Flathead Clay Artists Showcase Work

By Beacon Staff

“It’s an exciting way to kick off First Thursdays,” said Tom Gilfillan, owner of The Stillwater Gallery and Whitefish Pottery. Gilfillan has rustled up nearly 30 Flathead Valley potters for a celebration of clay for the 2008 opening of Whitefish Gallery Nights.

This Thursday, May 1, kicks off the first in the series of six evenings when 14 Whitefish galleries open late for receptions. It’s a buzzing social event in Whitefish as friends and neighbors migrate from gallery to gallery to take in the shows, share a glass of wine, meet artists, and view paintings, drawings, sculptures, jewelry, and ceramics.

The Stillwater Gallery may also have the biggest party that night. Rather than charging ceramicists an entry fee for the show, Gilfillan requires them to bring their favorite hors d’oeuvre to the opening night reception from 6-9 p.m.

Fifty pieces will be on display at the gallery. “It’s everything from functional stoneware to highly decorative one-of-a-kind pieces of art,” added Gilfillan. “It’s a well-rounded show with a wide variety from newcomers to well-established ceramic artists.” Works include pottery by noted valley artists: Bill Hayes, John Rawlings, and Gilfillan from Whitefish; Sherry Wells from Kalispell; and Dan Doak, Tom Briney, and Marcie Briney from Bigfork. The Flathead Valley Clay Invitational show continues throughout May in Stillwater Gallery on Central Avenue in Whitefish.

Whitefish Pottery also throws their annual anniversary party on Thursday, May 8, from 6-9 p.m. at the studios five miles west of Whitefish. The public is invited for food, fun, beverages, and the Bad Larry’s.

“Opening night for First Thursdays should be thrilling—kind of a clay community event,” said Gilfillan. Future Whitefish Gallery Nights are scheduled for June 5, July 3, August 7, September 4, and October 2.

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