Clay Conference held at Troy University

Published 11:12 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Troy University’s Department of Art and Design will host the 25th Annual Alabama Clay Conference this weekend, Feb. 19-21.

Larry Percy, Troy University art professor and conference chair, said the Alabama Clay Conference is a time to bring in national and international clay artists to share with Alabama clay enthusiasts how they work and current trends from different parts of the country.

Presenters for this year’s conference are Juan Quezada, Lana Wilson, Marko Fields and Brian Nettles.

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Quezada discovered ancient painted pots in a cave near his home in Mata Ortiz, a rural village in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. He has recreated the pottery methods of the Paquime Indians and has trained others in his village to use the methods to spark an economic rebirth of the village.

Wilson is a published author of pottery methods and specializes in glaze formulas.

Her work has been in more than 180 shows and appears in 14 books.

She has appeared twice on Discovery Channel to extol the delights of working in clay.

Fields is the former owner of Mind’s Eye Studio, a design and illustration studio. He has served as art director of Key West Publications and was an editorial cartoonist for the “Key West Citizen.”

His work has been featured in 10 art books and he has authored numerous papers on ceramics.

Nettles founded Nettles Studio, a ceramic and sculpture studio in Pass Christian, Miss.

He later purchased acreage along the Wolf River and designed and hand-built his home, studio and kilns but kept a showroom and foundry in downtown.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina washed away everything he had built. He continues to rebuild as he can.

“More than 325 people have registered for the silver anniversary of the Alabama Clay Conference,” Percy said.

“They will come from eight states and from two countries. They will be able to watch the artists work and ask questions. For two days, we will share the love and passion for our craft.”

The theme for this year’s conference is “Rhythms, Generation and Re-Generation.”

“We will seek to find how we, as artists, can pass on the love and passion for our craft to future generations and what the role of our craft is in today’s economy.”

In conjunction with the Alabama Clay Conference at Troy University, the Johnson Center for the Arts in downtown Troy is featuring the work of Quezada, Wilson, Fields and Nettles in the Alabama Clay Conference Presenters Exhibition. The Johnson Center will be open throughout the Conference.

Hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 until 5 p.m. on Sunday.

There is not admission to the Johnson Center and the public is invited.

The Alabama Clay Conference is co-hosted by the Alabama Craft Council and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.