The Clay Place

Page 1


Did you Know Our pieces are oven, dishwasher and microwave safe?

How were we Established? HIDDEN BEAUTY

The Clay Place: You can't help but fall in love!

Where in the World

Can you find our environmental ceramic pieces? Involved in Meeting Planning? We offer unique, one-of-a-kind Executive gifts!

Mission: Creating Unique Artistic Usable Pottery.

Annual Event 5 Painters & A Potter March 20th 11am-5pm

Art by Phil Fisher



2 3 Naples Daily News, James Rice


The First Professional Pottery How were we Established?

8 Can you find

our environmental ceramic pieces?


You can't help but fall in love.

11 Our pieces are oven, dishwasher and microwave safe?



The Clay Place:

Learn what we have created!

Meeting Planning? We offer unique, one-of-a-kind Executive gifts!

Online Love. Online we offer our company history, a Shop, Blog about the latest News, POEM FISH quotes, video, and slide shows of our artwork. You can also find us on social media sites like twitter, facebook, and youtube.


We specialize in POEM FISH that give you the opportunity to customize your own special saying or enjoy one of our unique poems. FISHERMAN: A Fisherman lives here with the catch of his life! TEACHER - A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, touches a heart. FRIENDSHIP - Friendship is a promise made in the heart, unbreakable by distance, unchangeable by time.


We have created a page on our website to list all the local resources we find of interest. If you'd like to be listed contact us! Editor NICOLE FLOTHE Photographers Courtesy of NDN Articles Courtesy of NDN Managing Editor CHERYL FLOTHE CONNECT WWW.TWITTER.COM/NAPLESCLAYPLACE FACEBOOK THE CLAY PLACE



letter from the editor Designer Bowl Enjoy some fresh grapes in this beautiful ceramic bowl.


hile I worked on The Clay Place magazine, the company has gone through a website

makeover and joined the social media era. It's exciting about the updates and connections they will be able to establish and continue to bring the latest news online. The Clay Place's Mission statement is, To Create Unique Artistic Usable Pottery for enjoyment and functionality. Jim Rice has been creating Professional Pottery since 1973 and has established a wide variety of connections in the art industry. I met Jim by accident; I believe it was meant to be! One day I was driving on Shadowlawn & just happened to have some free time. I looked across Davis Blvd. and saw The Clay Place sign. Since I recently got the "Let's Create Pottery" on my iPhone I've been fascinated with


by Jim's Clay Place I enjoyed looking around and checking out all the beautiful creations. I asked him if he was on Facebook and he hadn't yet made the move to social media. I told him I could help if he was interested and from there our connection and friendship began!

Nicole Flothe

someday creating pottery. Virtual pottery is the closet thing I've done. When I stopped



Since 1973

How were we Established?


ames Rice has been very sucessful in establishing the first professional pottery in Naples, Florida in 1973.

Jim received his technical training at the Ohio State University; has taught in Colorado, Maine, and Florida; then moved to Naples to pursue his career. Mr. Rice has created environmental ceramic pieces including fireplaces, wall murals, pool tiles, fountains, animals, and planters. His repertoire of functional works includes place settings of dishes, serving bowls, and decorative pieces highlighted by his lively fish platters which are oven, dishwasher and microwave safe.



His custom work and commissions are installed in private homes and public buildings throughout the country. James Rice has converted his craft into a fine art and his works reflect confidence, vigor and the joy of living. Over the years The Clay Place has been the focus of many articles in Florida. We would like to highlight some of the coverage for you, to give you a better understanding of The Clay Place, and owner/artist Jim Rice. Listed in this magazine are a few of the headlines that have been used to describe Jim and The Clay Place.


our creations


"All Fired Up Over Pottery" "Plattery will get you everywhere" "Feats of Clay" "Potter finds something fishy in his job" "Passionate About Pottery" "Art lovers call Naples Paradise" "Rice and Fish -Not a Japanese Dish"

Excerpt from The Rotarian: "Only through art," said Marcel Prouse, "can we get outside ourselves and know another's view of the universe..." In September 1994, we posted a brief note in our By the Way column asking for news of Rotarians who were artists. We expected to hear from a dozen or so readers. Instead, we were deluged with letters and fax messages from Rotarian artists eager to share with us their own particular views of the universe. Over the course of six or seven months, we heard from more than 50 painters, sculptors, print makers, potters, weavers, fabric artists, architects, billboard designers, and musicians -- even a few poets. Correspondents told us how they contributed artwork to their clubs or districts for fundraising events, organized art shows, or gave demonstrations of their skills as club programs. We ended up with more than enough material to create a "gallery" of our own, and the following pages provide a brief glimpse of it. The artists selected represent a much larger group of creative men and women from around the world whose work we will try to showcase in other ways, at other times. "Thanks to art," noted Proust, "instead of seeing a single world, our own, we see it multiply until we have before us as many worlds as there are original artists." Welcome to our gallery, enjoy your view of other worlds. - CHARLES W. PRATT, FOR THE EDITORS



ames Rice of Naples, Florida, describes himself as a professional potter whose goal is to produce functional artwork.

Although he is known across the US for his distinctive handpainted fish plates and platters, Jim has also created vases, tiles, furniture, murals, and fountains. As owner of The Clay Place, he crafts clay into "beautiful objects that can be part of people's daily lives." Jim opens up his studio to Scout troops and student field trips. The studio has become a public resource, he says. A group study Exchange team member to Sweden in 1982, he lead a GSE team from Florida to South Africa in 1990. The Paul Harris Fellow and Rotary Foundation Benefactor is a 10-year board member of his Rotary Club of Naples-Pelican Bay. Jim has served as the District 6960 GSE chairman for seven years.

Article taken from Naples Daily News, September 12, 1997


he potter's

craft is give and take. Pressure brings a lump of clay under control, but it is a gentle hand that guides a pot during its creation. James Rice and Steve Kravec know how clay feels. For years they have pushed, pulled, rolled and poured it into an abundance of forms, then glazed it, fired it and produced something greater than the sum of its parts. They are artisans, passionate about pottery, and they have found Southwest Florida to be a perfect environment to pursue careers in clay. James Rice Under a green canopy of tropical trees, white and purple bougainvillea cascade down a corner of Jim Rice's office at The Clay Place. Inside the compound of low stucco buildings, a fountain embedded with colorful elay fish platters gurgles quietly in a grove of bamboo. "I bought this place because of the vegetation," Rice said with a sweeping gesture of his pottery studio, "It's a great environment to work in." His two huge Dalmations, Glaze and Platter, dutifully patrol the area and wag tails amiably for friends.



History In 1973, after coming to Naples to visit his parents, Rice decided he had found a good place to set up his wheel. The Clay Place has been Rice's Shadowlawn Drive studio for 14 years. Rice loves life, whether it's in the form of Southwest Florida's lush landscape, in the spirited explosion of hues that give his clay work its character, or in his own family - Barbara, Rice's artist wife, young daughter Anna and new baby born this week. "God inspires me, good friends inspire me, the weather down here, the friendly folks, I'm just getting ready to throw a bunch of pots and I'm sure Barney's going to inspire a couple." Rice said referring to the children's television character. Rice's rainbow fish platters have become his trademark. "It all started as a way to take a filet out of the oven and straight to the table. They really took off." said Rice.



he fish

are nice, because you can make a thousand different designs and they're not right or wrong. I try to put six to eight colors on everything. My basic attitude is that good art doesn't have to match your couch."

Rice has about 150 dealers who sell his fish, with several locations in Naples, including Boat Haven, The Mole Hole, Willford & Lee, Exquisite and the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. He also does quite a bit of custom work, even fabricating tile fireplaces. "The fish are my bread and butter," Rice explained.

Originally from Ohio, where he received his technical training at Ohio State University, Rice has become one symbol of Naples art. When the historic Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club began several years ago to redecorate using local artists' work, Rice was one of those chosen to contribute. His popular fish became distinctive room, patio and hallway signs. One of Rice's original goals - which the fish platters accomplished long ago - was to provide people with functional pieces that they could use every day. "I take it for granted, but there are people who have come through the studio who have never seen a hand made vessel, never seen anything made on a potter's wheel. They have never seen a coffee mug other than the kind you buy at Publix for a buck forty nine," said Rice, "A mug I make is signed and dated on the bottom - it has a handmade feel. So for $12.50 I make a point. I try to raise people's consciousness." Rice's fish platters inadvertently have also inspired outdoor pieces such as stepping stones, mosaic picnic tables and benches, and the fountain. "Fish would come back from the stores broken, and I hated to throw them away," said Rice. "You know, I just spend so much time and energy making these things."



Energy is something Rice seems to have a lot of. He tries to work in the studio from 10 to 5 on weekdays and all day Saturday - in addition to running an aquatic wheelchair business. Rice is also very active with the Rotary in town. Clay has its hold on him, though. "I can spend my whole life just working with clay and not scratch all the different areas," said Rice. "Potters are like birds, they all have their own songs. I make pottery one way, Steve Kravoc makes it another way that is the beauty of the medium." Article from Sept. 12, 1997

THE CLAY PLACE MAGAZINE Pass through the arbor of The Clay Place and the air is a bit different, a bit lighter as long-time Naples residents mingle over local artwork. On Sunday, the attitude was one of a backyard gathering more than an art show at the annual Five Painters and a Potter event, with understated live music and a small throng of people braving dipping temperatures and cloudy skies. “We’re having a great time,” said painter Phil Fisher. “It’s a great crowd. It’s bad weather, but people have warm hearts.”


Fisher is part of a close-knit group of artists in Naples who have been around for a few decades, well before Naples became a golfing destination and epicenter of the real estate explosion.

id you know?

Our pieces are oven, dishwasher and microwave safe!

We pride ourselves that we create pottery that can be unique, artistic, and usable. One of our recent customers bought a tray that they can serve fruit in, cook a special meal in the oven, or reheat the same meal.

“I get grouped as one of the old-timers here now,” he said. “That’s starting to feel more comfortable to me.” Comfort seems to be a main point at the Five Painters event, where each of the artists cites the community atmosphere as the most important feature. Potter Jim Rice hosts the event at his workshop and gallery, which enclose a secluded courtyard shaded by a stand of bamboo and palm trees. “If things don’t sell, it’s OK,” said painter Natalie Guess, Fisher’s wife. “We’re more here to see people and show them what we’re doing.” Still, in spite of a down economy and fewer visitors to Southwest Florida this season, paintings were selling on Sunday. Perhaps that’s because many of the attendees at Five Painters and a Potter are true locals, as they profess, and keep coming back to the event year after year.

Where in the World,

Can you find our environmental ceramic pieces? Art Lovers Haven March 1, 2009 Naples Daily News Annual art show does things a bit differently, and many like it that way. By LESLIE WILLIAMS (Contact) 7:16 p.m., Sunday, March 1, 2009 NAPLES — Nestled at the edge of East Naples lies an art lover’s haven.



“Jim Rice has been a friend since we came to town,” said Naples resident Mark Miller, 60. “It’s a time to catch up with old friends.” His wife, Darlene Miller, was sitting nearby to have her portrait drawn by caricature artist Jeff Fessenden, known around town as Fezz. “It’s small and personal and funky,” Darlene Miller, 66, chimed in. Article from March, 2009


art lovers haven

in the World, Can you find our environmental ceramic pieces?


nce Fessenden

wrapped up drawing the Millers, he turned his attention to a portfolio of murals and trompe l ’oeil work he has done in the area. At times, Fessenden has dedicated himself full time to both the caricature work — he was in high demand in the ‘90s at parties and galas — and to painting murals for businesses and homeowners, which takes up more of his time now.

DAVID ALBERS / Daily News Fourteen-year-old Anna Rice, of Naples, learns to play bluegrass on the fiddle in her father's pottery studio with the help of Naples musicians Joe McNichols, left, and Bob Campbell at the 7th annual "5 Painters and a Potter" event at the Clay Place on Sunday, Mar. 1, 2009, in Naples. The event gathers six longtime artists in Naples, Jerry Vallez, Phil Fisher, Jim Rice, Paul Arsenault, Natalie Guess and Jeff Fessenden, for an afternoon of sharing their work, local music and socializing.

He joined Five Painters and a Potter last year. “I kind of like being thought of as part of the ‘art mafia’ in Naples,” he joked. “It just seemed to be such a fun day. It attracts locals — it’s got such a genuine, homespun quality to it.” So home-spun, in fact, that his wife, Jenny Fessenden, and their 5-year-old daughter, Laura, come along to help. Jenny Fessenden makes prints for her husband and carefully bags them, helping customers while Jeff Fessenden is busy drawing caricatures. Laura provides the moral support only a 5-year-old can. A few paces away, inside Jim Rice’s clean, well-ordered studio, Charleston, S.C., resident Mike Clouse strolled at a leisurely pace. He summed up Sunday’s event in much the same way.



“The art shows (in Charleston) are a lot more sophisticated — it’s not set amongst the trees,” said Clouse, 61. “It’s a great setting.” Clouse, who was visiting friends for a few days, may not have realized he was soaking up a unique vestige of old Florida. Natalie Guess described it as “the way art shows used to be in Naples,” a little less polished, not quite as organized, but rich in charm. “There’s more to it than buying things,” Guess said. “It’s images of things here in the area — because we’ve been here so long.” Article from March, 2009

browsing & buying Ar t

Party arty: Small local shows make buying, browsing more fun By Valerie Syren Posted March 10, 2010 at 8:47p.m.

For artists in Naples, a desire to return to the past may be the best future. It has certainly helped to establish a very special — and very successful — type of art show. Once a year, six local artists get together and host “Five Painters and a Potter,” a small art show that contrasts with the bigger, white-tent shows that are typically prominent in the Naples weekend landscape. In fact, these art soirees are becoming a celebratory way of business life for artists in Collier and south Lee County — several of the artists at the event Sunday will have also been at another Saturday night. In all, six different art/entertainment happenings will give Southwest Florida art lovers plenty to explore, admire and possibly buy. Artists Phil Fisher, Natalie Guess, Paul Arsenault, Jerry Vallez, Jim Rice and Jeff Fessenden have one of the longest running soirees. They’ll be showing and selling their works in various mediums in a beautiful outdoor setting at The Clay Place for the sixth year. Located at Jim Rice’s pottery studio on Shadowlawn Drive just north of Davis Boulevard, its little haven of tropical landscaping provides a perfect backdrop for the artists to showcase their work in a Sunday show known as “Five Painters and a Potter.” Rice, the potter, is joined by the five local painters at his studio, The Clay Place. Local bluegrass music and refreshments will add to the ambience. The show “seemed like a natural evolution of our own individual careers,” said Rice. All of these artists have lived in Naples for more than 20 years. Back when they first began showcasing their artwork in the area, the exhibits were always small and had a more close-knit atmosphere. “Five Painters and a Potter” has successfully attempted to recapture that essence, they say.


S h o w

Photo by DAVID ALBERS, Daily News Naples resident June Sochen, left, and Jane Wahl select a ceramic fish wall piece with at the 7th annual "5 Painters and a Potter" event at the Clay Place on Sunday, Mar. 1, 2009, in Naples. The event gathers six longtime artists in Naples, Jerry Vallez, Phil Fisher, Jim Rice, Paul Arsenault, Natalie Guess and Jeff Fessenden, for an afternoon of sharing their work, local music and socializing. David Albers/ Staff


ice's studio is lush with the vegetation that thrives in Naples. Among the tropical plants, one can find his pottery pieces cleverly tucked in everywhere; his benches and sculptures seem to sprout from the ground just as naturally as the plants that grow there. Mosaic pathways link a few small structures — the studio, the gallery and the office — together. Rice is known for his fish platters, available in numerous sizes and vibrant colors, and able to serve as anything from dinner plates to soap dishes. Along with the platters, Rice also creates decorative wall pieces, mugs, goblets, fountains, even fireplaces. Fessenden produces fine art in trompe l’oeil mural painting and oils as well as humorous pieces, such as the invitations to Five Painters and a Potter.

the clay place Pots and plates, cups and saucers, bowls and goblets comprise Jim's functional artwork studio. Three dimensional reliefs and sea creatures stretch the artist's imagination. Each of Jim's creations is handmade, signed and dated. Ask him how long it takes to transform that clay into a coffee cup, and Rice quickly responds, "20 years".

You can't help but fall in love!


t was his turn to create

the piece, and: he caricatured all of the artists’ faces and placed them on a bright yellow background. Watercolor artist Paul Arsenault will join the others at the event. His landscapes distill a Naples influence. But Arsenault’s world travels mean scenes from Hawaii, Nantucket, the Caribbean Islands, and even Vietnam complement his paintings of Florida palm trees and beaches and old Naples. The natural environment of southwest Florida helps to influential Rice, as well as the other artists featured at this event, and another group who participate in the City Dock area’s “Art after Dark.” This year's March 20th 2011 event postcard was created by Phil Fisher. Join us from 11 am - 5 pm.

Plocinski Photography

"It's all a part of an evolution. I might sit down and make a cup in two minutes, but it took me 20 years to get to the point where I could do it in two minutes."

The fish platters come in a variety of sizes, besides every color envisioned, and their uses are only limited by the imagination. The smallest, for instance, measuring in at 5 x 2-1/2 inches, can hold sauces, jewelry, soap, ashes, paper clips, and coins to name a few. Functional and artistic, these aquatic dishes are quite the catch in Plocinski Photography some 200 stores across the country. Involved in Meeting Planning? We offer unique one-of-a-kind Executive gifts!


THE CLAY PLACE 1555 SHADOWLAWN NAPLES, FLORIDA 34101 Phone or Fax (239) 775-1078