Potter Melvin Rowe Demonstrates Hand-built Ceramics at KY Artisan

Mugs with sprig clay molded designs by Melvin Rowe.
Mugs with sprig clay molded designs by Melvin Rowe.

On Saturday, Sept. 13, studio potter Melvin Rowe will demonstrate his handbuilding and sprig mold techniques from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.

A native of Louisville, Rowe has been selling his functional stoneware since 1971. He has a bachelor’s degree in art from Western Kentucky University and a master’s degree from the University of Louisville. Rowe is the former director of the Metro Arts Center, taught ceramics at Spalding University and since 1981, has been successfully creating, retailing and wholesaling his work throughout the country.

In the early 1980s Rowe began his career as a full-time production potter. His work captures a love of whimsy and humor, and while his pieces are both wacky and colorful – they are a blend of both his skill on the potter’s wheel and his hand-building mastery.

For his demonstration Sept.13th, Rowe will press clay into clay and plaster “sprig” molds to achieve decorations that he will then apply to the surface of his wheel-thrown mugs and sculptures. This technique allows for raised and sculptural decorations to enhance his clay forms.

Rowe not only makes pottery, but has written numerous articles on marketing and sales for The Crafts Report, and articles on glazes for Ceramics Monthly magazine. He is a juried member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, past president of the Louisville Craftsmen’s Guild, and has participated in the Louisville Sister Cities program in Mainz, Germany.

Works by Rowe are regularly found at the Kentucky Artisan Center, located just off Interstate 75 at Berea, Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily, year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the cafe open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.

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