Burns Pottery changes name to Natchez Clay

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 19, 2007

NATCHEZ — In four short years Burns Pottery has developed a cohesive and talented local clay community while also serving the development of the regional and national clay communities. It was started by Conner Burns in 2003 and has grown to become a respected clay facility across the nation.

The name change from Burns Pottery to Natchez Clay is a change that should help represent the studio more accurately.

For the past four years the name Burns Pottery has been a great benefit to the studio, but over the years Burns Pottery has produced a talented group of clay artists that are active in local, regional and national events. Natchez Clay, a community of clay artists, has been involved in the Natchez community in a variety of ways including participation in the Art and Soul festival since its inception, organization of the Empty Bowls benefit that raises money for the Natchez Stewpot and numerous other events. The name change to Natchez Clay will more accurately represent the total group of artists and their contributions.

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Natchez Clay is a community of clay artists. Natchez Clay provides a variety of services to the clay community — including studio space, classes and workshops. Clay artists are at work at Natchez Clay at all times — every day and every night of the year. Natchez Clay is a 24/7 operation. The studio is never closed.

The hours of operation are completely up to the artists that have studio space at Natchez Clay. For the artists that have studios at Natchez Clay, there are no certain hours; they operate on their own schedule. Many people are confused about the studio because their understanding of a business is that of a retail operation rather than a community of creative clay artists.

The gallery of Conner Burns is housed in the same facility. The gallery is open from 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays and anytime by appointment. There are also special hours at other times of the year.

To get a tour of the facility, simply contact a studio member or Conner Burns. You may also stop by the gallery on Saturday afternoon.

Natchez clay offers two sessions of classes (fall and winter) for adults where no experience is necessary and also offers a camp for teens and a camp for kids each summer. Natchez Clay has developed a community of clay artists and has the classes in place to continue to develop additional clay artists. Most of the clay artists involved with Natchez Clay had never worked with clay before taking classes at Natchez Clay. Individuals interested in classes should visit the Web site www.natchezclay.com or leave their mailing address at 601-446-6334.

The members of Natchez Clay have taken at least one class at the Natchez Clay and pay a monthly membership which gives them access to the facilities of Natchez Clay. Individuals interested in clay do not have to be studio members to take classes — all classes are open to the public.

Natchez clay and the studio of Conner Burns attracts artists and art lovers from across the nation to Natchez. It is not uncommon for 30 clay artists to descend on Natchez for a week to study clay with Conner or an artist that Conner has brought in to teach.

For information, contact: Natchez Clay, 209 Franklin Street, Natchez, MS 39120, 601-446-6334.df


These artists stay in local hotels and eat at local restaurants. Natchez Clay hosts 4 to 6 of these events each year. In addition to the clay artists, a variety of art lovers and collectors come to visit the gallery of Conner Burns throughout the year. They come to buy pottery and tour the studio and during their visit support other local businesses including resteraunts, lodging and other retail places. In the past 4 years Burns Pottery (now Natchez Clay) has had over 650 individuals involved in classes or workshops in Natchez. This number does not include the great number of collectors that visit the gallery each month since Conner returned to Natchez.

How many artists have studio space at Natchez Clay? Currently about a dozen clay artists are working out of Natchez Clay.

In addition to running Natchez Clay, you are also a professional artist? Yes, I exhibit my artwork at museums and galleries across the United States and also travel to teach workshops to professional artists across the nation. Recently my work has been exhibited at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art (Biloxi, MS) , the Mississippi Museum of Art (Jackson, MS), the Mississippi Craft Center (Ridgeland, MS) , PS Gallery (Columbia, MO), Red Star Studios (Kansas City, MO), McBride Gallery (Annapolis, MD), the University of Arkansas (Monticello, AR) and my work is always available at my gallery. I will also curate an Annual National Cup Show/Competition this fall for the University of Arkansas.

When is the next event at Natchez Clay? Fall clay classes begin September 10th and September 18th. We have beginning classes that meet just once a week for 10 weeks that are great fun. Class size is limited and often fill up.

How can you be contacted? The best way to keep up with the events at Natchez Clay are to visit www.natchezclay.com or www.connerburns.com or to receive a newsletter in the mail, leave your name and mailing address at the studio – 601-446-6334. Or, simply stop in the studio on a Saturday afternoon between 1 and 5 pm.

For information, contact: Natchez Clay, 209 Franklin Street, Natchez, MS 39120, 601-446-6334, www.natchezclay.com.