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DeKalb artists to be featured at annual craft show
by Mary Cosgrove
March 11, 2014 02:05 PM | 4984 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For two DeKalb County artists, the American Craft Council Show is not only an honor to be a part of, but an opportunity to truly showcase their passion and talent.

Lora Rust, who specializes in pottery, which she sells and showcases in her Avondale Estates studio and gallery, and Mike Sluder, a Decatur metal artist, are two of the new artists joining more than 200 others in the show Friday through Sunday at the Cobb Galleria Centre.

Rust said her love of pottery began as a child, stemming from her own mother’s love of pottery.

“There were many decorative pieces as well as functional pieces that were part of our everyday lives, many of which I still have and use daily,” she said.

Though she said she never considered herself artistic, the feeling of creating something from clay clicked with her.

“There is something tangible that I can work with, rather than a blank, flat piece of paper,” Rust said.

She said she prefers working with porcelain, creating “heirloom” pieces.

“I use the word “heirloom” to describe my pieces because of the elegance that is evoked by the form and surface,” Rust said. “Heirloom implies something unique, special, something to be treasured. Making each piece is very personal to me and I want that passion and joy to translate into the work.”

She describes her style as “lush, textural and tactile.”

“I like the idea that my pieces are pretty to look at but should be touched and used,” she said.

Throwing clay has become a second career of sorts for Rust, who began her professional career in the corporate world.

“Looking for a more relaxing and creative outlet, I took a clay class at Callanwolde,” she said. “Obviously, the best decision of my life.”

She was accepted into a two-year pottery assistantship program in 2006, and she has owned her own studio since 2008.

Sluder said his artistic nature is something that he has always been in touch with.

“In school, other subjects did not come as easily to me, but I always felt at home when designing, drawing, painting and sculpting,” he said. “As a child, I kept a notebook of shoe designs, and, when introduced to sculpture in college, I really fell in love with the physicality in creating three-dimensional pieces.”

Sluder works with furnaces, welders and grinders in creating his art and his bowls and vases are described as industrial.

“I enjoy working with metal, as I can juxtapose the strength of the bronze with the organic shapes of the bowls and vases I create,” he said. “I have also enjoyed mastering the art of patina over the years, coming up with the perfect blend of chemicals to create a range of unique colors against the warm hues of bronze and copper.”

Sluder earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts from East Carolina University in 2006.

He creates custom art for individual collectors, as well as corporate clients such as The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.

The craft council show spokesperson Susan Summers said the show is juried, meaning a panel of artists and industry specialists select each artist who participates in the annual event.

“It’s a great honor to be accepted and often considered a pinnacle of the artist’s career,” she said.

Indeed, both Rust and Sluder said they feel honored to be a part of the show.

“Being recognized through the jury process puts my craft at a new level and gives me the ability to reach a very large audience of enthusiasts of craft,” Rust said. “Additionally, the support from the ACC as a new artist has broadened that reach even further, something I couldn’t have done on my own.”

Sluder said he is looking forward to the opportunity to showcase his art.

“It feels good to be recognized for my work as, with each new show, I always try to push the boundaries of my designs and shapes I’ve created in the past,” he said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my artistic process and finished pieces with the greater Atlanta area.”

The show will feature 240 artists from across the country, and this year it’s celebrating its silver anniversary — 25 years of showcasing a variety of works by artists.

One of the largest indoor craft shows, the annual event generally attracts 10,000 attendees during its three-day run.

The show is Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A one-day pass is $13 and a three-day pass is $28.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, two new special features are included this year.

The American Craft Charm Collection will feature handmade charms, charm bracelets and accessories by craft council artists in pop-up displays on the show floor. The show has also partnered with The Balvenie, a handcrafted single malt Scotch whiskey distillery, to offer tastings to show-goers 21 years and older.

If you go:
When: Friday through Sunday
Where: Cobb Galleria Centre, 2 Galleria Pkwy. in Atlanta
Cost: $13 for one-day pass, $28 for three-day pass

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