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Conner Burns to host 21st annual pottery exhibit

By LYNDY BERRYHILL

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Art lovers interested in an evening of conversation and community can look forward to a Natchez artist’s annual open house later this month.

Potter Conner Burns is hosting his 21st annual Open House and Studio Sale from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, at his newly renovated 209 Franklin St. studio space.

Burns said attendees could expect great artwork, great food and great conversation and some firsthand looks at his latest endeavors.

“They can also expect to see the current progress on my new studio,” Burns said. “It’s a vision that I had 18 years ago.”

Burns has spent the previous months renovating his new living and studio space. His former studio now houses the Mississippi School of Folk Arts. He moved his clay-worker’s haven across the courtyard where he will host the open house.

“It has taken me a bit of time to renovate,” Burns said.

Guests will also see re-envisioned pottery.

“I’ve revisited some forms I haven’t made much recently that people are interested in seeing,” Burns said, adding he started remaking drinking vessels that were once popular with his collectors.

As a potter, Burns uses natural materials and shapes to craft vessels with a quality he calls “organic fluidity.” Burns makes cups, bowls, teapots, vases and decorative sculptures.

Burns also teaches workshops throughout the nation for professional and amateur artists. His work is featured in books. He has received awards from galleries, art festivals, art associations and national clay organizations. His work has been exhibited widely and is in collections throughout Europe, Asia and the United States.

Burns said the event would follow local health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Since attendees can spread out into the courtyard and into his new studio space, Burns said he expects adequate space will be available for people to spread out.

Burns said he is unsure how many people to expect, but he hopes to see many familiar faces.

“In the past, the community has been very supportive of me and my artwork, so I’m really thankful for those who have supported me over the years,” Burns said.

Burns began hosting open house events during the last two years he lived in Kansas City, Missouri. But it was not until Burns moved back to Natchez that he molded the event into its current form.

“At that point, it grew into what it is today,” Burns said.

Burns opens his studio to the public and gives tours every year. He will have artwork displayed and available for purchase.

His mother and aunt will provide homemade food for guests, as is tradition.

Burns said the event is special because it gives guests a deeper impression of the art and his craftsmanship.

“Most of the time when people see artwork, it’s in a gallery space,” Burns said. “Here, they can see the art in its own environment, so they can get a better feel for the process.”

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