PALM HARBOR — Looking for something unique to do this weekend? Check out kiln openings at the Third Annual Pottery Studio Tour, Tour De Clay of Tampa Bay, on Saturday and Sunday.
The tour includes six pottery studios in three counties. Two new studios have been added since last year, plus guest artists from Florida, Kansas and Indiana.
Don't mind driving? All six studios have kiln openings Saturday and everyone's invited. The event continues Sunday with open houses at the studios.
The kiln openings start at two Palm Harbor studios, but there also is one each in Tampa, Lutz, Odessa and San Antonio.
Eighteen clay artists will display work at various studios. They will also discuss their work and answer questions.
Pottery Boys Studio kicks off the day at 9 a.m. Saturday with kiln openings, pottery demonstrations and displays. Paper and Clay Studio, also in Palm Harbor, follows with kiln openings at 10 and features guest artist John Moore.
The Palm Harbor studios will house the works of Ira Burhans, Glenn Woods and Kimberli Cummings. Guest artists John Moore of Largo and John Bauman of Indiana are both award-winning potters. Bauman's work has been featured in pottery magazines.
"We kick off the tour at this location with a kiln opening and feature crystalline glazes, which are unusual," said artist Glen Woods of Pottery Boys Studio. "We never know what's coming out of the shelf."
That's because crystals grow in the glaze layer at different temperatures as the kiln is cooled. Not even the artist knows the results until the pottery is removed.
"Some people think they (crystals) look like flowers floating in the glaze or little amoebas," Woods said. "It is designing the cooling cycle that really designs the crystal itself. You'll see growth rings each time we change the temperature."
Due to the popularity of the kiln openings, all the studios will have openings Saturday, but they will be staggered so people have time to travel to each. The openings begin with the Palm Harbor studios, then Tampa, Lutz, Odessa and the finale at the San Antonio studio.
"This year each studio could invite one guest artist," Woods said. "We wanted to invite someone who local art fair attendees may not otherwise be able to see.
"John Bauman creates functional pottery and his work is beautifully crafted. I'd say his work is beyond reproach. It's exciting to be able to bring him to Florida."