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Peterborough

‘Drawn to Clay’

Sharon Arts Center

  • "Apron," by Patsy Belt, and "Journal Entry," by Alan Steinburg, are two of the clay sculptures on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    "Apron," by Patsy Belt, and "Journal Entry," by Alan Steinburg, are two of the clay sculptures on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)



    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)


    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • "Twins" by Loring Cheney.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    "Twins" by Loring Cheney.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • "Flock of Owls," is a collection of pottery pieces, some sculptural and other functional vases like those seen here, submitted to the N.H. Potter's Guild's Biennial Exhibit at the Sharon Arts Gallery by artist Kim Cunningham.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    "Flock of Owls," is a collection of pottery pieces, some sculptural and other functional vases like those seen here, submitted to the N.H. Potter's Guild's Biennial Exhibit at the Sharon Arts Gallery by artist Kim Cunningham.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • "Hanging Rain Chain," by Shana Brautigam hangs in the Sharon Arts Gallery.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    "Hanging Rain Chain," by Shana Brautigam hangs in the Sharon Arts Gallery.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • "Fighting Fire with Words," a clay sculptural piece by James Mitschmyer of Sharon, won "Best in Show" in an exhibit of work by the N.H. Potter's Guild now at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    "Fighting Fire with Words," a clay sculptural piece by James Mitschmyer of Sharon, won "Best in Show" in an exhibit of work by the N.H. Potter's Guild now at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • "Fighting Fire with Words," a clay sculptural piece by James Mitschmyer of Sharon, was one of the pieces to win "Best in Show" at the Sharon Arts' current exhibition of work by the N.H. Potter's Guild.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    "Fighting Fire with Words," a clay sculptural piece by James Mitschmyer of Sharon, was one of the pieces to win "Best in Show" at the Sharon Arts' current exhibition of work by the N.H. Potter's Guild.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • "Untitled Figure," by Eleonora Lecei is one of the largest pieces submitted to the Sharon Arts Gallery's current exhibit featuring clay sculptures.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    "Untitled Figure," by Eleonora Lecei is one of the largest pieces submitted to the Sharon Arts Gallery's current exhibit featuring clay sculptures.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • "Woman," and "Summit," are two pieces submitted by Elain Dechirico to the N.H. Potter's Guild's exhibit at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    "Woman," and "Summit," are two pieces submitted by Elain Dechirico to the N.H. Potter's Guild's exhibit at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Karrie Mitschmyer, 31, of Sharon talks about "Tree Bottle," one of her pieces now on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Karrie Mitschmyer, 31, of Sharon talks about "Tree Bottle," one of her pieces now on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • James Mitschmyer, 31, of Sharon speaks about his works, "You Don't Get a Refund if You Over Pray," pictured to his left, and "Fighting Fire with Words." Mitschmyer's pieces won Best in Show at the N.H. Potter's Guild's Biennial Exhibit, "Drawn to Clay," currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    James Mitschmyer, 31, of Sharon speaks about his works, "You Don't Get a Refund if You Over Pray," pictured to his left, and "Fighting Fire with Words." Mitschmyer's pieces won Best in Show at the N.H. Potter's Guild's Biennial Exhibit, "Drawn to Clay," currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • James Mitschmyer, 31, of Sharon speaks about his works, "You Don't Get a Refund if You Over Pray," pictured to his left, and "Fighting Fire with Words." Mitschmyer's pieces won Best in Show at the N.H. Potter's Guild's Biennial Exhibit, "Drawn to Clay," currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    James Mitschmyer, 31, of Sharon speaks about his works, "You Don't Get a Refund if You Over Pray," pictured to his left, and "Fighting Fire with Words." Mitschmyer's pieces won Best in Show at the N.H. Potter's Guild's Biennial Exhibit, "Drawn to Clay," currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • "Apron," by Patsy Belt, and "Journal Entry," by Alan Steinburg, are two of the clay sculptures on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery.<br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • "Twins" by Loring Cheney.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • "Flock of Owls," is a collection of pottery pieces, some sculptural and other functional vases like those seen here, submitted to the N.H. Potter's Guild's Biennial Exhibit at the Sharon Arts Gallery by artist Kim Cunningham.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • "Hanging Rain Chain," by Shana Brautigam hangs in the Sharon Arts Gallery.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • "Fighting Fire with Words," a clay sculptural piece by James Mitschmyer of Sharon, won "Best in Show" in an exhibit of work by the N.H. Potter's Guild now at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • "Fighting Fire with Words," a clay sculptural piece by James Mitschmyer of Sharon, was one of the pieces to win "Best in Show" at the Sharon Arts' current exhibition of work by the N.H. Potter's Guild.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • "Untitled Figure," by Eleonora Lecei is one of the largest pieces submitted to the Sharon Arts Gallery's current exhibit featuring clay sculptures.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • "Woman," and "Summit," are two pieces submitted by Elain Dechirico to the N.H. Potter's Guild's exhibit at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Karrie Mitschmyer, 31, of Sharon talks about "Tree Bottle," one of her pieces now on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Karrie and James Mitchmeyer of Sharon both submitted works to Sharon Arts Center's "Drawn to Clay" exhibit, with James winning Best in Show for his two pieces.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • James Mitschmyer, 31, of Sharon speaks about his works, "You Don't Get a Refund if You Over Pray," pictured to his left, and "Fighting Fire with Words." Mitschmyer's pieces won Best in Show at the N.H. Potter's Guild's Biennial Exhibit, "Drawn to Clay," currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • James Mitschmyer, 31, of Sharon speaks about his works, "You Don't Get a Refund if You Over Pray," pictured to his left, and "Fighting Fire with Words." Mitschmyer's pieces won Best in Show at the N.H. Potter's Guild's Biennial Exhibit, "Drawn to Clay," currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

For Karrie Mitschmyer of Sharon, working in clay is the epitome of creative expression.

“Clay is a special kind of medium. It is a medium you can work in the same way you could almost any other art material. You can treat the surface like a painting if you want to, you can sculpt it with your hands, you can hammer it, you can texturize it. It’s got all of these different qualities through all the different stages,” said Mitschmyer, a member of the N.H. Potter’s Guild and a Sharon Arts Center instructor.

Through August, Sharon Arts is hosting the guild’s biennial member’s exhibition. The exhibit features 57 New Hampshire artists, all members of the Potter’s Guild. Each artist had the opportunity to submit up to two works, either sculptural or functional, celebrating their love of the clay medium. The theme of this year’s exhibit is “Drawn to Clay.”

For husband and wife Karrie Mitschmyer, 31, and James Mitschmyer, 31, their love of clay extends back to their school days, when they attended Mascenic Regional High School in New Ipswich. Karrie recalled wanting to take ceramics there, but preferred to hone her abilities before turning out work in front of her friends. So as a birthday present, her father paid for her to take a class at Sharon Arts. Clay has been Karrie’s medium of choice ever since. When she first entered college, she intended to dedicate her time to metals in order to become a jewelry designer, but she also continued her work with clay. When it came time to choose a major, her love of clay ultimately won out.

“The thing I love the most about clay is how uncontrollable and unpredictable it can be sometimes. Even if you think you have just the right form and just the right glaze, in the firing something happens and you have to release it, and in the end it turns into what it wants to be.”

James, who has been working with clay for as long as Karrie, holds the opposite view. Although he’s not completely tied to clay, mixing other materials such as metal, wood and concrete together in his clay works, he’s been working with the substance so long he has an integral understanding of how it works and what he can really do with the medium.

“I’ve had enough time working with it that I feel I have a mastery over it,” he said. “I have a really deep understanding of the material properties.”

Both works submitted by James, which won him Best in Show for the exhibit, are patterned-tiled pieces inspired by Islamic and Moorish traditions. “Fighting Fire with Words” employs a print pattern of Malala Yousafzai — a young Pakistani girl who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for making YouTube videos in which she advocated education for women — silk-screened onto clay. The story has really inspired him, said James, especially as he and Karrie are expecting their first child — a daughter — in September.

“I looked at her as such a hero,” he said. “It’s a child saying, ‘This feels wrong, and this should be my right.’ It’s unbelievable that people like that exist. Karrie and I will have a daughter in a couple of months and nowhere in my mind could I conceive of her not being able to be educated, or not being able to drive a car. And there’s someone that’s so young, fighting for that. That’s amazing.”

His other submission, “You Don’t Get a Refund if You Over Pray,” is also inspired by the conflict in the Middle East, and America’s involvement..

“Almost my entire life, we’ve been at war as a country, but it’s not fought here. It’s hidden a lot of the time,” he said. “It’s mentioned on the news from time to time, but it’s certainly not on the top of everyone’s mind all the time, as it would be on the other end of things.”

“You Don’t Get a Refund if You Over Pray” was inspired by the unbelievable craftsmanship that went into some of the mosques that have been destroyed during the Middle East conflict over the years.

“Part of not only their culture, but a kind of global culture is lost through the destruction of this beauty,” James said.

Karrie’s submitted works are both pieces of pottery she completed while teaching classes at the Sharon Arts Center, she said. Both are examples of the kind of intricate surface work that clay can yield. “Bridge Vase” depicts an arched stone bridge around the neck of the vase. The design is a reflection of a desire for connection with her husband, as he spends a lot of time earning his post-graduate degree.

“I really liked the idea of a bridge, and how it connects two things together, especially because my husband has been in graduate school for the past two years, and we have to commute to see each other. I always feel like we’re trying to connect over long distances. The bridge is sort of a metaphor for my relationship right now.”

Her other submitted work, “Tree Bottle,” shows a tree with sprawling, thin-limbed branches. As a teacher, Karrie said, she must as a necessity switch up her artistic style quite often, but detailed surface work like the two pieces in this exhibit, is what she uses when she really wants a piece to have a strong personality.

“If it’s a piece that I want to convey a message, or a piece that I want to put a little more of myself in, I’ll definitely use surface work,” she said.

The Sharon Arts Gallery in downtown Peterborough will display the exhibit through Aug. 31. The exhibit is free. For more information on the N.H. Potter’s Guild, see
www.nhpottersguild.com.

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