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Clay Mix exhibit conveys homey atmosphere

The Fresno Arts Council sponsors ArtHop, an event which educates the community about the local arts. In this column, freshman Ryan King chronicles his twice-a-month visits to ArtHop.

After getting lost in the downtown area of Fresno, I found my way to the first ArtHop of the month, Nov. 3. Through the strange and unknown streets of this area, I circled around my destination until stumbling upon Clay Mix, which opened in 2008 by owner Ritsuko Miyazaki and is currently one of two clay galleries in the Central Valley.

It was hard to find an ArtHop like Clay Mix in Fresno due to it’s seclusion from the central part of downtown Fresno. The gallery was located in an area surrounded by a lot of industrial factories with a mix of residential homes. Coming in, I felt like it was a close-knit gallery because of its friendly and approachable environment.

There was a substantial amount of people there, but still not too many to feel unwelcome at the gallery. As I walked in, I saw a caption on the door stating, “where earth becomes art,” making a fun point that gestured towards the clay art. Not only were the surroundings comfortable to me, but Miyazaki was really kind and showed me around her gallery.

Miyazaki also introduced me to Mary Camin, who was the featured artist for this ArtHop. As I talked with Camin, she informed me of her interest in clay that has lasted over 30 years. According to Camin, her inspiration comes from nature around her, such as her garden.

I found out from Camin that clay is one of the most time-consuming arts due to the amount of all the procedures involved, which range from shaping and glazing to firing and painting.

I really liked the clay pieces I saw because they spanned from cultural plates to cups and colorful bowls. There were so many types of pottery that even though I just scanned through the art, I had to take some time and analyze the different pieces.

One of my favorite pieces, called “Genii?s Home,” created by Jim Romberg, really caught my attention because of it’s difference from all the other art in the room. Although every art piece was different, this one caught my eye because of its conceptual appearance.

Genii’s Home looked like a ship at one angle, but, in another, the piece seemed to take the shape of a vase. I stared at this piece for a while because of its curious ship-like look.

This ArtHop was nice in a insouciant way, but well-prepared because there was so much art in the room. I felt like I got a well-rounded idea of what the artists’ personalities were, even if I didn’t talk to them. As I peeked into the workshop, I saw a mat that said “Got dirt?” It was things like this that gave the entire gallery a homey feel.

For more information about Camin’s ceramics read her blog, Clay Plant.

For more information about ArtHop, read the Oct. 26 article,
Exhibit provides rare glimpse into artistry.

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