Clay Fest: Everything you need to know about the 8th annual creative extravaganza

Clay Fest
Clay Fest is this weekend.
Courtesy of The Clay Studio

Back for another year, Clay Fest presented by PNC Arts Alive will return to the Clay Studio this Saturday, June 10, with activities for all ages that promote creativity.

“We’ve long recognized just how vital the arts and cultural sector is to our community,” said Joe Meterchick, PNC regional president for Philadelphia, Delaware and Southern New Jersey in a statement. “The PNC team is once again excited to support the arts and cultural organizations in the Delaware Valley. The arts and culture strengthen the local economy and have the power to bring people together. We invite our neighbors to join us and be a part of art.”

Clay Fest
Clay Fest Courtesy of The Clay Studio

Now in its 8th year, this go-around will be the first in the Studio’s new building in South Kensington (1425 N. American St.) from noon to 5 p.m., with free activities spanning hands-on clay projects, wheel throwing demonstrations, a group sculpture activity, artist-led projects, picture frame decorating, an ice cream social, and music.

The frame decorating and other DIY ventures on the 10th span creating your own ceramic Sgraffito tiles, or transforming a clay slab into a bowl (that The Clay Studio will glaze and fire for free.) Kids will also be able to make their own stop-motion animations and bring them to life, and the younger kiddos (ages 3 to 6) can also play with a large dollhouse using clay objects and characters of their own.

Artists will also be on-site at the event with interactive demonstrations. For one, the Clay Studio’s own teaching artist Nitza Walesca will be showcasing ways to craft necklaces with beads and clay pendants, while the Studio’s Associate Artist Robin Williams-Turnage will lead demonstrations for traditional Ghanaian Pottery techniques.

Guest artist and Marine Corps veteran Ehren Tool will also be at Clay Fest offering cups for Philadelphians to decorate to honor the service of Veterans in their lives. And as a release states, veterans and their families are also welcome to bring personal military insignias to make molds or use the ones provided by The Clay Studio.

Another highlight comes in at over 1,000 pounds. This group sculpting activity will take place right outside of the Studio, and was inspired by Roberto Lugo’s mural of Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter from The Roots. Attendees should see it right as they walk in or out.

Then at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., younger kids that are pre-school-age can join Thembi Palmer of Imagine More Story Adventures for a storytelling experience, and then from 2 to 4 p.m., Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream will be on-site with treats. Additionally, visitors can also take a self-guided tour of The Clay Studio’s new building from noon to 4 p.m., with guided behind-the-scenes tours available at 1 and 3 p.m.

Clay Fest
Ghanaian Pottery Techniques with teaching artist Robin Williams-TurnageCourtesy of The Clay Studio

This year’s Clay Fest coincides with several other arts events at neighboring organizations along North American Street.

As a release states, starting at 11 a.m., the Center for Creative Works will host the Arty Party featuring the opening of a new exhibition, Dedicated to the One I Love, artists selling unique works, music, a raffle, and a custom screen printing station. From noon to 6 p.m., InLiquid’s 23rd annual Art for the Cash Poor art fair will take over the 1400 and 1500 blocks of North American Street, with local artists selling works for $250 or less.

Finally, from 4 to 6 p.m., the Northern Liberties CDC presents a neighborhood art crawl, Artists At Work, which features live creation by over a dozen local artists and a performance from the Philadelphia-based touring circus, the Almanac Dance Circus Theater. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information on Clay Fest presented by PNC Arts Alive, visit