen Woods, of Palm Harbor. 

This year’s Tour takes place December 13 and 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Guests can pick up a passport at any location, have it stamped at all locations, and be entered into a drawing for prizes. Each studio also holds raffles in support of various local charities, including radio station WMNF.

The Tour allows visitors to see the artists’ studios, learn how the pieces are made, participate in the excitement of watching pieces emerge from the kiln—and learn some math and science in the process.

The Tour is listed in south-to-north order, with kiln openings scheduled accordingly. Visitors can start at any point and create their own tour.

Demonstrations, music, and other events are scheduled throughout both days.

·      PotteryBoys Clay Studios, 30 Bogie Lane, Palm Harbor; 727-736-4870. and Kiln opening at 9 a.m. Saturday. Owners Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand; guest artists Cory McCrory, William Kidd, Chuck Solberg, and Teresa Testa.

·      Clay andPaper Studio, 110 Peterson Ave., Palm Harbor; 727-772-9570. Kiln opening at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Owner Ira Burhans; guest artists Alan Bennett and Brenda McMahon.

·      HiddenLake Pottery, 16705 Hutchinson Rd., Odessa; 813-920-4341. Facebook page online. Kiln opening at 2 p.m. Saturday. Owners Kim Kirchman and Mark Fehl; guest artists Chuck McGee, LC McGee, Kimberli Cummings, McKenzie Smith, Jonathan Barnes, and Trevor Dunn.

·      Wellmanand Welsch Pottery, 17202 Whirley Rd., Lutz; 813-961-7106. Kiln opening at 3 p.m. Saturday. Owners Harry Welsch and Kim Wellman; guest artists John Kellum, Laurie Landry, Charlie Parker, and Matt Schiemann.

·      SanAntonio Pottery, 11903 Curley Road, San Antonio; 352-588-4228. Kiln opening at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Owner Jack Boyle; guest artists Michele Ginouves, Hil-Dee Bates, Maggie Clark, Barbara Ott, and Joel Ott.

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