Historic Bear’s Mill will be hosting their 2nd annual “Soup n’ Bowl” fundraising event in the gallery at the Mill on Saturday, March 23. This event will feature handmade bowls created by artists who are donating their work to benefit The Friends of Bear’s Mill, Inc. non-profit organization. Potters Julie Clark, Dionne Fleming, Rita Wiley, and Loretta Wray will craft unique stoneware bowls of varying sizes and styles, featuring a variety of glazes. Each “Soup n’ Bowl” participant is entitled to a stoneware bowl as well as to supper, which includes soup, bread, drink, and dessert.
Each of the participating potters brings a unique sensibility to the craft, as well as an appreciation for Bear's Mill and it's heritage. Resident Bear's Mill artist Julie Clark has lived and worked at the historic site for over thirty years, and is inspired by the beauty and heritage which surrounds her. However, Julie also enjoys the challenge and allure of contemporary design; her artistic pairing of these disparate elements helps her work remain relevant as well as highly regarded even as it changes and evolves.
Rita Wiley, a teacher who lives in Indianapolis, started producing pottery with Ms. Clark even before Julie and her husband Terry moved to Bear's Mill; the friends share basic motivations and values, and have formed a working relationship which fulfills their artistic goals and reinforces their basic creative bond. Rita finds a purity of purpose in utilizing the universal elements – earth, air, fire, and water - to construct pieces which are aesthetically appealing, yet useful, an ideal in keeping with the spirit of Bear's Mill.
Loretta Wray also appreciates the Mill's connection with nature and the past, elements which are also inherent to the graceful yet functional pieces she creates. The Troy native feels a relationship with those who purchase her pottery, and wants those people to also experience that connection which reaches past the artist to the earth from which the clay pieces are formed.
Shortly after Versailles resident Dionne Fleming began working at the Mill store several years ago, she was invited into Julie Clark's studio where she honed her innate skills to become a colleague to her mentor. “I watch Di's raw talent grow each day that she works in the studio,” Ms. Clark proudly stated. Dionne produces work which emphasizes simple, natural shapes and surfaces while exploring the endless possibilities offered by clay as a creative medium.
Roots musician Brian Keith Wallen will provide entertainment at “Soup 'n' Bowl” performing songs from the folk, bluegrass, jazz, and blues traditions. Soup is donated by The Bistro Off Broadway in Greenville, and bread will be provided by Troy's Bakehouse Bread and Cookie Company.
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