The State of Clay in Lexington
by Taryn Plumb
Clay: What does the word bring to mind? Earthenware pots sold along a desert road amidst swirls of dust? Armies of identical figurines? Mass-made tchotchkes?
Then you’ve never really seen what clay can do.
The 9th Biennial State of Clay, to be held May 7 through June 5 at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society in Lexington, Mass., features the work of more than 60 Massachusetts artists who work the medium in a variety of unexpected and inventive ways.
“It’s a very diverse range of work, from sculptural, to functional, to wall pieces, representing very different statements and views,” said Joan Carcia, a potter who co-founded the exhibition with Abrams.
Since it was conceived in 1997, the show has featured more than 300 artists from across the Commonwealth. This year’s finalists were culled from 154 applicants who live in, work in, or otherwise have ties to Massachusetts. Nearly 500 pieces were submitted, with those appearing in the show handpicked by renowned ceramicist Wayne Higby of Alfred University in New York State.
“It’s a very strong art that is really gaining its deserved reputation,” said Abrams, a retired drama teacher who picked up wheel-throwing after college and has spent the last several years experimenting with clay in a variety of ways. “We’ve really come to appreciate how strong the ceramic community is in Massachusetts. This is a very productive state in terms of ceramic expression and links between ceramic artists.”