BY LENNIE BENNETT
Times Art Critic
Wheels will be turning this weekend during the fifth annual Tour de Clay: Your car wheels, of course, as you meander through Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties, visiting ceramics studios that will have lots of pottery wheels spinning, too.
This year, the Florida West Coast Ceramic Society members, who organize the tour, have pared the number of studios to five so visitors and shoppers have more time to visit all of them.
Why go to all?
For potters, they're like Christmas, Hanukkah and birthday rolled into one when the big high-heat slow cookers are opened to reveal a surprise: Did the vessels survive the process to emerge with beautiful (and sometimes surprising) glazes? Or did they explode into a mass of shards?
The studios are open on Saturday and Sunday with demonstrations on both days but kiln openings are only on Saturday, with times staggered so you can be there for any or all of them. The studio owners have invited guest potters to participate so work by a total of 24 will be on view. A party beginning Saturday afternoon at San Antonio Pottery, after the 5 p.m. kiln opening, features live music and refreshments.
Pottery Boys Studio, 30 Bogie Lane, Palm Harbor. (727) 736-4870.
Kiln opening at 9 a.m.
Owners Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand will be joined by Cory McCrory, Andy Smith and William Kidd.
Clay and Paper, 110 Peterson Lane, Palm Harbor. (727) 772-9570.
Kiln opening at 10:30 a.m.
Owner Ira Burhans will be joined by Alan Bennett and Vadim Malkin.
Hidden Lake Pottery, 16705 Hutchinson Road, Odessa. (813) 920-4341.
Kiln opening at 2 p.m.
Owners Kim Kirchman and Mark Fehl will be joined by Chuck McGee, LC McGee, Kimberli Cummings and Jonathan Barnes.
Wellman and Welsch Pottery, 17202 Whirley Road, Lutz. (813) 961-7106.
Kiln opening at 3 p.m.
Owners Harry Welsch and Kim Welman will be joined Peter and Joshua Streit, Scott Aubrey and John Kellum.
San Antonio Pottery, 11903 Curley Road, San Antonio. (352) 588-4228.
Kiln opening at 5 p.m.
Owner Jack Boyle will be joined by McKenzie Smith, Michele Ginouves and Susan Livingston.