Gallery Hop: New Lincoln Park studio-gallery features popular pottery pieces
Karin Kraemer sat in the back of her newish studio, turning a clay bowl in one hand and adding color with the brush in the other hand. She started with yellowish petals in her signature large, looping style, then outlined them in brown. It was th...
Karin Kraemer sat in the back of her newish studio, turning a clay bowl in one hand and adding color with the brush in the other hand. She started with yellowish petals in her signature large, looping style, then outlined them in brown. It was the beginnings of a bee bowl, a theme that runs through some of her work currently on display in the front room at Duluth Pottery - one of the hands-on spots that is helping the redefine Superior Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
"This is the reason my stuff is the way it is," she said, indicating her bottles of majolica glaze, which act like a watercolor when it connects with the bowl. "The wild, fast and loose painting I do comes from that."
After working out of a studio in Superior for about 14 years - though still referring to it as Duluth Pottery - Kraemer more than quadrupled her space this past summer when she moved into the former P&J Paint building. The shop-work space is one of three new venues on the 28th annual Art for Earth Day Gallery Hop. The event, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, is a chance to drop in to local studios and meet artists, watch demos, check out exhibitions ranging from glass art to film to clay to blacksmithing.
Kraemer is showing a preview of works by her peers from the St. Croix River Valley Pottery Tour - a similar, though clay-centric event near Stillwater that offers a chance to check out the best of the best with in-studio meet-and-greets. Last year's event got a nod from the Weisman Museum of Art in Minneapolis, which hosted some of the featured potters' work.
Other new spots include the Nease Gallery, which is showing contemporary art, photographs by Tim White and film by Allen Killian-Moore and Tischer Photographic Gallery, which houses works by landscape photographer Ryan Tischer.
Kraemer's work is among the most recognizable of local clay artists. She makes usable pieces with colorful, bold designs - self-described as "kitchy." She makes platters decorated with carrots, bowls with flowers, a light fixture decorated with bees hangs in the gallery.
She recently conceded and made a mug bearing the likeness of the Aerial Lift Bridge, but she swears she's never painting moose. That's crossing the kitchy line.
For her neighbors at Frost River, she has created mugs that resemble a bag - complete with buckles. She had work in the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Banks' Empty Bowl earlier this week. For her opening, she made drink vessels with skeletal designs. They could hold water, wine, whatever. They were also available for purchase, and she sold out that night.
The largest carrier of her work, though, is Duluth Grill - which not only sells her mugs, but also serves coffee in them. During some recent bookkeeping, she determined that she had made 9,000 mugs for the restaurant.
When Kraemer's shopping pottery, she looks for quality pieces. Is the bottom finished. She likes it to look how it feels. A heavy-looking piece should be heavy. How is the glaze. Is it stackable. Can she actually use the piece she's buying.
"Even if I spend $175 on it, I'm going to put my fish on it," she said.
Now she has a garage door for ease of unloading pallets of clay, three kilns, a chemistry room with ventilation.
"I used to mix glaze, run out of the room and leave for the day," she said.
That's no longer necessary.
The storefront gallery alone is probably bigger than Kraemer's old space - and it gets full-on gallery treatment. White walls, free for life thanks to a supply left by P&J Paint's former keepers, high ceilings, track lighting.
This is where she will be showing her own work: the mugs, bowls, platters and tiles, in addition to works by artists like Janel Jacobson, whose pieces are pristine and elegant, Dick Cooter, who uses a wood-fired kiln, and Matt Krousey, whose work has Minnesota images seeming etched within them.
This building, born in 1910, has had a few different lives. In addition to a paint store, it has been a billiards hall and Hansen Electric. It also was a bank.
During construction, Kraemer found prismatic glass tiles on one of the windows - which were of intrigue to the gallery owner who is on her way to becoming the neighborhood's resident historian. Buffalo Bill Cody's sister started a newspaper in a building less than a block away.
"It feels great," Kraemer said of the space. "I come in and I say 'Really? We get to have this?'"
IF YOU GO
What: 28th Annual Art for Earth Day Gallery Hop
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: free, open to the public
LAKE SUPERIOR ART GLASS
202 E. Superior St.
Featuring: Lake Superior Art Glass supports more than 40 regional glass artists.
LIZZARD'S ART GALLERY AND FRAMING
11 W. Superior St.
Featuring: "What Goes Around: Paintings by Wendy Rouse," works that show magical realism, humor and a love of the northwoods.
101 E. Michigan St.
Featuring: "Recent Works by Studio Artists," paintings by a handful of artists - Dorthea Diver, Dale Lucas, Cot LaFond, Goran Hellecant, Constance Johnston and Larry Turbes - who have for a long time shared a studio space and had a recent show at the Duluth Art Institute that including live painting sessions.
SIIVIIS OF SIVERTSON GALLERY
361 Canal Park Dr.
Featuring: "The Trapper's Daughter & Other Daughters of the Very Nearly True North," new work by printmaker Rick Allen.
TISCHER PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY
5 West Superior St.
Featuring: Landscape photographer Ryan Tischer offers a clearance sale.
TWEED MUSEUM OF ART
1201 Ordean Court
University of Minnesota Duluth
Featuring: The on-campus gallery is hosting works by students - in addition to checking out their studio spaces - alongside two other exhibitions. "Quiet Simplicity: Life in 19th and 20th Century America" is a mix of paintings from the permanent collection, and "Treasures from Home: An Anthology of Gifts from Collectors" is 55 works by people who have shared the art from their own collections with the museum.
WATERS OF SUPERIOR
395 S. LAKE AVE.
Featuring: "Rooted in Nature," a mixed media show of local artists, and "Helen Wang Trunk Show," which includes works by the jewelry designer.