BC Clay Art (Priceville)
The Maker: Brian Corry
Stanley keeps an odd look on his exterior. And his expression – a chosen frown – won’t change, regardless of how long you remain in the studio of his creator: clay artist Brian Corry. Stanley is a clay pot, brought to life by Corry in his Priceville studio near Decatur. Although Corry and his customers love the creation, he won’t sell Stanley.
“Stanley is sometimes referred to as a face jug and sometimes an ugly jug,” said Corry. “I’m highly influenced by history and when you look at face jugs in history, around the 19th century, if the jug had an ugly face, it typically communicated not to drink the liquid in it and was a deterrent for children.”
History influences Corry’s creations known as ring jugs or Switzel jugs. They were popular in the late 1800s when workers would put their drinks in a nearby stream to stay cold. Corry loves combining history with clay art.
“I actually refer to myself as a clay artist because I like the diversity clay brings. I find myself making a lot of mugs, cups, bowls and plates. Then I start to make more sculptural and historical work,” Corry said.
Corry sells his items through word of mouth, referrals and commissions. He exhibits at the River Clay Fine Arts Festival in Decatur. He’s also a permanent feature at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi. Corry is a big fan of George Ohr’s work.
“He (George Ohr, self-proclaimed Mad Potter of Biloxi) is another famous potter and a wonderful character to know. He made all these faces that made people laugh, which was interesting, because there was certainly nothing to laugh about in the 19th century,” Corry said laughing.
In addition to the ring jugs and face jugs, Corry makes usable pottery like coffee mugs, plates and bowls. The way Corry fires his pots leads to a long life for the art pieces.
“It’s strong and it’s durable. I tell people that this could potentially last a thousand years. How cool is that? My handprint on a piece of pottery that could outlive me and still be enjoyed. I think that’s very powerful,” Corry said.
Corry loves clay art so much he gave up a lucrative career with a large company to do his art. He has no regrets. Seeing his work at shows and in people’s homes beings him a great deal of satisfaction.
“I worked as a graphic artist for a number of years and had a cubicle and worked for some pretty large corporations. Then I took a ceramics class and fell in love with clay. I love the feel and the way you can just manipulate the material,” Corry said.
Whether Stanley the face jug eventually smiles or not remains to be seen. All Brian Corry knows is Stanley brings joy to many who look at his frowning face in his studio.
For more visit, https://www.facebook.com/brian.corry.16/photos
The product: Variety of clay pots, ring jugs, mugs, plates and bowls
Take Home: A coffee mug with a smiley face: $85