Artist Audrey Kay Dowling participating in Pottery Tours

“Crow Guarding the Spring Garden” by Audrey Kay Dowling.

Studio to studio pottery tours have been initiated in numerous parts of the United States. Since there is an ongoing desire on the part of the general public to own and give objects that have been made by hand by creative individuals in their own region, such pottery tours have become quite successful.

Chautauqua Area Potters, a community of local folks that work with clay, are offering the public an inaugural Pottery Studio Tour on Oct. 20 – 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public will get to meet the artists and several guest potters in seven different locations.

One of those artists participating is Audrey Kay Dowling, an artist fascinated with the potential of clay for over 45 years. “As a young child, I got my first introduction to clay from the banks of Bemus Creek, which flowed through our backyard. I didn’t get any real training with clay until I was an art student at SUNY New Paltz many years later. I have stayed with using clay, along with other art mediums, as a means of expressing myself artistically ever since,” she said.

After teaching and running Portage Hill Art Gallery for many years, Audrey took the opportunity to further expand her knowledge by participating twice in the summer clay program at Alfred University. There she was able to totally immerse herself in many possibilities of working with clay and firing options.

Audrey’s work is primarily autobiographical. Being raised in the country gave Audrey a deep appreciation of the woods and trees, the flower gardens planted and tended by her English parents, the flying birds and all forms of water. Having been a sailor and canoeist with her husband for many years has made Audrey very aware of the power and the forms that water can take. Her work reflects all of these varied inputs from the natural world.

Audrey has explored many forms of firing and many different clay bodies. Right now she is combining her love of drawing and painting with the clay process using primarily mid range stoneware and porcelain that she electric fires. In addition, she is exploring her love of form and creating her own glazes for pieces inspired by Lake Erie.

Audrey’s works are represented in many private collections, have been included in several national shows and featured in the 2015 Potter’s Council Calendar and published in “500 Vases” by Lark books.

Audrey welcomes all visitors to get out and enjoy the pottery trail! Audrey and her husband, Donald, invite people to explore Audrey’s use of clay on this special Chautauqua Area Pottery Tour weekend. The Dowlings will be serving free refreshments at their gallery and studio location, Portage Hill Art Gallery. It is located on Route 394, halfway between Mayville and Westfield.

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