The kilns have been fired, and Holly Horan and John Pluta of Noon Whistle Pottery are ready for this weekend’s fifth annual Virginia Clay Festival.
The event will feature 35 potters, sculptors and jewelers from across Virginia and all items are made with clay. While all artists are from Virginia, Pluta said each artist has their own unique style.
“It’s really high-quality art made from clay. You have a chance to talk to the artists and see them demonstrate how they make their work,” Horan noted.
Stanardsville will be the site of the rain-or-shine event this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21 and 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in and around the William Monroe Middle School gym. In addition, the two-day festival will feature live music, food trucks and demonstrations every hour between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Door prizes will be raffled off every hour. From butter dish making to raku-firing, Pluta recommends all attendees make time for a couple demonstrations.
“Some of the potters throw really big pieces and they use torches as part of the drying process,” he said.
“The Raku demonstrations are a whole lot of fun, too,” Horan added.“That’s firing pots and there’s lots of smoke and fire and steam going on with the Raku demonstrations. Blue Ridge Pottery runs those.”
Greene County Economic Development and Tourism Director Alan Yost anticipates the event to draw in between 2,500-3,000 people over the weekend, with two-thirds of visitors coming from outside of Greene County.
“It’s a significant event because we are getting a number of people coming in. Roughly a third of them are coming from surrounding counties, a third of them are local residents and another third are even beyond that,” Yost said. “We now have people starting to come back from other states just for this event. A majority are coming in for the day and being exposed to Greene County and what we have to offer.”
Admission and parking to the festival are free. Since the school complex was undergoing construction during last year’s festival, attendees can expect more and better parking options this year.
For a full schedule of events and a complete listing of all featured artists, visit www.virginiaclayfestival.com.