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The Region’s Great Clay Studios Are All Fired Up

Clay Way 2021

The kilns are stacked. The fires are roaring. The clay is baking.  Clay Way, the two-day fall extravaganza which traditionally coincides with autumn’s splendor, is back, and bigger than ever, according to organizers. The annual event, featuring tours of the great clay studios in Northwest Connecticut and beyond, is set for Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year visitors will have an opportunity to visit nine studios showcasing the works of a record-number of artists: 19. They include:  Amy Brenner (Wingdale, N.Y.) with guest Kathleen Heidemann; Joy Brown (South Kent, Conn.) with guests Deb Lecce, Naoko Ojio;  Jane Herold (West Cornwall, Conn.) with guests Alexandra FitzGerald, Steve Johnson; Ann Heywood (Wingdale, N.Y.); Drew Montgomery (Wingdale, N.Y.);  Christine Owen (Warren, Conn.) with guest Jessica Dubin; Alison Palmer (South Kent, Conn.) with guests Missy Stevens, Kathy Wismar; Todd Piker (Cornwall Bridge, Conn.) with guests Sanah Patersen, Kelly Potter; Will Talbot (Washington, Conn.).

According to Palmer, whose pottery studio is located in South Kent, the annual Clay Way tour has come a long way since its inception six years ago, and even a global pandemic didn’t put a damper on the popular event. “Ironically, our best year was the last. People needed to get out. We exhibited our work under controlled circumstances, and it was a huge success.”

As for the artists, noted Palmer, they are definitely fired up this year. She noted that the number of guest artists at each of the featured studios has been steadily growing.  “The artists are inviting more guests this year.”

She hinted that tour participants will be in for some great surprises. “Staying in their studios during this past year has inspired most of them to come up with some really exciting new work.”

Visit www.clayway.net for a tour map and list of participating artists.


By the Numbers: Clay Way at a Glance


9 studios throughout Litchfield County and Wingdale, N.Y., are participating in Clay Way 2021.

19 artists will be featured during the two-day event, a record number.

8 tons of hardwood fuel Joy Brown’s 30-foot-long anagama in Kent (shown in photo above) during a typical 7-day firing.

1,000+ degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature needed to turn clay into ceramic.

22 hours is the approximate time it takes to fire clay in a kiln, including 8 to 10 hours for the first, firing, or bisque fire, and a second, glaze firing which takes about 12 hours. The cooling period adds to the time.

2016 is the year Clay Way was launched on Columbus Day weekend.

— Debra A. Aleksinas

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