Guests invited to engage with artist, Gary Webber at reception Thursday

By Lucy McElroy

Ceramic craftsman, Gary Webber will host an artist reception for his exhibit, “Raku Variations” at the Curtis R. Harley Art Gallery Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

The Inman artist will give a talk and explain his use of the Western Raku method.

“This has quickly become one of the more popular shows that we have had – a great way to start off the Fall semester,” Gallery Coordinator, Mark Flowers said in an email. “Gary is a very engaging person and will offer some insights to his work.”

Webber used materials from nature to create the pieces shown in “Raku Variations,” a homage to his love of nature. Locally collected horsehair and elk antler are incorporated in his works.

“There is something about a ball of clay spinning on a pottery wheel and being transformed into a pot that deeply satisfies my left-brain desire to create a thing of beauty,” Webber said. “There is also something about the Western Raku process, which entails constant analyzing and adjusting for numerous variables, that nourishes and challenges my right brain.”

The Western practice of Raku firing entails removing a piece from a kiln at bright red heat and “smoking” the work, according to The American Ceramics Society. This process blackens raw clay and creates crazing in the work’s glaze.

After 32 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Webber pursued pottery and his artwork has been featured at Tryon Artists and Sculptors Art Gallery in Tryon, N.C. It is available for purchase at The Nest in Tryon, and at Sterling and Stones in Saluda, N.C.

Webber is the husband of Assistant Professor of Communications, Carolina Webber, Ph.D. His selection of pottery has been on display since August. The exhibition will conclude on Sept. 22.