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SHOWING OFF: Colley Complex artists exhibit clay pieces at JCA

Walking into the Colley Complex Potters’ exhibition at the Johnson Center for the Arts is like walking into your grandma’s kitchen.
“This home-like setting is perfect for this wonderful exhibition of artwork by local artists,” said Bill Hopper, chairman of the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Foundation. “It’s a comfortable and fascinating place to be.”

And, the Colley Complex Potters’ exhibition will be the place to be at 6 o’clock Monday night.

The Johnson Center for the Arts will host a reception for the 14 Colley Complex Potters at 6 p.m. and everyone is invited. The artists’ reception is planned for 6 p.m. so the community will have an opportunity to view the exhibit prior to the City of Troy Christmas Parade which steps off at 7 p.m.

Exhibiting potters are Day Barnes, Judy Baxter, John Biggy, Millie Biggy, Andy Martincak, Winnie Martincak, Josephine Meeks, Carter Sanders, Martha Sellers, Melanie Sessions, Allene Snider, Jeannie Swindall, Scott Swindall and Alla Vasileva.

“The Johnson Center is delighted to have this opportunity to show the work of these artists,” Hopper said. “We invite the community to view this quality and a unique show. You know right away that this art was created with a lot of energy and a lot of love. The exhibition provides an artistic experience in a wonderfully crafted gallery.”

Potter Carter Sanders designed and built displays for the artwork and Aaron Johnson, JCA preparator and designer, put together an amazing exhibition, Hopper said.

The exhibition includes pottery made by the Colley Complex Potters with this show in mind, Carter Sanders said.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to show our work at the Johnson Center,” Sanders said. “The JCA is known for exhibiting the work of some of Alabama’s most outstanding artists as well as those who are nationally and internationally-known. So it is an honor for us to have our work on exhibit here.”

Andy Martincak is a regular participant at the Colley Complex and was making clay art before the potters organized.

“I enjoy working with clay and I like trying new ways of doing things,” Martincak said, as he nodded toward the “candlelight lamp” he created. “It’s different and I started not to put it in the show but, here it is.”

Martincak’s preference in clay is seemingly the coil method.

“It takes longer to roll coils and put them together but it’s like building from the ground up,” he said.

Martincak’s wife, Winnie, is a novice when it comes to pottery but she is a quick learner. With a little help from her husband, using the slab method, she created a vase for members of the cactus family.

“I wrapped this slab of clay around a stove pipe and formed the bowl,” Winnie Martincak said. “I made the designs in the clay using bark from different trees. I enjoyed it. Now, I’m willing to try something new.”

And, there’s always something new for potters to try, even for those who are seasoned potters.

Day Barnes is a multi-talented artist. She paints and draws. She teaches art and she makes pots using different hand-made methods. Barnes is also innovative in her pottery making.

“The designs in some of my pottery are made using antique lace from my great-grandmother’s doilies and lacy materials,” she said. “The process is rather simple, you press the doily into the clay to form your design and then remove it. The clay doesn’t stick to the doily if you’re careful. “

When the piece is glazed and fired, Barnes has an intricately designed piece of pottery with sentimental value.

Barnes has a unique and almost trademark way of working with clay, as do the other Colley Complex Potters.

“Making pottery is as individual as painting a picture,” said Wiley White, exhibition coordinator. “Judy Baxter’s pottery is distinctive, as is Day’s or Andy’s or Carter’s or any of the 14 members of the Colley Complex Potters. It’s a delightful exhibit and we invite the community to the artists’ reception Monday night. The exhibit will run through Christmas along with our Christmas Tree Extravaganza. The JCA is a great place to enjoy the holidays.

The hours for the JCA are from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and until 3 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.