150 Artists Under One Roof

Palo Alto festival showcases thousands of glass and clay artworks and useful objects
150 Artists Under One Roof
One hundred and fifty glass and clay artists come together for a single festival in Palo Alto in July, including glassmakers Michael Hermann and Gina Lunn (pictured here) of the studio Hermann Lunn. Photos: courtesy Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California
150 Artists Under One Roof
Tre Sorelle Blu glass vessels by Peter Vizzusi
150 Artists Under One Roof
One-of-a-kind glass vessel by Bruce Pizzichillo.

A Peninsula-based organization rooted in mid-century design will offer up work by some of the state's best glass and clay artists in this year's Palo Alto Clay and Glass Festival. The works in the show range from Arts and Crafts-inspired to zany to modern.

The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12, at the Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road in Rinconada Park.

Between 140 and 150 artists, chosen by a jury and all members of the Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California, will set up booths in the park. Inside the community center, one or more works by each artist will also be on view, "so you can see those who deserve your special attention," says Chris Esparza, who is producing the festival through his firm, Giant Creative Services.

The festival is free and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Besides displaying and selling art, events include clay demonstrations by artists and glass blowers, and hands-on activities including 'Clay for All,' and that means children as well as adults. Food will also be available.

The association of artists got its start in San Francisco in 1945 as the Association of San Francisco Potters. Over the years the group has sponsored talks and workshops by such modernist crafts pioneers as Bernard Leach, Edith Heath, Otto and Vivika Heino, and Marguerite Wildenhain.

Among the artists taking part in the festival are Peter Vizzusi, who turns out remarkably colored glass vessels in his Magic Sands Glass Studio in Aptos; the eclectic glass makers Michael Hermann and Gina Lunn of the studio Hermann Lunn; Oakland glass maker Bruce Pizzichillo; and Berkeley potter Itsuko Zenitani, who creates simple, harmoniously shaped, and beautifully incised ceramics.

Esparza says the popular festival—this is its 23rd year—is expected to draw about 16,000 people. Saturday is expected to be busier than Sunday, he says, and parking will be easier than in recent years because construction around the park has been completed.

"It's big and people come to purchase too," Esparza says. "Folks come to buy for their homes and buy for their workplace."

It's a good place to get to know both artists and their art, he says. "A lot of the artists benefit by getting to know people at the show, and building relations with people who appreciate their work."

For more on the clay and glass festival, click here. For more on the association, click here.