The Way of Clay II Ceramics Invitational celebrates the functional as well as sculptural aspects of clay as interpreted by over a dozen artists.
The show runs from June 28th to July 25th at Topanga Canyon Gallery, 120 North Topanga Canyon Boulevard, in Topanga, California. The opening reception is Sunday, July 11th from 2-5pm.
The first ceramics invitation show, The Way of Clay I, was three years ago. Topanga Canyon Gallery Member Rebecca Catterall approached its membership to do an invitational show during the summer when business was slow.
“We were doing two themed shows each summer and my proposal was to cut down to one themed show with gallery members and have a ceramic invitational. I wanted to have nationally-known artists to anchor the show. We had Bill Shinn and Donald Frith for the first show with about 15 other invited artists. It was a huge success.”
Catterall described the selection process. “Melody and I contacted people that bring a unique vision to clay. We did not want a lot of duplication in the works presented. The thought behind “The Way of Clay” is that there are many ways to work with clay. This exhibit highlights different clays, different firing temperatures, and different construction techniques such as hand building, sculpture and wheel-throwing. Some pieces are glazed, some burnished, and some unglazed. There is no wrong way to work with clay, just many ways!”
“The artists chosen for this show have very beautiful work that is also functional. Rebecca Catterall and I felt that in these tough economic times that collectors are looking for items that serve a dual purpose.” said Cooper.
It was show curator Melody Cooper who suggested featuring the work of Frank Massarella of Firehouse Pottery in Ojai, California. “Frank was enthusiastic to do the show,” said Catterall.
Frank Massarella discovered his passion for clay in a high school class during the 1960s. “I was a football player and I had to take an art class so I thought I’d take an easy one, and I took pottery,” Massarella explained in a recent interview at his Firehouse Pottery and Gallery in Ojai. “That was it. I fell in love with it. The feeling of the clay, what I could do with it, the expression I could give with my hands on the clay. I was fascinated with it.”
Massarella described his first experience with the wheel as frustrating. “I had no idea how humbling it could be,” he said. “You watch it and think, I can do that, but it’s a little different when you try to do it. You struggle and all of a sudden it connects. It’s quite satisfying and enriching. Still to this day when I get a pot right it’s a very warm feeling. It’s something you can never get too good at.”
Massarella renovated the landmark firehouse in Ojai for this studio, class space, and gallery. His large, award–winning sculptural vessels and platters are noted for both form and function. His signature swirls are enhanced by layering the glazes until perfection is reached.
Selected artists include Farideh Azad, Rebecca Catterall, Robyn Feeley, Dina Finzi, Joan Gamberg, Bob Harris, Lynette Mathis, Susan Nissman, Megan Rice, Charles Singer, Jacqueline Stanford, Jim Sullivan, and Kimberlina Whettam.
Platter by Frank Masserella