Local potters open their studios and kilns for the annual Tampa Tour de Clay

Looking for that perfect holiday gift? Take a road trip on the annual Tampa Bay Tour de Clay
Published December 3 2018

SAN ANTONIO — It's that time of year again, and Jack Boyle is busy as all get out with preparations for the 11th annual Tampa Tour de Clay.

San Antonio Pottery is the fifth and often last stop for many on the self-guided tour of a handful of studios in the Tampa Bay area.

"I have 300 to 400 student pieces to get fired," Boyle said. "Plus all my own stuff I have to get done for the tour."

Those looking for a unique handcrafted gift, whether functional or fanciful, are sure find something to like along the tour. The two day event, held Dec. 8-9, will feature the works of 31 accomplished artists. About half of those are core members of the Florida West Coast Ceramic Society, which started the tour 11 years ago as away to promote local artisans.

The event offers an intimate introduction to the artists, who are onsite sharing the uniqueness of their craft and techniques through demonstrations or casual conversation. There's also an opportunity to par-take in kiln openings held at each studio, a "pottery reveal" of sorts, that will be staggered throughout the day on Dec. 8.

The kiln openings are quite a big deal, Boyle said. "It often takes about an hour to unload all the pottery."

As is tradition, San Antonio Pottery will be open until 8 p.m., for an after-party that will feature light refreshments and live entertainment by local favorites the Chipco Creek String Band and Those Unscrupulous Sunspots.

Wellman and Welsch Pottery, located in Lutz, will host a brunch/firing event for paid participants on Sunday morning to benefit WMNF 88.5 public radio.

The tour gives an altruistic nod, with some proceeds from each studio donated to various charities.

Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 8 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 9.

Stops on the tour will be at the following locations:

Schiemann Pottery, 4635 Eighth Ave., St. Petersburg. Featured artists: studio owner Matt Schiemann and Kyle Carpenter, Casey Mcdonough, Kelsey Nagy and Larry Schiemann. Kiln opening at 9 a.m. Saturday. Benefit charity: Residency Program at the Morean Center for Clay.

Pottery Boys Studio, 30 Bogie Lane, Palm Harbor. Featured artists: studio owners Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand and Gregg Rasmusson, Susan Anderson, Sarah McCarthy, Jeff Pender and Jim and Shirl Parmentier. Kiln opening at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Benefit Charities: WMNF 88.5 public radio, Suncoast Hospice.

Hidden Lake Pottery, 16705 Hutchenson Road, Odessa. Featured artists: studio owners Kim Kirchman and Mark Fehl and McKenzie Smith, LC McGee, Chuck McGee, Jonathan Barnes, Chandra Debuse and Tommy Frank. Kiln opening/artist work presentation at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Benefit charity: WMNF 88.5 public radio.

Wellman and Welsch Pottery, 17202 Whirley Road, Lutz. Featured artists: studio owners Kim Wellman and Harry Welsch and John Kellum, Beth Garcia, Taylor Robenaslt and Kimberly Miller. Kiln opening at 3 p.m. Saturday. Raku Brunch, 9 a.m. Sunday. Paid participants will fire a copper mat raku pot, a horsehair pot or both. Pre-registered participants receive a free T-shirt. To register, go to jkellum.com, john@jkellum.com or call (407) 694-9622. Benefit charity WMNF 88.5 public radio.

San Antonio Pottery, 11903 Curley St., San Antonio. Featured artists: studio owner Jack Boyle and Ira Burhans, Michele Ginouves, William Kidd and Tim Peters. Kiln opening at 5 p.m. Saturday followed by an after-party until 8 p.m. Benefit charity: WMNF 88.5 public radio.

For more information, go to www.tampatourdeclay.cm/

Contact Michele Miller at mmiller@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6251. Follow @MicheleMiller52.