So many festivals and art fairs! So little time to enjoy them all during our short summer! If you’re a pottery lover, here’s one to add to your do-not-miss list: the Minnesota Pottery Festival in Hutchinson July 28 and 29. It’s the largest all-pottery outdoor event in Minnesota, set on the bucolic grounds of the Clay Coyote Gallery & Pottery, overlooking Lake Todd, 30 acres of conservation prairie land, two ponds, and trails.
The work of 34 potters from across North America (Minnesota and nine other states) will be displayed for sale at the seventh annual gathering. Part of the mission of the nonprofit festival is to raise appreciation and understanding of the ceramic arts. That’s why it features educational and interactive events including a Pottery Olympics, in which blindfolded potters compete in heats to create the tallest cylinder and widest bowl, live raku firings both days, and a station where kids (of all ages) can get their hands into clay.
This year’s featured potter is Karin Kraemer of Duluth Pottery, who specializes in Maiolica pottery, an Italian tin-glazed pottery technique that dates from the Renaissance. She will demonstrate the technique both days of festival. “I enjoy working in pottery and tile, because they bring art to the table and everyday use,” says Kraemer. “Clay is a great medium for expression.”
The festival also promotes an emerging artist who is just beginning a clay career. This year, Aaron Becker of Plymouth, Minnesota received the honor. “I’m thrilled,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity to put my work out to a whole new audience of clay lovers. I’m really excited for the Pottery Olympics. In my own work, I combine thrown pieces with hand building. I’ve been practicing some of my techniques for the competition.”
Just an hour west of the Twin Cities, the Hutchinson festival is an easy day trip for clay lovers, families, and collectors. Admission and parking are free, and there are three complimentary electric vehicle-charging stations (one universal and two Tesla) and a golf cart shuttle available. Food and beverages for sale are provided by local favorites Crow River Winery and Red Cedar Farms. For more info and a full list of participating artists, see mnpotteryfestival.com.