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New Art Exhibit Spotlights Styles from Intricate to Intimate

"Lana Wilson Invites" features the work of an admired clay sculptor and four contemporaries selected by the artist.

Learning is an experience best shared with others.

That’s why even after spending the last 40 years studying the craft—and stopping to share her techniques in New Zealand, South Africa and Israel—the California native Lana Wilson turned down the offer of a solo exhibit at Port Chester's Clay Art Center.

Instead, the longtime columnist for Clay Times Magazine chose to share the experience and the spotlight at an opening reception tomorrow, which will kick off a group show with a handful of other artists  from around the country.

The result: Lana Wilson Invites, a compilation of functional pieces by Wilson, Minnesotan artist Margaret Bohls, San Diego claymaker Nan Coffin, Bernadette Curran of Pennyslvania and Leah Leitson from North Carolina.

“[Wilson] wasn’t interested in doing a solo show—she wanted to instead invite potters whose work she admires, and show with them,” said Leigh Mickelson, program director of .

For gallery attendees, that means a chance to check out broader a range of styles and techniques than the typical art exhibit.

“It will be interesting for viewers to look at a piece from each of the women and see which one they liked the best then to figure out why,” Wilson said.

White porcelain jars by Margaret Bohls are intricate and detailed, while one of Curran's plates reflects her history as an art teacher in Philadelphia.

That diversity in background is part of the reason Wilson picked these women to show with.

“You can look at five different cups with all different attitudes: mine have a color, hips and more direction to them, while the pieces by Margaret [Bohls] are more carefully made—there’s a real range within the group,” she added.

Gallery-goers should also pay special attention to antique-inspired work by Leah Leitson: the off-white hues and careful carving suggest they may have been part of a china set dusted off in the troves of your grandmother's attic.

"There's a different quality to all five artists all in different stages of their careers,"  Mickelson noted.

Lana Wilson Invites opens tomorrow, May 14, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit is open to the public and runs until June 11. Clay Art Center is located 40 Beech St. in Port Chester.

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