“Art at the Mill” will feature pottery by the Bear’s Mill potters as well as portraits by 28-year-old Botkins, Ohio resident Lindsay Cooper at an exhibit opening Friday, July 27 with a reception offering light appetizers and wine from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. According to Julie Clark, retail manager and gallery coordinator for the Mill as well as one of the participating artists, the potters theme “Jars, jars, jars!” has resulted in pieces of all sizes, shapes, and uses in a variety of glazes. Dionne Fleming, Rita Wiley, and Loretta Wray are the other ceramic artists whose work will be on display at this exhibit.
Julie Clark’s work includes a small collection of “granary jars” inspired by jars created during the ancient Han Dynasty which mimicked the look of silos and grain storage buildings. “Bear’s Mill is, of course, integrally connected with grain, piquing my interest in this particular form,” the artist remarked. “My livelihood in clay continues to be an exciting and challenging experience,” she concluded.
Salt Lake City native Dionne Fleming has been working with Julie Clark for several years, and is inspired by continually learning more about clay, firing, design, and form. “I work full time at an unrelated job; pottery is my creative outlet. Pottery fills my soul,” Ms. Fleming stated. She says that she enjoys that combination of art and function which clay offers.
After making pottery for 30 years, Ms. Wiley likewise continues to be intrigued that objects of beauty and usefulness can be produced by combining the basic ancient elements of earth, air, fire, and water with the touch of the human hand. “I find a purity of purpose in pieces that are aesthetically appealing and useful at the same time,” Ms. Wiley commented.
Loretta Wray, who built her own salt/soda kiln on a small farm near New Castle, Indiana, also enjoys making pieces that are functional and can be used on a daily basis. “I feel that handmade pottery connects us with nature and the past in a way that a plastic cup just can’t evoke,” Ms. Wray observed. She is drawn to simple, natural shapes and surfaces, and her work often has an appealing earthy look and feel.
Portrait artist Lindsay Cooper earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Bowling Green State University; she says that her goal is to capture the emotion behind the face she is painting. “I believe that creating a portrait is more than painting the physical likeliness of a person,” Ms. Cooper asserted. Her painting style has been termed “powerful and dramatic, leaving an impression that lingers for days, weeks, and even years.”
This exhibit will close Sunday, August 26. Currently on view at the Mill are wood sculptures by Richmond, Indiana artist Thomas Bartel and the realistic graphite drawings of Lynn Retson. “Art At the Mill” receives support from Darke County Endowment for the Arts; the exhibits are on view during regular Mill store hours, 11 a.m. till 5 p.m. daily. Historic Bear’s Mill is operated by 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 www.bearsmill.com.