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The Black Mountain Center for the Arts makes its contribution to Holly Jolly starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 with its Clay Studio Exhibit and Pottery Market.

The Clay Studio Exhibit in the arts center’s Upper Gallery will feature the best work of the center’s Clay Studio teachers Charles Freeland, Mathilda Tanner and Geoff Bird, as well as work by their students. More than 20 potters will have work in this annual exhibition, on display until mid-February.

“This year many students have displayed ‘clay bravery,’” clay studio manager Freeland said. “Some of our first-time students have taken creative approaches to scale. These potters are not daunted by the processes. They allow themselves the freedom to explore without fear.”

That means creating vessels rather than vases, large cylindrical forms instead of cups and mugs, Freeland said.

“I’m excited by this year’s outcomes,” he said. “The work in the gallery in tandem with the pottery market will offer visitors an exceptional experience in clay that hopefully will encourage more to participate at the Clay Studio.”

On the other side of the hall at the arts center, a dozen potters will sell their wares in a festive setting befitting the Holly Jolly kickoff night. The range of work available will include a wide selection plates, bowls, cups, mugs, vases, jewelry, ornaments, salt and pepper shakers and wall decorations.

“Most of the potters price their work fairly, and the variety is great,” said pottery student Carrie Maresh, who was very successful at last year’s pottery market. This year she will have 30-40 cups, mugs and bowls, as well as her signature egg plates.

“I’ve started selling in a few other places, like Mountain Nest and Fall by the Tracks,” she said, “but I love the Holly Jolly Pottery Market because at some point you see everyone in town.”

The Clay Studio, adjacent to Black Mountain Center for the Arts in the old, renovated city garage, is accessible from the back parking lot. Available for Christmas are gift certificates to classes.

The arts center is at 225 W. State St. For more, call 669-0930 or visit BlackMountainArts.org.

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