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Clay Play Day

Clay Play Day on Nov. 16 at Rivertown Pottery will provide a great hands-on experience.

I am a ceramic artist who has lived and worked in Winona for about 40 years.

You might have seen my sculptures around town and visited my studio on art tours. I learned to love working with my hands when I was a child, fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with my grandmother who taught me to sew, knit, crochet and garden.

My first entrepreneurial endeavor was to make and sell macramé hangers, but I did not have pots to put in them. When my husband traded a chimney sweeping job in exchange for a pottery wheel, my life changed.

I spun pots in a tiny bedroom while my babies napped and I fired my wares in a small electric kiln on the back porch and sold them at little craft shows.

That little venture transformed into a lifelong adventure in art: doing all kinds of art shows with my clay creations and toddlers in tow while meeting creative and inspiring artists all over the country.

My associates and I at Rivertown Pottery have shown our art at Renaissance festivals for more than 32 years in five states. We have participated in the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for 30 years.

Clay work inspired my interest in sculpting and, ultimately, to working in bronze.

I am honored to have five public installations of my bronze sculptures here in Winona: I created the heron for the Blue Heron Project, the otter fountains in Lake Park and two sculptures on the Winona State University campus.

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To share the joy of creating in clay, Rivertown Pottery is holding a free event, called Clay Play Day, at our studio at 252 E Sanborn St. on Saturday, Nov, 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Adults and children will have an opportunity to see the studio, create a piece of their own and shop in our gallery. Using my collection of texture tools, molds and lace, my assistants and I will demonstrate some hand building techniques and help guests build their creations. We will fire them and have a pickup time in December or arrange for shipping for a small fee.

Registration is through Eventbright.com. and listed there as Clay Play Day, or by going to our website, rivertownpottery.com and clicking on events.

There are two ticket types. The first type is the sculptor pass. This reserves an hour spot for those who want to get their hands dirty to create their own hand built piece in clay. Spaces are limited, so sign up right away to get a spot.

The second is the tour pass. This pass can be used at any time that day to tour our studio, check out the artwork and shop in our gallery. The tour pass will help us know how many people to expect, but you are welcome to come take the tour without a pass as well.

Clay Play Day is made possible through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The grant was awarded to Rivertown Pottery to update the website and to create an online store. In celebration of the new website launch, we are putting on this amazing capstone event.

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Lynette Power is a member of River Arts Alliance. For more information, visit riverartsalliance.org or on facebook.

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