The 2012 Clayfolk Show and Sale offers people the chance to see works by regional ceramic artists, buy holiday gifts, and support the region's creative arts.

The 2012 Clayfolk Show and Sale offers people the chance to see works by regional ceramic artists, buy holiday gifts and support the region's creative arts.

Delicate jewelry, grand sculptures, functional dinner ware, whimsical garden art and other works — all of which began as humble balls of clay — will highlight the 37th annual preholiday event, held from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at the Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway.

"It's the biggest clay event in Southern Oregon and one of the biggest in the state," brags Nancy Leever, spokeswoman for Clayfolk, a local nonprofit group dedicated to promoting ceramic art and education in the area.

The show will feature ceramic works by about 70 artists, most of them local but a few from Northern California, Portland, Eugene and Bend. Artists will exhibit their works at group booths or share a table with another artist.

Leever, who has participated in the show for the past four years, has about 150 pieces — a year's worth of time and creativity — to display and, hopefully, sell. In past years, she has been able to sell about two-thirds of her colorful, youthful works, which closely resemble Fiesta dinnerware.

"I've been concentrating on bright, contrasting colors, and I've been very successful with it," she says. "My bowls are two-toned with one color on the inside and another color on the rim and outside.

"It's always a joyful experience when you open the kiln — as long as everything turned out OK — and see all the beautiful colors."

Leever fell in love with pottery in the 1970s, took a class at Clackamas Community College and later minored in art at Southern Oregon University.

About a decade ago, after a 30-year hiatus, she decided to again pursue the art. She found a wheel, kiln and slab roller on Craigslist and got to work, turning her husband's backyard workshop in a studio.

Bowls are her specialty and are available in many sizes, which can be mixed and matched to form sets. They are all microwave, oven and dishwasher safe and cost between $6 and $70 depending on the size and intricacy.

Full-time ceramic artist Alissa Clark will be set up at a booth near Leever's. Clark has a studio in the Ashland Art Center and also manages the center's ceramic studio. She will bring about 100 mugs, "her bread and butter," along with some whimsical, Dr. Seuss-style vases to the show.

"I call them 'fun, modern wares with a whimsical twist,' and I like bright colors and cheerful patterns," she says.

Clark will give a demonstration of her "whimsical handbuilding" at 2 p.m. Sunday. Other artists will demonstrate wheel-throwing, carving and other clay techniques on Saturday and Sunday.

There will be live music by the local high school group Vocal Absurdities as well as light refreshments on Friday evening, and a kids' clay area will be open to aspiring young artists from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

A complete list of participating artists and a full schedule of events is available at