Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Visit Philly: The Clay Studio

Let it be known that I am not arty and I am not the girl who could get lost in a museum for hours. To be honest, I was initially visiting The Clay Studio to purchase a one of a kind mug because, as you know from Instagram, I'm into coffee mugs and I was interested in having one that was not mass produced. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by what I found at The Clay Studio.

It felt accessible. While I marveled at the skill that's obvious in the pieces I saw, I didn't feel overwhelmed or art stupid. I've been to museums and wandered around thinking I'm pretty sure I should be feeling some sort of way about this art but I'm mostly feeling hungry for the meal I was promised after this. 

That didn't happen at The Clay Studio. All the good feelings applied to my visit: interested, engaged, laid back. I think it helped that the gallery bright and open, not too large or too full. I could get close to the pieces, move well around the space, look at the pieces from a lot of angles, and even interact with one that had a moving component. I didn't feel overwhelmed. I took my time, walked around, and enjoyed myself. When I visited, pieces from the Marge Brown Kalodner Graduate Student Exhibition were up. My three favorites from that exhibition:

1. I visited the day my fuck it phase blog was posted so I bonded with this piece immediately. It's called Noise by Kelly Stevenson from Georgia State University and was my very favorite in the whole place.
2. This spoke to the organizer, categorizer, and collector in me. This is called Inventory of Value and is by Julia Six of the Tyler School of Art here in Philly. If I had a place to display this in my current home, I would have purchased it in a heartbeat.
3. I kept going back to stare at this one, called King Fisher by Benjamin Lambert from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
Then you have the shop. It's laid out well - bright, clean, colorful, and lovely - and invites you to touch, to open, to want to possess. I limited myself to a mug (Jack Pardue) and a vase (Jennifer Martin), but that plate down there? I want it. And I will be returning, not only to see new exhibitions, but because The Clay Studio has some cool stuff going on.
Some upcoming events:

1. Date night - this doesn't have to be with your partner. It can be with your mom, your best friend, your coworker. Hell, it can be you by yourself. It's twice a month from 7-9 p.m. and it's $35/pp for non-members. You get to throw on the pottery wheel like you're Demi Moore in Ghost except with your clothes on and in public. Beer, wine, light snacks, clay, and tools are included. You have the option to have them glaze, fire, and ship your stuff to you for an additional $10. For dates and to register, click here. They book up quickly so get on it!

2. First Friday - this Friday from 5-8 you can throw on a pottery wheel and be right in the thick of things. Not just this Friday though - The Clay Studio participates monthly in First Friday - for more info on First Friday, click here.

3. Clay Fest on Saturday, September 12 - This is right before my vacation, so I can't be there but I hope you can. Free community festival with Handcrafted Ice Cream Social, live raku firing, wheel battles (studio artists go head to head in a battle on the pottery wheel), music, and more. Everything gets started at 10 a.m.

There's so many other things going on there (classes, tours and demonstrations for groups, summer Clay Camps for kids, etc). You should really check it out and throw it some love...get it? Throw pottery? Throw it some love? Come on. Philly masquerades as all Rocky and cheesesteaks all the time, but we also have a great art scene and I'm not just talking about those little Parkway museums like the Barnes, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or the Rodin Museum (to name a few). I for one should take advantage of it more.

The Clay Studio Particulars
Please double check on the website or call for more details - I cobbled my info together on my own! 
Website: www.theclaystudio.org
137-139 North Second Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Hours: 11a-6p Monday through Saturday, Noon - 6p on Sundays. The Clay Studio is also open from 5p-9p the first Friday of every month for First Friday.

Free to enter, but donations are accepted. If you go, please donate at least a dollar. Don't be a chump.
The Clay Studio is right next to Elfreth's Alley, so you can get a twofer out of the trip - a little history, a little art. If you're coming down from Center City, just hop on the Market Frankford Line and get off at 2nd Street, cross over Market and it's a few blocks down on the right. If you're driving, there are plenty of parking options but I think the studio will validate for the Parkominium lot at 231 N. Second Street, just north of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Other options for parking and directions from all areas can be found by clicking here.
Thanks to my friend Jen from high school for walking through the gallery and shop with me! It was a great way to spend a Tuesday lunch hour.

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  1. Clay art has always interested me. Beautiful pictures.

  2. I love different things like this and it always gives me ideas of what to do for a date night - which we have one very similar to this right across the street from me lol! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  3. i visit philly every year or two, so i love to add new places to visit to my list. looks like a great time!!

  4. That bird thing could give a person nightmares!!

    I love seeing places like this and often spend my time missing big city life when I read these posts.

  5. I really, really want to go to your city. This place looks cool. I hate paying $25 to look at art and then not get it. I like approachable art that's cheap and that I can take home with me if I so desire. I'm eyeing that blue-green pitchery vase thingy on the right.

  6. I am totally adding this on my places to visit for my next trip to Philly. I love visiting Philly, there is so much to do and so much history.

  7. this is awesome, i would definitely visit here too. and perfect that it's right next door to another place to visit!

  8. this actually looks interesting! i'm like you, thinking of my next meal and wondering why the art isn't wowing me. i like science and history museums, but art bores me. but art like this actually seems interesting. meanwhile, i want all the things in the shop.

  9. What a fun place to go! I have been feeling guilty that I have not done any exploring in Atlanta this summer. This kind of thing I love to do, a short but artsy commitment. I am really not into an all day museum trip. Looks fun!

  10. The next time we meet for lunch, I might have to take a little excursion over there as long as I'm not with the child who would a) be bored and b) probably break something.

    I typically don't get all the feels from art museums but looking at stuff like that is cool.

  11. This place looks so interesting!!!! I had to LOL at but I'm mostly feeling hungry for the meal I was promised after this....because that is how I feel in most art-y situations but I do love pretty pottery and stuff so I could totally appreciate that store. I can see some vases on display that I would totally purchase!

  12. Sounds like a cool little spot. That would be so hilarious if you showed up for date night by yourself! lol

  13. haha - that F it piece was made for you :)

  14. I love that the art is accessible to everyone since most art pieces, I can't afford!

  15. So much fun! We need a spot like this here that I could drag H to ;-)

  16. That plate is stunning. Those events sound like a great way to try something new and get an appreciation for the art on display. I can find art a little tricky to get into sometimes but if I understand some of the processes behind it, I'm much more likely to develop an appreciation!

  17. This is so much more than what I expected it to be when you first posted about it! What an interesting eclectic collection of pieces! Pinning for a visit to PHL

  18. What a cool local shop. I love museums that aren't too crowded and overwhelming.

  19. I wish I'd known about this place a couple of months ago when I was in Philadelphia ... It definitely sounds like my kind of thing! (Though I am admittedly that artsy girl who loves spending hours in a museum.)

  20. And right down the alley, Quarry Street, visit The Center for Art in Wood


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