'Grounded’ art show comes to Washington Avenue this weekend

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published June 8, 2016

 Steve Taggart’s clay bird houses were among some of the functional artwork on display during the 2015 Clay, Glass & Metal Show. This year’s show will take place June 11-12 on Washington Avenue in downtown Royal Oak.

Steve Taggart’s clay bird houses were among some of the functional artwork on display during the 2015 Clay, Glass & Metal Show. This year’s show will take place June 11-12 on Washington Avenue in downtown Royal Oak.

File photo by Donna Agusti


ROYAL OAK — For more than the past two decades, artisans specializing in clay, glass and metal have been filling Washington Avenue with their earthly creations.

“They are all created from dirt and earth, and they come from fire, so I like to think of it as a very grounded event,” said Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce Director of Events Jennifer Clark.

The 22nd annual Clay, Glass & Metal Show will take place 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, June 11, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 12, on Washington Avenue from Fourth Street to Lincoln Avenue.

The event, sponsored by the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, is a fine art show with juried artisans in attendance. There will be about 120 participants at the show from 13 states and Canada, including 23 new artists this year.

Clark said the show, with only the most skilled artisans selected to participate, includes only works of art created from the earth using heat and fire.

The rain-or-shine event is expected to exceed the more than 6,000 people who attended last year’s show.

“It’s a variety of unique artwork that is crafted by these artisans, and it’s just fun to see each year what they come up with,” Clark said.

In addition to browsing and purchasing works on display throughout the avenue, attendees may take home a handmade creation and observe artist demonstrations throughout the weekend.

“We have about a dozen different demonstrations and about a third of them actually have hands-on opportunities that you can create something with the artist and take it away,” Clark said. “Some of them have small fees associated with it just to cover materials and things of that nature.”

Demonstrations at this year’s show include metal forging, tile pressing and decorating, glass work, jewelry making, and a sculptor creating figurative pieces.

Clark said there will be opportunities for kids, including creating a bunny with a pipe cleaner, origami crane earrings and stained glass work to take home, for a small fee. There will also be opportunities to work with metal and to stop by the Friends of the Royal Oak Public Library booth to create a mosaic tile.

“Learning how it’s made helps us truly appreciate the artists’ works and their creations, and it can inspire future artists too,” Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shelly Kemp said in a statement. “It makes this show unique.”

As with past years, all attendees are invited to participate in the Path to Emagination Mosaic project at the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce booth, sponsored jointly by the Chamber and Emagine Royal Oak. Participants will be offered the chance to add a piece to the mosaic design as part of the ongoing community art project. The mosaic hangs in the Royal Oak Public Library during the rest of the year.

Event organizers also invite everyone to come hungry. Downtown eateries will be open along with food vendors at the event offering sweet and savory treats.

Some of the vendors participating in the show will include Tawas Bay Fudge Co., Mystic Kettle, Terry’s Tastee Treats, The Michigan Candy Company, Sunrise Noodle Co. and Trenton Concessions.   

The Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce booth will have a list of all the artists and their locations throughout the show footprint.

“This kind of event draws people who like art and people who like to look at art, but also there are items for $20 and items for $2,000, so it appeals to the collector as well as to the person who just wants to add something to their home,” Clark said.    Street closures will be limited to Washington Avenue and sections of Sixth Street. Washington Avenue between Fourth Street and Lincoln Avenue will close to traffic by 5 p.m. June 10 for artist and vendor setup. 

For more information, visit www.clayglassandmetal.com.