Southside Gallery: Kaleidoscope

Southside Gallery is on the Square in Oxford

Southside Gallery on the Square in Oxford

Artists’ interpretations of mythology and the kaleidoscope are on view March 9 to April 10, 2015, at Southside Gallery in Oxford.  Two group shows, Kaleidoscope and Mythos, feature recent work by graduating University of Mississippi MFA students. I’ll first share some installation views of Kaleidoscope, with artwork by Terry LynnStacey Rathert, Elise Robbins, and Preston Tolbert. Images from Mythos will follow in a later post.

Stacey Rathert, Tea for Three. mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

“Stacey Rathert’s allegorical ideas on the kaleidoscope, which are deeply rooted in her childhood, are physically thrilling as she displays intricate patterns of images that juxtapose what is expected and what is true about herself.” -Southside Gallery. Above, Stacey Rathert, Tea for Three. mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

Terry Lynn, Roots. mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

“Terry Lynn explores personal and social identity in his artwork, incorporating other media into his paintings that are as diverse as the undulating shapes at the end of the kaleidoscope.” -Southside Gallery. Above and below, Terry Lynn, Roots. mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

Terry Lynn, Roots (detail). mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

Terry Lynn, Roots (detail). mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

Terry Lynn, Roots (detail). mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

Terry Lynn, Roots (detail). mixed mediums installation. Copyright (c) the artist.

 

 

 

 

 

Preston Tolbert, Platter 1. soda fired stoneware. Copyright (c) the artist.

“Preston Tolbert’s ceramic objects will elucidate the magical experience of gazing into a kaleidoscope to view the swirling colors and shapes.” -Southside Gallery. Above, Preston Tolbert, Platter 1. soda fired stoneware. Copyright (c) the artist.

Preston Tolbert, Vessel 2, soda fired stoneware; platters by Preston Tolbert hang on the wall. Copyright (c) the artist.

Preston Tolbert, Vessel 2, soda fired stoneware; platters by Preston Tolbert hang on the wall. Copyright (c) the artist.

Elise Robbins, Seeking Origin and Locating Stability. digital print. Copyright (c) the artist.

“The shifting and ever-changing patterns of the kaleidoscope are unmistakable in Elise Robbins’s series as she mimics its perplexing structures.” -Southside Gallery. Above, three works by Elise Robbins: Seeking Origin, Locating Stability, and Symmetrically Concentric 2. digital prints. Copyright (c) the artist.

Elise Robbins, Symmetrically Concentric 2. digital print. Copyright (c) the artist.

Elise Robbins, Symmetrically Concentric 2. digital print. Copyright (c) the artist.

Elise Robbins, Turnabout (detail). digital print. Copyright (c) the artist.

Elise Robbins, Turnabout (detail). digital print. Copyright (c) the artist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about this exhibition or these artists, please contact Southside Gallery at southside@southsideartgallery.com or at 662-234-9090.

To comment on this post or to write to the Mississippi Byways project, please use this form:

Introducing The Frog Farm

Sign for The Frog Farm at crossroads of Highway 61 and Old Highway 61, about three miles south of the old country store in Lorman

A tall frog sculpture and a sign direct travelers to The Frog Farm in historic Harriston. Artwork copyright (c) the artist.

Detail of the frog sculpture beside The Frog Farm sign on Highway 61. Artwork copyright (c) Louise Cadney Coleman.

Detail of the frog sculpture beside The Frog Farm sign on Highway 61. Artwork copyright (c) Louise Cadney Coleman.

The intersection of Highway 61 and Old Highway 61, the turn-off for The Frog Farm

The intersection of Highway 61 and Old Highway 61, the turn-off for The Frog Farm

A frog diorama by Louise Cadney Coleman in the "Frog Nest," the showroom and gift shop at the Frog Farm. Artwork copyright (c) the artist.

A frog diorama by Louise Cadney Coleman in the “Frog Nest,” the showroom and gift shop at The Frog Farm. Artwork copyright (c) the artist.

Louise Cadney Coleman, artist and owner of The Frog Farm. Artwork copyright (c) the artist.

Louise Cadney Coleman, artist and owner of the Frog Farm. Artwork copyright (c) the artist.

I’ll write more about The Frog Farm and its mastermind in the future. Thank you to Louise Cadney Coleman for permitting me to photograph and to post images of her artwork.

All photographs are copyright (c) Beth Batton and the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Dirt Roads Pottery, part two

Sharon Grimes, owner of Dirt Roads Pottery

Sharon Grimes, owner of Dirt Roads Pottery

The reason I call it Dirt Roads is because it winds and turns and everything I do is free form,” says Sharon Grimes, owner of Dirt Roads Pottery in Edinburg, Mississippi. “None of my two pieces come out the same. You can do more with hand built. And, I grew up on a dirt road.”

A dirt road near the potter's childhood home (photo courtesy of Dirt Roads Pottery)

A dirt road near Sharon Grimes’ childhood home (photo courtesy of Dirt Roads Pottery)

A platter in the "Sand Bar" glaze evokes the earthy, winding path of a dirt road.

A platter in the “Sand Bar” glaze evokes the earthy, winding path of a dirt road.

Dirt Roads Pottery is a second career for Sharon Grimes. In 2010, a fire destroyed her family’s store, Lofton’s Flowers and Gifts. “I worked there off and on since I was about 14 years old,” she said. She purchased the store from her stepfather and operated it for 17 years prior to the fire.

 

Grimes capitalizes on the Mississippi State University Bulldogs popularity, especially during the football team's successful 2014 season, with paw print ornaments and necklaces.

Grimes capitalizes on the Mississippi State University Bulldogs popularity, especially during the football team’s successful 2014 season, with paw print ornaments and necklaces.

“I didn’t have anything to do because the store had burned so I watched YouTube all day, video after video. I’m self-taught to a degree. I basically learned to do pottery over the Internet.” Donna Vosburg of Lov Pottery in Morton, Mississippi, also gave her pottery lessons, but Grimes adds, “You can’t learn everything in just four lessons.”

Grimes rescues cats, has them spayed and neutered, and cares for them on her pottery compound. (photo courtesy of Dirt Roads Pottery)

Grimes rescues cats, has them neutered, and cares for them on her pottery compound. (photo courtesy of Dirt Roads Pottery)

Having had a successful career in retailing, Grimes entered the creative economy applying her marketing and business experience to her pottery venture. “Probably, I’m more business and marketing than art. I want it to be functional. I’m probably more production, like a small factory.”

Indeed, the studio is productive. She hand builds pots and makes jewelry full time and clears enough profit to employ two assistants, one who glazes and another who helps with the jewelry and in the showroom.

One of the pottery and jewelry showrooms on the Dirt Roads compound (photo courtesy of Dirt Roads Pottery)

One of the pottery and jewelry showrooms on the Dirt Roads compound (photo courtesy of Dirt Roads Pottery)

She prices her work in what she describes as “that middle ground between wholesale and retail prices” to make it affordable for people to buy directly from her. “There’s no reason why a potter can’t compete with a gift shop…. My prices are good because I have no middle man.”

She retails directly from her showroom and, once a year, from three booths at the Canton Flea Market. Sales have been good. She had only four pots left at the end of 2014, and she has replenished her showroom inventory within the past month and a half. Next, she has an open-air showroom on the compound to fill. “We’ll open that up in the summer.”

Grimes' initial bracelets

Grimes’ initial bracelets

Her jewelry business is thriving, too. Her biggest sellers are bracelets with pearl-like beads and initial charms.

When asked what advice she has for artists, she responds, “They need to start on the marketing, and there are four dimensions to marketing: product, price, promotion, and distribution. They’ve got to balance all four of those. You’ve got to find a product that people are going to pay for. If you can figure out how to sell it yourself, you can make money at it.”

Bowls and spoons in Forest Green glaze and a bowl in the Destin Blue glaze

Bowls and spoons in Forest Green glaze and a bowl in the Destin Blue glaze

Still, she considers pottery “a good way to make a living. You have total control of your product. You don’t have to wait on anything from China. If something doesn’t sell, you can change it.”

Sharon Grimes doesn’t call herself an artist. A business woman and marketing pro, yes. “I might be more of a crafter,” she says. “I do put out those pieces that are single expressions, but that’s a small percentage of my line.” Making a handmade product not far from the dirt road where she grew up and seeing it fill a need in the market is what drives her.

signature on MS platter_750 pixels

Dirt Roads Pottery signature on the back of a Mississippi platter

For more information, visit www.dirtroadspottery.com. Thank you to Sharon Grimes for permitting Mississippi Byways to reproduce images of her pottery and some of her photographs of the Dirt Roads Pottery studio compound.

Sources:

“Up from the Ashes.” The Carthaginian, April 7, 2011. http://www.dirtroadspottery.com/aboutus.html.

Berry, Abby. “Dirt Roads Pottery.” Today in Mississippi, October 2012. http://www.dirtroadspottery.com/aboutus.html.

Grimes, Sharon. Dirt Roads Pottery. http://www.dirtroadspottery.com/home.html.

Telephone interview by Beth Batton with Sharon Grimes, February 27, 2015.

E-mails from Sharon Grimes to Beth Batton, March 3 and 4, 2015.

Dirt Roads Pottery, part one

blue-green MS platter, blurry_750 pixels

Cats plus pottery plus a working studio off the beaten path (mine, at least) equals intrigue. Really, it was the cathedral window-looking decor on the side of a little red building and the sign, “Dirt Roads Pottery,” that made me turn around in the next church parking lot and double back to see what it was about and if an artist was there.

Showrooms at Dirt Roads Pottery, Highway 16, Edinburg, Mississippi (photograph courtesy of Dirt Roads Pottery)

Showrooms at Dirt Roads Pottery, Highway 16, Edinburg, Mississippi (photograph courtesy of Dirt Roads Pottery)

Sign_750 pixels wide

Two neat and trim, red, wooden buildings are what you first see when you pull off Highway 16 in Edinburg, Mississippi, and into the gravel parking lot. A lounging cat or two lifts its head to stare at you. Potter Sharon Grimes (born 1957, Memphis, Tennessee) introduced me to Pumpkin and to Little Bit and told me I was welcomed to look around in the showroom and to take pictures.

Mississippi platter, red, swirls_750 pixelsThe newest building at Dirt Roads Pottery is the red showroom that caught my eye from Highway 16. Hundreds of glazed earthenware platters and bowls of various sizes with ruffled rims filled the shelves. There were also crosses on the shelves and ceramic spoons perched in the bowls. One of her glazes is as red as that crimson wax that people once dripped onto the back of their envelopes to seal them. Patterns are pressed into some of the platters.

blue-green bowls on shelf_750blue-green bowl with texture_750

The pottery studio where all the pots are hand shaped, dried, glazed, and fired

The studio where all the pottery is created (photo courtesy of Dirt Roads Pottery)

On her compound are three small showrooms, one of them open air, and a small brick house where the pottery is shaped, dried, glazed, and fired.   Older outbuildings, such as a carport, shop, and garden sheds, are home to 22 or 23 cats, “all feral but a few.” She has them spade and neutered. “Part of the money from the pottery goes to the cats,” she says. Her nephew found Little Bit with a broken hip at the Carthage airport and brought her to Grimes, who paid for the kitten’s surgery. “Right now, no cat is turned away. My brother traps them. If people are going to destroy them, he’ll save them.”

Little Bit under shelf of pottery_750

Little Bit hides under a showroom shelf of pottery.

How Sharon Grimes learned pottery on the internet and how she makes a living today in the pottery business will be the topic of Dirt Roads Pottery part two.

For more information, visit www.dirtroadspottery.com. Thank you to Sharon Grimes for permitting Mississippi Byways to reproduce images of her pottery and some of her photographs of the Dirt Roads Pottery studio compound.