I walked by Lamplight before the exhibition and saw Morgan Smith, owner of Lamplight Gallery, arranging new pieces and making preparations for talkative Davis and Elkins students standing by the door whose art would be judged at the 2017 Juried Exhibition that evening.
The artists who exhibited their work study under artist Michael Doig in Davis and Elkins' Department of Art. Attendees of this event milled around, discussing and examining the art while drinking refreshments before voting on their favorite pieces and talking to the young artists about their processes.
I stood around for quite a while in front of the ceramic art. A large black skull with a frying pan, both sculpted ceramics, drew my eye. I looked down at a nest made from ceramic twigs with tiny blue oil drums set in the middle made to look like eggs.
I marveled at the tiny oil drums. They were as small as thimbles. I wondered aloud to local artist Nellie Rose that I liked the nest with oil drums but didn't have the artistic vocabulary to explain why. She said with eyes sparkling, "I'll tell you why you like it so much," and she explained how the artist had to sculpt the tiny oil drums using a pottery wheel. She explained how much care probably went into that process and how the oil drums, which are normally large, must have been an interest to the mind to be placed in a bird's nest.
Another onlooker talked about how the artist grew up in a town that manufactured Teflon, which is why there were ceramic pans. Teflon, he said, is known to be toxic. Further research told me that fumes from Teflon have been known to cause a respiratory condition in birds; hence, the bird's nest.
Many people came from Thomas and beyond to view the art and support the artists. If you're interested in learning more about the program and the artists, the video at the bottom of this page shows Professor Michael Doig and his students at work.