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The salt-and-pepper shaker set called Picasso-Goat by Ron Koehn won the Schuyler Cone Award of Distinction. It is on display in the Starbrick Clay National Salt & Pepper Shaker Show at the Starbrick Gallery in Nelsonville. (Erin Corneliussen | Multimedia Editor)

Nelsonville gallery showcases art in ordinary objects

Nelsonville’s Starbrick Gallery is looking to use its newest exhibit to add a bit of spice to the world of ceramic art.


The gallery, located at 21 W. Columbus St. in Nelsonville, opened an exhibit July 27 centered on decorative ceramic salt-and-pepper shakers. The show is set to come to a close Tuesday night.


This event is part of the area’s Final Fridays on Nelsonville’s Public Square, where businesses and shops stay open late on the last Friday of every month except December to feature special art events.


The decision to center an exhibit on something as ordinary as salt-and-pepper shakers was a deliberate one, said Sue Hazen, one of the gallery’s employees.


“We wanted to take something that is so mundane and show the art behind it,” she said. “It’s exciting to see such an everyday item and create an entire exhibit around it.”


The exhibit features shakers from several different artists from throughout the country, many of whom work solely with ceramics.


“I am interested in using texture, color and pattern to unite aspects of the everyday functional and formal environment with more informal, rhythmic and ornamental aesthetic,” said Ann Ruel, one of the artists showcased at the event. “In doing so, the pottery explores the importance of aesthetics in our daily lives.”


Ruel isn’t the only artist who finds the simplicity of kitchenware to be the perfect canvas. Molly Uravitch, another featured artist, said that she enjoys creating simple, everyday pieces that have a special meaning.


“My functional works are simple forms,” she said. “I find that bowls, cups and plates are excellent vehicles to display carved patterns and shapes which express a personal narrative as well as ornamentation.”


Though this was the first time for the event, those involved with Starbrick Gallery said they have found great success while showcasing the art.


“This has been a great event for us,” Hazen said. “It’s close to the end of its time, and most pieces have sold, so that’s really exciting.”

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