Artwork by Richard Acton of Terre Haute will be featured throughout April in River City Art Association’s Artist of the Month gallery in the Vigo County Public Library at Seventh and Poplar streets.
Acton majored in industrial arts education in college which led to an interest in building and repairing things in wood using a variety of carpentry tools. In 2014, he pursued a more creative outlet requiring only a few basic potter’s tools. After taking classes at John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina and at Indiana State University, working with clay became his medium of choice.
Acton recently completed a clay eagle titled “Proud” for RCAA’s exhibition next month in Terre Haute Masonic Temple celebrating Indiana’s bicentennial. “It seems that eagles are becoming quite popular in the Wabash Valley,” Acton said.
An earlier piece titled “Just Leaves” was inspired on a trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., where Acton saw numerous vases with trees, leaves and many cut-out designs. “I wanted to try it due to the fact that I had admired this type of work,” Acton said.
“My ideas come from a variety of sources and since I am a novice in this medium, I try many different methods of using the clay. Each piece will take up to two weeks to complete because of the clay drying and being prepared for the kiln. Each piece is a learning process due to the fact that a lot of it is trial and error until I truly learn the fundamentals of working with clay,” Acton said.
Getting pieces ready to display requires careful thought. “Clay is usually a stand alone medium and does not always look good in the typical frame,” Acton explained.
Since most art shows require pieces wired for hanging, Acton must decide on just the right presentation for each design. He either complements the clay with a piece of natural wood or a rustic frame.
Acton’s artwork also will be featured in May in RCAA’s Artist of the Month gallery in Harrison College.
RCAA meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the VCPL. For membership information visit RiverCityArt.org or contact Mike Bender, RCAA president, at 812-251-7724.