Drive a half-mile north of the Ravenel Bridge on Morrison Drive to find a stellar example of how Charleston artists have a way of reinventing space to showcase their talents.
In a canary yellow building on the right is Cone 10 Studios and Clay Gallery, which reopened the middle of December with a new location and a new name.
"This building, formerly an ice-cream company, gives us more space than our previous location at 285 Meeting St.," says Betsey Carter, manager and co-owner of Cone 10.
She and other gallery members renovated the space.
With a degree in art from Agnes Scott College and a master's in library science from Emory University, Carter worked as a librarian at The Citadel for 25 years.
"For years, while I was a librarian, I also worked at the studio on weekends, which was good because it made me use both sides of my brain," she says. "But when I reached 55, I decided to retire to devote myself full-time to art.
"Cone 10 is an LLC (Limited Liability Company) that five of us formed in a partnership to own and run the studio and gallery. Also, we have 16 member artists who rent their work space from the owners, giving us a total of 21 members."
The 3,600-square-foot interior of the building is filled with mugs, bowls, goblets and dishes in various stages of creation.
Finished pieces are arranged at the front of the studio, ready to be sold.
"All our pottery, whether utilitarian or decorative is safe for food and drink," says Carter. "To cover the clay form, we make our own glazes and then we fire the kiln to cone 10 (a level of heat), which causes a molecular change in the glaze and creates various colors."
Pointing out that the studio contains 13 wheels, three electric kilns and one large Geil gas reduction kiln, she says, "Our members teach classes here at several levels, and many of them regularly show their work in galleries all over the country."
One such person is Fiorenzo Berardozzi of Italy, who has been in Charleston since 2001. While stirring a large blob of clay to be recycled, Berardozzi adds that he teaches internationally.
"I conduct artist-in-residence programs," he says. "This year, it was in Amakusa, a city in Japan where I taught sculpture for a month. The program was based on using the porcelain clay that is mined right in that area. It was a fascinating experience."
Berardozzi is one of the owners of Cone 10, along with Carter, Juliann Bannon, Anne John and Susan Gregory.
For more information, go to www.cone10studios.com or call 853-3345. The gallery is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 1-6 p.m. Sunday.
'Large Works' extended
While the economy has not been kind to many gallery owners, Karen Hagan is not complaining.
The painter who owns Hagan Fine Art Gallery & Studio at 27 1/2 State St., had planned to take down the 30 landscape paintings in her "Charleston's Large Works" show Dec. 31.
The response has been so great, it will run through Jan. 15.
"I couldn't be more pleased, and it is wonderful to work with guest artists whom I have met at workshops all over the world," says Hagan, as she shows off her first gallery, acquired in August after having worked a year at the Welles Gallery and eight years at the Ella Richardson Gallery.
To help pay the rent, Sandra Ericksen of Sandra Ericksen Design shares a corner in the same space.
The guest artists are plein air painters, including Hagan, whose large Italian landscape is immediately attention-grabbing. It's not surprising since she has taught painting near Sienna, Italy, for five summers.
Also on view is the work of Tennessean Brett Weaver, who travels about, living out of his car and painting whatever catches his eye.
Guest artist Dee Beard Dean has created "King Street," which exudes a Hopper-esque quality, although softer. Hagan says her big sellers are marsh scenes, such as one by Gloria Mani.
Becoming an artist almost by accident, Hagan sold advertising for radio. Then one day she walked past John Carroll Doyle's gallery, was struck by his talent, and asked if he would teach her to paint.
"He kindly taught me for free, and said, 'Paint outside. It's there you will find your truth,' " recalls Hagan. "And he was right."
Hagan's gallery is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.