Potters fired up at Dover Art League

Submitted photo Robert Johnson of Salisbury, Maryland received a check for $1,000 for taking first place in the Best in Show category at the first Regional Potters Exhibit at Dover Art League. From left, Dover Art League President Phyllis Shier; Dion Williams, CEO and president, Del-One Federal Credit Union; Mr. Johnson; his wife, Sarah Halcott; and Cathy Gregory, Dover Art League treasurer. (Submitted photo)

Submitted photo
Robert Johnson of Salisbury, Maryland received a check for $1,000 for taking first place in the Best in Show category at the first Regional Potters Exhibit at Dover Art League. From left, Dover Art League President Phyllis Shier; Dion Williams, CEO and president, Del-One Federal Credit Union; Mr. Johnson; his wife, Sarah Halcott; and Cathy Gregory, Dover Art League treasurer. (Submitted photo)

DOVER – Clay creations from all over the region are on display at the Dover Art League as part of the league’s first Regional Potters Exhibit until June 19.

More than 30 potters entered the competition, all vying for a prize of $1,000 for Best in Show and a $500 prize for People’s Choice, both sponsored by Del-One.

“We have one of the only pottery studios in the area. Other art leagues in the state have them and some potters work independently so we wanted to see what the area has to offer and what other potters do,” James Ulry, a potter, former university pottery instructor and current Dover Art League pottery instructor said.

The Art League, at 21 Loockerman St,, decided a cash prize would provide an incentive for a wide range of artists to enter. Of the works entered, the winner of Best in Show was a large inverted jug entitled “Terra Incognita” created by Robert Johnson of Salisbury, Maryland.

The entries were judged by Sally Van Orden, a university art teacher of 27 years.

The work "Terra Incognita" won first place in Dover Art League's Regional Potters Exhibit. (Submitted photo)

The work “Terra Incognita” won first place in Dover Art League’s Regional Potters Exhibit. (Submitted photo)

Mr. Johnson was announced as the grand prize winner on May 1 at the debut of the competition.

“Terra Incognita” was made with two pieces of clay, fused together on a pottery wheel, but the finish on the large jug is unusual.

“It isn’t a glaze. The colors are actually burned into the surface at a low temperature,” he said.

“I used an acid and salt wash on the surface, then fired it. I like to experiment and try out a lot of different techniques.”

Mr. Johnson is self-taught and first got into pottery nine years ago while his wife, Sarah Halcott, was taking an art class and brought clay home one day after class to work on a project.

“I played around with it a bit and used some of the resources at Salisbury University and ended up falling in love with it,” he said.

Mr. Johnson and his wife’s shared interest led to the two creating a home studio that also includes space for woodwork, metal work and glass blowing.

The pair’s additional work can be seen at their studio’s website, amusedstudios.org.

“I think we had a lot of very professional work in the competition,” Mr. Ulry said. “Some of the pieces submitted were by people who have been working in pottery for 40 or 50 years.”

Voting is still ongoing for the People’s Choice and a winner will be announced June 17.

“I think now that the word is out about our competition, there will be even more entries next year,” Mr. Ulry said.

All entries remaining are on sale to the public ranging in price from $30 to $3,000.

The Dover Art League will be open tonight for First Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.; Tuesday from noon to 4 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m. 2 p.m. It is closed on Monday.

For more information about Dover Art League, call 674-0402 or visit doverart.org.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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