East Valley pottery tour this weekend

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Five Northwest Montana potters are kicking off the summer season with the first-ever East Valley Pottery Tour this Saturday and Sunday.

The two-day event is a free, self-guided driving tour to five different pottery studios. Within each studio, at least one guest artist — from a variety of mediums — will also be on hand, creating what organizer Tim Carlburg called “five pop-up art venue(s).”

The idea came from something Carlburg and his wife saw on the other side of the country.

“Traditionally down south, in the North Carolina/Georgia area, if (potters) worked all winter they’d have a big spring kiln-opening party,” he said.

Participating studios include Carlburg Pottery and Glacier Round House Pottery in Columbia Falls, Loon Lake Pottery and Tile by Fire in Bigfork, and Heidi Haugen Pottery in West Glacier. Potters at all the studios and the guest artists will be on hand to interact with customers.

The tour runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

The tour also includes a poker run on Saturday, with each venue giving away playing cards and guests trying to build the best poker hand. At an after party at Coram’s Glacier Distilling Co., those with the best poker hands will receive prize baskets from all of the participating artists.

“For most artists in the valley, right after the holidays there is a little bit of a lull,” Carlburg said. “With the shoulder season, we’re right after Mother’s Day, right before Memorial Day, Going-to-the-Sun Road isn’t open yet, the mountain is closed, people are looking for things to do.

“It just seems like the perfect time to host an event like this.”

For more information, including a map to all of the studios, find East Valley Pottery Tour on Facebook.

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