By Heidi Roman
C & G Staff Writer
ROYAL OAK — If it was manipulated with fire and came from the Earth, it will be at the 17th annual Clay, Glass and Metal Show on Washington Avenue in Royal Oak June 11-12.
Presented by the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, the two-day art fair features jewelry, gifts, decorative art, pottery and architectural pieces from 140 artists.
“We love doing a hometown show,” said artist Paddy Skwira, a Royal Oak resident. “We raised our kids in Royal Oak and live here. We travel all over the Midwest, so it’s nice to do a show in our hometown.”
Skwira and her husband, Greg, are functional potters, using carving and glaze on their pieces under the name Skwira Pottery. In a typical year, they travel to 12-14 shows.
“I’ve been involved with clay since college, but we started participating in the Clay and Glass (show) in 1995,” Skwira said.
While most of the artists won’t have quite as short of a commute to the show as the Skwiras, the show does feature both local and national artists.
“They’re from all over, but a lot of them are from Michigan,” said Shelly Kemp, executive director of the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce. “This is definitely a higher-end show, and not necessarily higher price, just higher quality,” Kemp said.
Kemp said the show has been gaining notoriety every year. Sunshine Artist magazine ranks the Royal Oak show in the top 100 shows in the country, she said.
“That probably has something to do with the number of applications we get,” Kemp said.
Organizers have tried to keep a cap on the event and prevent it from getting too large. The show has scaled back the amount of food vendors allowed so more visitors choose to dine in the city’s restaurants instead. But a few local restaurants will still serve their best menu items, and the typical art fair treats, like fresh-squeezed lemonade, will be offered.
The Detroit School of Rock and Pop provides entertainment throughout the weekend, and the kids tent will be sponsored by Creative Arts Studio, featuring piggy bank painting and the popular Squirt the Shirt make-and-take projects.
When the artists aren’t busy selling their work, some will be offering live demonstrations of their craft to give visitors a better appreciation of what they’re purchasing, Kemp said.
“A lot of artists will do throwing demonstrations with clay and we have a glass blower this year,” she said. “That’s always really cool to watch.”
Another highlight will be the Community Mosaic Project, which brings scrap materials that are repurposed into a vine and floral mosaic that is assembled by guests at the show. The panel created over the weekend will join the first two panels created during last year’s event, which are on display at the Royal Oak Public Library.
The event will be 10 a.m.-7 p.m. June 11 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 12. Food and music will last later than the artists’ displays on June 11 from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. It takes place on Washington Avenue, at Fifth Street, in downtown Royal Oak.