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West Tennessee Artists Bring Talent and High Craft to Middle Tennessee


Centennial Art Center Gallery hosts talented ceramic artists from East Mitchell Clay (EMC) and painter Abby Ruby from Humboldt, TN. The exhibit will open Monday, April 12 and remain on display through May 21, 2021. EMC is a community ceramics studio and teaching facility that provides a vibrant space for artists to work supporting each other in the exploration of techniques, collaboration, and exhibition of work. The artists in this exhibit are all affiliated in some way with East Mitchell Clay as teachers, artists in residence, interns, or studio artists.

Eric Botbyl, scraggle crackle cup

East Mitchell Clay proprietor, Eric Botbyl, curated this exhibit for Centennial Art Center Gallery. This collection includes the following artists: Andrew Clark, Lakyn Bowman, Megan Winter, Evelyn Botbyl, Marian Botbyl, Cassie Shepherd, Bobby McAlexander, Kellie Wilding, Mitzi Richardson, Lisa Thornton, Christie Martin, and painter Abby Ruby.

Visual Arts Supervisor, Joshua Wagner, stated, “We are thrilled to bring this high-quality, innovative work to the Nashville area. We are excited to share this exhibit with our community.”

Eric Botbyl is a full-time studio potter whose artwork is nationally recognized. Eric’s clay work is thrown on the pottery wheel and then altered.  He cuts, darts, folds, alters, and add textures. Eric also fires his pieces multiple times using a combination of underglazes, slips, and glaze to create one-of-a-kind, exquisite art pieces that are also functional for common use.

Andrew Clark, tilting teapot

Eric’s daughters, Evelyn Botbyl and Marian Botbyl, are clay artists in their own right and will contribute their environmentally aware functional pottery and creatures which Mary calls “Forest Spirts.”

Andrew Clark is currently an Artist in Residence at East Mitchell Clay and at Companion Gallery. Andrew is inspired by industrial mechanical forms, and he challenges the limits of clay by incorporating movable parts in his work. His kinetic work evokes the curiosity and sense of play.

The bottle set by Lisa Thornton is carved using a technique called sgraffito, by applying a layer of underglaze and carving through to reach the raw clay. Dynamic shapes and contrasting colors characterize her body of work.

Lakyn Bowman uses a printmaking technique called mono-printing to decorate pieces inspired by vintage colors and forms. She builds layer of color, images, and textures to make beautifully complex compositions on thrown vessels.

Lisa Thorton, bottle set

Megan Winter layers underglaze and outlines her designs to mimic stitch marks to create beautiful intricate designs while focusing on making comfortable pottery for every-day use.

Cassie Shepherd makes functional and elegant forms using a variety of clay bodies and a variety of ways of adding color.

Kellie Wilding experiments with slip trailing, creating colorful designs using underglazes. Her patterns are playful and intricate.

Mitzi Richardson is a seamstress and connects her love for textiles by pressing doilies and fabric into slabs of clay. Her work creates a sense of nostalgia.

Christie Martin weaves textured clay into basket forms and adds a light wash of red iron oxide to achieve the look of wood grain.

Bobby McAlexander is driven by nostalgia and recreates his old high school hangout spot using slab-built techniques to create vignettes complete with figurines of his classmates.

Abby Ruby, A Village I Know

East Mitchell Clay is continuously pursuing excellence, equity, and innovation in the field of ceramics by maintaining a safe space to create and connect.

Also featured in this exhibit is artist and painter, Abby Ruby. Abby’s work will fill the gallery walls with playful, colorful images. Abby loves story telling; her large-scale paintings filled with layered color, stylized figures, and symbolic images convey a sense of childlike wonder. Gallery visitors will appreciate how her colorful paintings dance with light, repetition, and rhythm. Abby also loves to create textiles, clothing, and clay sculptures.

The West Tennessee Artist exhibit is on display in Centennial Art Center through May 21 2021.

Centennial Art Center Gallery is free and open to the public.

Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.