lindseybrowing

Ceramic teacher Lindsey Browning shows her class how to shape their clay bowls, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, at Eye of the Dog Art Center. Browning teaches ceramic workshops every Tuesday at Eye of the Dog and will be selling her pottery at the festival.

After a year-long hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dirt Dauber Festival is back in person at Eye of the Dog Art Center and will feature local ceramic art vendors, pottery competitions, live music and free food and drinks from May 14-15.

The family-friendly ceramic art event is free to the public and will welcome 50 of the best potters in Texas, 12 live music performances, free hot dogs and pickles on a stick.

The owners of Eye of the Dog Art Center and creators of the festival, Billy Ray and Beverly Mangham, have been selling and teaching art for over 30 years. Dirt Dauber is the second festival they’ve started, the first being the over 30-year-old Texas Clay Festival that runs annually from Oct. 23-24 in Gruene, Texas.

Billy Ray Mangham, the director of Eye of the Dog Art Center, is looking forward to the festival’s return after last year's cancelation.

“We’re very excited to be back because people really need that chance to go out on a nice day and socialize with each other, especially after the pandemic. As much as anything, it’s a public service to give people a place to go to that’s safe, secure and free,” Mangham said.

Eye of the Dog Art Center offers ceramic classes, workshops, gallery shows and special events. It’s a communal space for people of all ceramic levels to learn from experienced local potters.

Billy Ray Mangham thinks that the pandemic has created more awareness of the daily objects in our lives, such as how important it is to have a really good coffee cup or cereal bowl.

The event’s contest categories include best-blindfolded pot, best 2-pound and 2-minute pot, longest pulled handle and more. All festival attendees are welcomed to enter contests and the winners will receive handmade trophies uniquely made for each category by Billy Ray Mangham.

Nick Fletcher, a ceramic artist originally from Nashville, Tennessee, moved to San Marcos in February 2020 to pursue a career in pottery and has since been teaching at Eye of the Dog Art Center for two years.

This is Fletcher’s first year attending the festival and having a booth to sell his artwork and he is eager to spend time with the community again.

“I’m looking forward to this place buzzing with activity, new people coming out and seeing engagement from the community,” Fletcher said.

Sharing the same sentiment is ceramic artist and Dirt Dauber vendor Kym Owens who is looking forward to seeing her friends and customers at the festival, especially since the pandemic affected the way she interacted with them.

“Because of COVID-19, it’s been so long since anyone’s been able to see my work in person,” Owens said.

Owens has attended the festival and participated as a vendor since 2011 and hopes to win a trophy in the contest this year. She has been making ceramic art for 30 years and now works full-time as a studio potter, selling her ceramic art online and at KO Pottery down the street from Eye of the Dog Art Center.

Ceramic artist Lindsey Browning, a fine arts alumna, is a ceramic workshop instructor at Eye of the Dog Art Center. Browning started attending the festival in 2017 and became a vendor in 2018. Her love for the art form and teaching new generations of artists has been her favorite part of being involved with the art center.

“I love teaching, being able to connect with other artists and sharing the love of the medium,” Browning said. “It brings me so much joy to see the knowledge get passed down to the next generation.”

Browning said that the people who come to the festival will have the opportunity to experience what it is like first-hand to be a part of the clay community, and she is eager to see people get introduced to it.

The Dirt Dauber Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 14 and from noon to 5 p.m on May 15 at Eye of the Dog Art Center located at 405 Valley View West Rd in San Marcos. Admission is free and the music and vendor lineup will be available on the art center's website soon.

For more information about the Dirt Dauber Festival visit https://www.eyeofthedogartcenter.com/.

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