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Totem art stacks up

Beer pairings usually pull meat, cheese or some other foodstuff into partnership with the brew, but the Muddy Waters Clay Center took the pairing concept in a more artistic direction.

Tim Griffis of Grand Forks looks at one of the totems on display at Thursday's Oktoberfest-themed showing at the Muddy Waters Clay Center.
Tim Griffis of Grand Forks looks at one of the totems on display at Thursday's Oktoberfest-themed showing at the Muddy Waters Clay Center.

Beer pairings usually pull meat, cheese or some other foodstuff into partnership with the brew, but the Muddy Waters Clay Center took the pairing concept in a more artistic direction.

The nonprofit collection of ceramic artists opened its display of a series of 16 hand-sculpted totems Thursday in an Oktoberfest-themed showing hosted along with Rhombus Guys Brewing Co.

Muddy Waters President Donald Miller said the colorful 8-foot-tall totems made for the first annual OcTotem Fest were formed piece by piece in a collaborative effort by 16 of the center's artists. The group of sculptors split into two teams, Miller explained, and made eight distinctive totem pieces each.

Those pieces then were stacked on an upright steel rod to make the finished pole.

"They're really pretty impressive; they're a lot of fun," Miller said. "They're made from everything from Thunderbirds with wings to turtles standing on their heads, to masked faces, to these very abstract, almost Christmas-tree things. We had a huge variety of objects made for the totems."

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Though the finished art pieces on display aren't for sale, Miller said the artists have made "several hundred" additional parts that guests can purchase for $15 to $25 apiece to make their own scaled-down versions.

He explained the clay used to make the pieces can withstand the elements, making them suitable for gardens and landscaping decor.

Miller said the collective's artists made about 100 unique mugs to go along with the Rhombus Guys beer sampling.

If you missed the event, the totems will remain on display in Muddy Waters gallery at 2014 13th Ave. N. for the next few weeks. The pieces and mugs also will be for sale until Christmas, Miller said.

The gallery is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Related Topics: ARTRECREATION
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