‘Flora, Fauna’ pottery show at SAC gallery

Posted: February 28, 2014

The Winchester Star

Denise Kupiszewski’s large piggy bank named Ursula will be part of the “Flora and Fauna” pottery exhibit, starting Saturday at the Shenandoah Arts Council gallery in Winchester.

Winchester — Realistic and fictional elements of nature will be re-created in clay with a new pottery exhibit at the Shenandoah Arts Council.

A pig wearing a tutu made of flowers, a vase that looks like a tree trunk, and another in the shape of a rabbit are some of the sights visitors will see in the Shenandoah Potters Guild’s exhibit, “Flora and Fauna,” said organizer Denise Kupiszewski, 56, of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

The works of 10 potters will be on display from this Saturday to March 29 in the gallery at 811 S. Loudoun St. An artist reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. March 8. Both are free and open to the public.

The show is meant to be an exhibit, not a pottery sale, although some of the pieces will be available for purchase, Kupiszewski said. That gives the potters more freedom to play and express themselves.

“As an artist, you have to put your mind on the marketability,” she said. “That leads to functionality in your style, which is saleable.”

Themes such as “Flora and Fauna” and last year’s “Nursery Rhymes With Clay” allow potters to stretch themselves and try something new because they are focused in regard to technique, vision, and form, she said. “We want to take ourselves out of the idea of ‘will somebody buy this’ and instead say ‘this is what I want to express.’”

The show will offer Deidre Morgan, 32, of Frederick County, her first chance at exhibiting her work. She is both nervous and thrilled with the prospect.

“It is such a great opportunity. I feel really honored to have my work displayed with my colleagues,” said Morgan, who has been doing pottery three years.

For the show at SAC, she will have one piece, a yarn bowl with flowers carved in it and a frog she sculpted attached to the outside.

It took years to find what her preferred medium is, Morgan said, and she loves that it is an art form with such a deep history and heritage. “When I found it I was euphoric. When I throw a pot, I am blissful.”

Participating potters will have anywhere from one to four pieces in the show, depending on what they wanted to do, said Kupiszewski, who has been hand building pottery since the 1970s and turning pieces on a wheel since the ’80s.

One of her pieces will be a large piggy bank named Ursula, who is wearing a ring of flowers. Another pig, Pearl, has flowers painted all over her. She also created a bowl with rabbits running around the inside and large carrots.

Another entry for the show will be a vase created by Arlene Link of Front Royal, said Kupiszewski. The potter cut out forms so the vase looks like a tree trunk from the outside and has leaves at the top. “On the inside, she has placed a little animal in a scene in the middle of a forest.”

Another piece by potter Aurelie Schmid of Frederick County is a watering can with a tree carved in intricate detail into the outside of it, Morgan said.

The pottery pieces will be displayed on pedestals around the gallery in conjunction with the gallery’s Youth Art Month exhibit. Kupiszewski thinks the combination is wonderful.

“In a sense, we are bringing out our own childlike self,” she said. “We are trying to lower our inhibitions as far as what we are putting out there.”

The Shenandoah Potters Guild was started in 1987 with a handful of participants and has grown to 40 members from Virginia and West Virginia, Kupiszewski said. Some of the group’s annual activities include the Strasburg Mayfest, the Empty Bowl Soup Supper, benefiting The Laurel Center, and a large holiday sale in Winchester.

For more information on the guild, go to shenandoahpottersguild.com.

Information

The Shenandoah Arts Council, 811 S. Loudoun St., will open “Flora and Fauna” Saturday and it will run through March 29. The exhibit is artwork by members of the Shenandoah Pottery Guild. A free reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. March 8.

For more information, contact 540-667-5166 or go to shenarts.org.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com