Fellowship and Fire: Canterbury Chapel hosts works by local artists

Fellowship and Fire: Canterbury Chapel hosts works by local artists

Photo courtesy of Kiersten Ellis. 

On Friday night, “Fellowship and Fire” will fill the halls of Canterbury Chapel with a colorful array of vases, bowls, jewelry and other clay works of art. Though there won’t be much fire, there will be some works for sale. 

“It will feature clay works by local potters [myself], Jo Anne Gentine, Anne Franklin Lamar, Judith Wheeler, and Doris Blum,” Kiersten Ellis said. “The show will include refreshments and fellowship.”

Ellis, a graduate from the University of Alabama, started working with clay as an undergraduate. 

“I worked for a business called Down to Earth. The owner and several other ladies in the community would meet…to have a girls’ night. Myself and several other ladies were invited one girls’ night to Kerry's studio to make pottery,” Ellis said. “I enjoyed making pottery so much that I asked Kerry if she would be willing to take on an apprentice. I was a New College student so I worked up an independent study through their program and with Kerry willing she took me on as her apprentice.”

Ellis, who prefers to incorporate botanical elements in her work, does not create art solely for art’s sake. 

“I enjoy it because I am constantly learning and because I can create awareness for environmental conservation through my work,” Ellis said. “My inspiration stems from stewardship and a desire to protect and preserve the environment.”

One of the ways Ellis helps to protect the environment is the source of her clay, which she gets herself from Hurricane Creek.

“It promotes the new PARA park that the Friends of Hurricane Creek advocated for, as well as clean water and resources,” Ellis said. “I had an opportunity to learn [how to process clay] last fall from a local art instructor and I took it.”

Jo Ann Gentine, another artist who is presenting at the exhibit, started making pottery after taking a class in the 70s while living in Arizona. Gentine mostly makes utilitarian pieces like bowls and cups but likes to make ornamental pieces as well.

“I have my own studio as well as working at the clay co-op, and I do spend a lot of time at it. I love it because it is very relaxing and taking a big ball of clay and making something pretty and useful is very fulfilling,” Gentine said. “Clay is a fantastic medium because you can make so many different things from it, the possibilities are endless!”

The clay co-op Gentine mentioned was started a few years ago by Kentuck Art Center and has grown to 30 members.

“It is a clay cooperative where members can work with clay, working on the wheel, hand building and sculpting,” Gentine said. “We have great diversity in the skills and talents of these artists. Many of the members sell their pieces at various places and as a group we do a few art festivals each year. It is a wonderful community of artists sharing the love of pottery and their ideas with each other and the community…It is truly a happy place.”

The show lasts from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Canterbury Chapel on Feb. 26. 

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