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Get Your Mud On!

What has 878 artists in 160 exhibitions at 122 venues? In Baltimore it's called Tour de Clay. Billed as "the largest visual arts program ever held in the country" (does size really matter?), the event was launched last night at the Baltimore Clayworks galleries and newly renovated and expanded studios.

Clayworks began way back in 1980, started by 9 artists (mud lovers, as am I). The original building was a beautiful decommissioned public library, in the Mount Washington area of Baltimore City, that was granted to the artists on the strength of their proposal for the property. Time has flown by and Clayworks has become a great success. I can remember firing my first attempts in clay in the big gas-fired kiln, and many other artists have been nurtured by this studio.

The 122 venues that are part of this exhibit are spread around the city, in schools, museums, and office buildings, with a variety of lectures and educational components. The annual ACC (American Craft Council) winter market starts this week also and will play a hand in the festivities. From what I've seen so far, the exhibits cover a wide range from traditional and functional to conceptual (image shown, "Gathering", Richard Cleaver) and with some very beautiful glazing. Here's mud in your eye! (Sorry.)

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