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‘For the Love of Mud’ Exhibit Opens at ABAC Museum Gallery January 27

TIFTON—After a rainy spell, mud is no friend to South Georgians who try to traverse the slick, back roads of the rural part of the state.   For Walter Hobbs, mud represents a different kind of companion as he spins, molds, and shapes wet clay into beautiful pieces of pottery.

Visitors to the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village will have a chance to see Hobbs’ creations up close and personal at the opening of a tantalizing exhibit titled “For the Love of Mud: The Works of Walter Hobbs” at 10 a.m. on Jan. 27 in the Museum Gallery.

“Known around the Valdosta art scene as an advocate for increasing the accessibility to the artistic process, Walter is no stranger to studying, exploring, teaching, and evolving the art for transforming clay into functional and exhibit pieces of pottery,” Polly Huff, assistant director and curator at the Museum, said.

Hobbs’ teaching career spread over three decades and thousands of students. He was a ceramic studio artist in Valdosta in the 1970s and was later an artist-in-residence at the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta and the Glynn Art Association. He has also been a ceramics instructor at Troy State University, Valdosta State University, and the Lowndes County school system.

“Walter learned from eight ceramics teachers throughout the development years of his craft, one from as far away as Japan,” Huff said. “His work actually shows influences from all eight of them.”

Huff said the opening of the exhibit will include a coffee and pastries reception, a pottery-making demonstration from Hobbs and a brief gallery talk. The opening coincides with another event taking place in the same building, the Wiregrass Farmers Market Annual Plant and Seed Swap. Guests can attend both events with no admission cost.

“When one combines the educational training of an art instructor and the professional development of a ceramics career oriented person, you are presented with a potter that is always evolving and researching new ways to express himself,” Hobbs said. “Whether it be forms, glazes, firing processes, textures or uses, I have always pushed myself to take what I am doing today and use it as a basis for what it may become tomorrow. This approach allows my work to continue to be challenging, and thus rewarding, to myself and to collectors.”

Hobbs’ work has been displayed all over the South in several dozen exhibits. It is also a part of six permanent private and public collections. He shows and sells his work in almost a dozen galleries and shops throughout Georgia and Florida. Hobbs is the recipient of numerous arts awards in Georgia and Florida.

“For the Love of Mud” will showcase various types of clay, including many pieces built from native Georgia clay which is dug by traditional potters in Lizella. Various techniques and processes will be on display such as stoneware and raku. Functional pieces as well as highly complex collectible pieces of art will be on display and for sale for the duration of the exhibit.

The exhibit will be open through March 28. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.   Following the opening reception and demonstration, admission to the exhibit will be included in the daily Museum admission and free with a valid Museum Season Pass.

For questions about “For the Love of Mud” and other Gallery exhibits, interested persons can contact Huff at phuff@abac.edu.

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