PALM HARBOR — Looking for a day trip? Maybe an opportunity to learn a little about the creative process? Pick up a holiday gift for yourself while supporting the arts and shopping local?
The Tampa Tour de Clay, held Dec. 7-8, might just be the ticket.
The two-day tour features the work of more than 30 artists from near and far at five studios in the Tampa Bay area.
The event is hosted the Florida West Pasco Ceramics Society and studio owners, including some who rarely open their workshops to the public.
Much like a progressive dinner, this tour feeds travelers, albeit in a creative way, said Glenn Woods, co-owner of Pottery Boys Studio in Palm Harbor.
"You can buy something for as little as $24 to as much as $2,400,” Woods said. “Many pieces are sculptural or decorative, and many are functional so you can use them in everyday life.”
There’s an altruistic slant, as well, as some proceeds benefit WMNF 88.5 Public Radio and other local nonprofits.
Visitors are welcome to take the tour over two days, but Saturday is the good bet if you want to take in the bulk of activities offered . Presentations are thoughtfully timed so people can see them at all five studios, Woods said.
Artists will offer insights about their process and techniques on both days. Some studios are hosting kiln openings, so visitors can see work that has been recently fired.
“Each studio has its own theme, and we like to bring people to the area who may or may not display their work on a regular basis, so people who love the arts might get something they normally don’t get to see,” Woods said.
Seasoned collectors will appreciate the work of pottery artists such as Jennifer McCurdy of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Her porcelain pieces are displayed in museums throughout the country, including the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Some long-time, local exhibitors will be back, including Michele Ginouves of Hernando County. Her functional coil-built planters, cocktail tables, bird baths and lamp bases were inspired by garden plants or cypress trees growing along the Withlacoochee River.
Special events include extended hours and an after-party until 8 p.m. on Saturday at San Antonio Potteryin Pasco County. Live entertainment includes sets by Chipco String Band and Those Unscrupulous Sun Spots. There will be light refreshments.
Those who want to try a creative hand might try the interactive Raiku Brunch on Sunday at Wellman and Welsch Pottery in Lutz, hosted by John Kellum. For $85, participants can fire a copper mat raku pot, horsehair pot or naked raku pot and take it home with them. Of that, $55 goes to WMNF 88.5 Public Radio.
Schiemann Studio, 4635 Eighth Ave. North, St. Petersburg. Saturday - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wheel-throwing demonstration at 9 a.m. Saturday. Live music featuring Trail Dogs at 12 p.m. Saturday. A portion of proceeds from sales of artwork will support the Residency Program at the Morean Center for Clay.
Pottery Boys Studio, 30 Bogie Lane, Palm Harbor. Saturday - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Crystalline kiln opening at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. A portion of proceeds benefits WMNF 88.5 Public Radio and Suncoast Hospice.
Hidden Lake Pottery Studios, 16705 Hutchison Road, Odessa. Saturday - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wood-firing discussion, 3 p.m. Saturday. A portion of proceeds from tumbler sales benefits WMNF 88.5 Public Radio
Wellman and Welsch Pottery, 17202 Whirley Road, Lutz. Saturday - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ; Sunday - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Raku demo/high-fire kiln opening, 3 p.m. Saturday. Raiku Brunch, 9 a.m. Sunday. Benefits WMNF 88.5 Public Radio. Those who pre-register get a free T-shirt. For information on the brunch go to jkellum.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (407) 694-9622.
San Antonio Pottery, 11903 Curley St., San Antonio. Saturday - 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (with live music and light refreshments); Sunday - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. High-fire kiln opening at 5 p.m. Drawings for pieces of pottery benefit WMNF 88.5 Public Radio.
For information, including a complete list of artists, go to tampa-tour.squarespace.com/