The Art of Fire to heat up Royal Oak

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published June 5, 2018

 Ceramic artist Rebecca Kow, of Iowa City, Iowa,  demonstrates wheel throwing for Teddy Weyand, 3; Popi Weyand, 6; and Matilda Weyand, 7, of Royal Oak, during the  Royal Oak Clay, Glass & Metal Show last year. This year, the  event — rebranded as The Art of Fire — will take place June 9-10.

Ceramic artist Rebecca Kow, of Iowa City, Iowa, demonstrates wheel throwing for Teddy Weyand, 3; Popi Weyand, 6; and Matilda Weyand, 7, of Royal Oak, during the Royal Oak Clay, Glass & Metal Show last year. This year, the event — rebranded as The Art of Fire — will take place June 9-10.

File photo by Heather Gardner

 Jordan Reeves, of Detroit, demonstrates metalworking at the Royal Oak Clay, Glass & Metal Show in downtown Royal Oak last year.

Jordan Reeves, of Detroit, demonstrates metalworking at the Royal Oak Clay, Glass & Metal Show in downtown Royal Oak last year.

File photo by Heather Gardner

ROYAL OAK — The Clay, Glass & Metal Show that has been a downtown Royal Oak staple the last 23 years will return, reimagined, with a new moniker: The Art of Fire.

Given that all three mediums require heat and flame to craft, organizers opted for a jauntier name that will also come with more live demonstrations, music and entertainment this year.

The show will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 9, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 10, on Washington Avenue, from Fifth to Lincoln avenues.

More than 100 clay, glass and metal artists from around the country will come to present their wares and offer live demonstrations in three areas dedicated to each of the materials.

Shelly Kemp, executive director of the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, said the group wanted to breathe new life into the event and also target a younger crowd.

“With any kind of event, you have to rethink it once in a while,” Kemp said. 

She added that organizers tried to make this year’s show more Instagram-, Twitter- and Facebook-friendly with a designated hashtag, and a chamber intern designed a Snapchat filter for the fair.

“The last couple of years, we’ve had to move around because of construction. We had to move it to Fourth Street a few years ago, to Washington and then to Main Street.”

She said Washington Avenue is “home” for the show, and she is excited to have it return.

“The businesses, for the most part, enjoy us being on that street,” she said.

Each of the live demonstration areas for clay, metal and glass will feature musical components — some prerecorded and some live — and the artists will discuss their methods as they work, Kemp said.

In ramping up the fire element of the show, Kemp said the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority was helpful in securing fire performances at Fourth Street and Washington Avenue.

Additionally, she said, Oakland Community College, which has a location at Washington and Lincoln avenues, will have a display space for demonstrations and emerging artists.

“Royal Oak is very focused on art — it’s really important here,” she said.

The Art of Fire Artistic Coordinator Mark Loeb said the new name is indicative of the “exciting new experience fairgoers will have this year.”

“This year, we have many artists that are new to the show,” Loeb said in a statement. “Bringing a good assortment of new artists to the fair is an important aspect of our mission, so we are always offering art lovers exposure to new, inspired work as well as seeing the latest from beloved returning artists.”

For more information, visit www.artoffirero.com or call (248) 547-4000.