This weekend marks the 10th anniversary for the Tampa Bay Tour de Clay, which gets underway Saturday for a two-day jaunt through five clay studios in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties. Whether as a first-time experience or an annual pilgrimage, the tour offers travelers the opportunity to get out and support the artistic community and perhaps pick up a one-of-a-kind holiday gift.
The self-guided tour takes travelers on an artistic journey to working studios — some not generally open to the public — and promises an eclectic offering of functional, decorative and sculptural ceramic pieces, as well as a new stop this year at Schiemann Studio in St. Petersburg. Thirty-two artists from near and far will be exhibiting, so there's an opportunity see art work that might not otherwise be seen locally. Those who visit all five studios over one or two days, are welcome to pick up a "passport," and have it stamped at each stop to be entered in a drawing to win pottery pieces and other prizes.
As tradition would have it, there's an educational as well as altruistic element to the tour. Studio presentations and kiln openings will be staggered at various studios throughout the day, and artists will be on hand to talk about their techniques and inspiration. A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated to local charities and artistic organizations such as community radio station WMNF-88.5 FM, the Clearwater Clinic and the Residency Program at the Morean Center for Clay.
IF YOU GO
The 10th annual Tampa Bay Tour de Clay stops:
• Schiemann Studio, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 4545 8th Ave., South, St. Petersburg. Artists: Matt Schiemann, Kimberli Cummings, Casey McDonough, Kyle Carpenter, Kelsey Nagy.
• Pottery Boys Studio, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 30 Bogie Lane, Palm Harbor. Artists: Glenn Woods, Keith Herbrand, Fong Choo, Jennifer McCurdy, Jim and Shirl Parmentier. Ken Shields, Teresa Testa, Zan Barnes.
• Hidden Lake Pottery, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 16705 Hutchison Road, Odessa. Artists: Kim Kirchman, Mark Fehl, Jonathan Barnes, Chuck McGee, LC McGee, McKenzie Smith, Chandra DeBuse, Tommy Frank.
• Wellman and Welsch Pottery, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 17202 Whirley Road, Lutz. Artists: Harry Welsch, Kim Wellman, John Kellum, Carole Meier, Katherine Mathisen, Susan Bach
• San Antonio Pottery, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 11903 Curley St., San Antonio. Artists: Jack Boyle, Ira Burhans, Michele Ginouves, Alan Bennett, Bill Kidd, Tim Peters.
For more information, go to www.tampatourdeclay.com