Cajun Clay features handmade bowls, food from Allegria chef
If You Go...
What: Cajun Clay
When: 6-9 p.m. on Saturday
Where: Carbondale Clay Center
How Much: Adults $35 in advance, $40 at door; Children ages 6-16 $20 in advance, $25 at door. Tickets available at www.carbondaleclay.org.
Carbondale Clay Center Director Jill Oberman said some people come to the Clay Center just once a year, and it’s for Cajun Clay.
The annual event started in 1999 and features an outdoor party with live music, a kids fair, handmade bowls and great gumbo, as well as an indoor silent auction. All aspects of the event serve as a fundraiser for the Clay Center.
“It’s our biggest annual event,” Oberman said. “We’re hoping for about 200 people this year.”
For the cost of admission, attendees are able to pick from about 350 handmade ceramic bowls, which they get to keep after the night is through. During the party, though, they can load their bowls up with gumbo from Allegria chef Andreas Fischbacher, who is also bringing a crawfish boil to the event for the first time. Adult beverages will be available, but this is a great event for kids, too — youngsters will be able to work on arts and crafts at the kids fair. And everyone will be able to enjoy the famous 6-foot gator cake. Live music from Electric Lemon will fill Main Street, which will be closed off from Snowmass to Second.
“We’re expanding,” Oberman said. “The event has gotten bigger, and our yard has stayed the same. So the town of Carbondale has graciously allowed us to expand into the street. We’re going to have tents, tables and the food all set up outside, then inside will be the silent auction of both artwork and all of our local valley gift certificates, restaurants or whatever experience people are donating to us this year.”
Oberman said Cajun Clay offers a unique opportunity for the local ceramic arts lover because of the collaborative nature of all the bowls.
“The thing that’s really awesome about the bowls this year is there’s a real collaborative spirit to them,” she said. “One artist may have made the bowl, a different artist trimmed the bowl, a different artist glazed the bowl, somebody else is going to decorate the bowl. So there are a lot of different hands on it, which makes it an incredibly unique, one-of-a-kind bowl. Our local artists make great work on their own, but you can always get a bowl by Diane Kenney. You can’t always get a bowl that Peg Malloy threw and one of the residents here decorated. So I think it’s really special.”
For those attendees who are more interested in the food or party aspect of the event, this year is also a special one.
Oberman said she tries to change up the chef each year to feature a variety of talented locals in the food scene. Last year, they landed Mark Fischer of Town, Phat Thai and The Pullman fame. This year, Andreas Fischbacher from Allegria will be making gumbo and debuting a crawfish boil. A vegetarian option will be provided by Pan and Fork, and food from The Goat and Peppinos will also be available.
Cajun Clay is certainly fun whether you’re a ceramic connoisseur or not, but Oberman certainly loves the idea of sending everyone home with a handmade bowl.
“We’ve been talking with our board, and we’ve been moving toward trying to articulate what our mission is in 2015,” Oberman said. “The mission has not changed drastically since we started; we still offer classes, we still offer residency programs, we still offer a gallery, we still do outreach, all in the pursuit of education in the arts and to better our community.
“But we also have this little mission to get ceramics into any home. And at Cajun Clay, they get to have a delicious meal with friends on a lovely, warm summer night, and they get to take home a piece of the Clay Center and have a bowl to remember their time and to use for the rest of their lives.”
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