27th Annual Texas Clay Festival
Beautiful weather welcomed artists and tourists alike this weekend to the Annual Texas Clay Festival located in the popular Gruene Historical District of New Braunfuels. Strolling past the local antique store and hundred-year-old historic dance hall, I followed the rustic sign into a maize of white flowing tents, captivating ceramics, and eager crowds of art enthusiasts. As the day progressed the crowds got thicker, and the bundles of wrapped treasures under their arms got heavier.
The festival featured eighty ceramic artists from all over Texas. Clusters of art lovers filled each booth, buying and admiring each unique clay piece. Demonstrations of hand forming, glazing techniques, and forming on the wheel were conducted throughout the day under four different tents. Some of the highlighted artists included, Lisa Orr, from Austin, with her expressive one of a kind pieces displaying her world acclaimed, exotic glazing technique. Another outstanding artist, Karen Walker, displayed her imaginative sculpture pieces, that were hand built using coil and slab techniques, featuring sculptures that incorporated porcelain doll faces into creative forms of work, attracting curious onlookers, as well as experienced clay professionals. Farther down my walk I encountered the colorful wood fired pottery mugs and bowls of David Henley. Henley is known mostly for his colorful glazes and slips that contrast to the natural color of the clay surfaces. Not far from his display was the tent for the Eye of the Dog center, a popular art space located between San Marcos and Austin, where many local clay artists have studios. Featured within the display were dog inspired sculptures, hand crafted pet bowls, and freshly baked dog biscuits for the spectator’s pets. Yes, the festival is pet friendly.
Other items for purchase at the festival included porcelain earrings, bird feeders, Christmas ornaments, plant holders, lamps, and whimsical creatures of fun created by various artists. I myself purchased various Christmas gifts and a one of a kind tumbler from Lisa Orr. As an enthusiastic ceramics student I learned a lot about new ceramics techniques and will be sure to attend the festival in the coming years. If ever you get a chance to go to the Texas Clay Festival in Gruene Texas be sure to make an appearance, it is well worth the drive.