>Pottery by Julie Clark, Loretta Wray, and Rita Wiley created around the theme “The Art of the Table: Form and Function” will be on display at historic Bear’s Mill from Friday, July 30 through Sunday, August 22. The three exhibiting artists will be guests of honor at an opening night reception; hours for the reception are 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.

For this “Art At the Mill” exhibit, the potters are making sets of dinnerware and accompanying serving pieces to be used at the table, as well as work that could be displayed decoratively in a dining room – wall pieces, vases, and jars. “This is the exhibit everyone familiar with Bear’s Mill has been eagerly awaiting,” said Mill Outreach Manager Becky Dynes. “So, for all those people who have been asking when we will have more pottery on our shelves, the answer is during the month of August,” she concluded.

Rita Wiley started making pottery thirty years ago, finding fulfillment in creating pieces that are aesthetically appealing but at the same time functional. “Since it was invented thousands of years ago, pottery has always been simultaneously visually pleasing and useful,” the Indianapolis resident explained. Her elegant, yet earthy pieces reflect this basic philosophy.

Loretta Wray also produces pottery that can be used on a daily basis, believing that her hand-made pieces create a connection between nature, the potter, and the people who purchase her work. “Drinking from a hand-made mug helps me to appreciate the beauty all around me,” she stated. She hopes that her pieces are enjoyed and used, rather than removed from the natural cycles of life and set up on a distant shelf.

Julie Clark, whose highly coveted clay pieces have attracted attention throughout the region, has resided on the Bear’s Mill property for 30 years. Julie says that the historical and natural setting inspires her creativity and informs her work. One of the reasons she still so enjoys her chosen livelihood is the element of chance involved when her thoughtfully crafted clay forms are placed in a kiln for firing. “One never knows for sure what the finished piece will look like; wood firing offers a natural finish that enhances form, but serendipity always plays an almost magical part in creating the finished product,” Mrs. Clark said.

“Art at the Mill” is on view during regular Mill store hours, 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and on Sundays, and 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The work of Christy Jennewein and Suzanne Ally, two painters with contrasting yet complementary styles, remains on display at the Mill through Sunday, July 25. Bear’s Mill is operated by The Friends of Bear’s Mill, a non-profit organization, and is located at 6450 Arcanum-Bear’s Mill Road about 5 miles east of Greenville. For more information, contact Bear’s Mill at 937-548-5112 or on the web at www.bearsmill.com

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