I had never been to a Mudfest before and wasn’t quite sure what I would see. It was a first time event at Quyles Kiln/Brice Station Winery about two miles above Murphys. Pam Quyle runs the pottery, her sister and brother-in-law have a winery and tasting room. Great combination. But I was there to meet old friends from Alameda County. The first thing I ran into was a dog-head with a ball in its mouth. Not surprising since there are plenty of friendly dogs around the place who love balls.
The second thing I hadn’t seen before was this magnificent dragonfly garden piece. The eye never rests here. But, I walked in the showroom looking for my friend Pam, who was nowhere to be seen.
The Quyle family has been making pottery here since 1928. Families come to replenish their dishes from one generation to the next. Always quality pieces, that never changes. I treasure my colanders, serving bowls, casseroles and berry dishes. But you can find any vessel here, made by Pam or other potters who sell their work here.
Not only pottery, but other art flourishes. Water color and oil paintings, etchings and greeting cards, and then I see this poster of a dog story. The artist, Marilyn Pyle told me they are popular with school libraries and veterinary offices.
Pam has a potter working here who does faces and busts. I don’t know his or her name and didn’t get to meet the potter, but I did run into this sculpture:
And these delightful faces.
I often find galleries on the road and get my art fix, but here I am at home and able to do the same thing. For the Mudfest, potters and other artists were invited to put up a booth and present their work.
I guess when Cathi Newlin says, “Happiness is a lump of Clay” you can see the passion people have for working with clay. Her rats were so life-like I accused her of starting a plague.
She works in Angels Camp and does nice framed tiles and photography as well from her shop at the The Square Peg.
I poked around the booths until my friends arrived and Don Hall’s work caught my eye. He does highly decorated pieces and much of his stuff has an Asian look to it. Delicate flowers and plant life. He has a website, donhallworks.com. He came up from Turlock.
Pottery can be so individual and I always love to see work that is exciting and different.
While I was looking I could smell the chicken in a barrel cooking. Then Denise and Gary Lindsay, my Sheriff’s Department friends from Alameda County showed up and we enjoyed sharing a bottle of wine and food. The people catering the meals, I wish I had gotten their names. Unlike some events, the portions were very generous and everyone was bragging about the food. It was excellent.
Gary and Denise had stumbled upon the Kiln and Gary, now retired and moved to Tuolumne County, is also a clay person. He does beautiful mosaic tables and since moving, needs a place to have his clay fired. He came to the right place. Gary was an avid volunteer and served as treasurer for the Alameda County Archives for many years and was making cocktail tables even then for is fellow deputies. He has quite a following. I’m sure he’ll be just as successful in Tuolumne County enjoying his hobby.
We ate dinner, the band began to play in the meadow behind the tasting room and I again think to myself, how lucky I am to live here. I hope they have another Mudfest next year. And, they better have the same caterer.