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Third annual 'SIP: A Ceramic Cup Show' kicks off this weekend

SIP: A Ceramic Cup Show

Whitefield Center, 106 E. 37th St.

Opening reception Mar. 1, 6-9 p.m.

Closing reception Mar. 8, 6-9 p.m.

Visit for more information.

HOW MUCH consideration do you give to your drinking vessel?

The Savannah Clay Community believes it should be a lot. They celebrate the versatility, beauty, and function of the cup this Friday.

“SIP: A Ceramic Cup Show” is an annual favorite, and this year’s event promises to be even bigger.

In 2017, SIP’s first year, there were around 100 cups submitted. Now, in its third year, there are just under 200 cups.

“Things look a lot brighter,” says David Peterson of the Savannah Clay Community.

In its first year, SIP was held at the now-defunct Non-Fiction Gallery. They then moved to the Whitefield Center on 37th Street, a much better—and bigger—fit.

“Every one of these cups has its own little shelf that we’ve made,” explains Peterson. “They’re the same type of shelf—it’s a kind of clear plastic or Lycra shelf and we set each piece along it. It really comes off well in this space. We had somewhere around 200 people at the opening [last year]. I wouldn’t think 250 people would fit in that place, and it was shoulder to shoulder.”

The Savannah Clay Community puts out a nationwide call for entries, and the jurors take it from there.

“We can only accept so many because we’re limited with space,” says Peterson. “There’s a group of people in charge of that and make decisions on how many and who. The guest juror this year is Liz Zlot Summerfield and she’s a potter of her own right. She’s pretty successful—she does lectures and workshops and seminars, and she makes a lot of stuff that’s very popular.”

The cups range in price and function.

“Some people just do simple stuff, and people will buy it because they don’t want to spend a lot of money, but they can support and buy for $25 or $30,” says Peterson. “Prices will go up to over $200 on some things. Obviously those are more complicated and it runs the gamut, which makes the show really interesting. The potters get together and say, ‘Wow, did you see hers or his? I wonder how they did that!’ It goes on all night long and I spent, three years ago, about $350 on mugs. I had to have them!”

The cups are sold to benefit the Emmaus House, which provides nourishment to Savannah’s hungry. A week after the opening, the people who purchased cups come back for a little test run.

“The people come back, get their cups, take them off the shelves, and we drink wine out of them,” says Peterson.

The Savannah Clay Community also helps the Emmaus House with the Empty Bowl Fundraiser.

“The ceramic community gets together and they make bowls,” explains Peterson. “You go in and just take a bowl. If you’ve got a family, everyone gets a bowl. The chefs from around town make all these fancy soups and other things that go along with it. They raffle off some bigger bowls and they’ve been doing this for years.”

Peterson has been a ceramicist for a long time and enjoys being part of the Savannah Clay Community, which is a warm and welcoming group.

“You don’t have to be potters or ceramic artists or even clay people to belong to the group. You can be anybody you want—anything related to the arts. We have painter and sculptors and people who are just interested in clay. We have over 60 members. They’re not all from Savannah—some like to join and see what we’re doing. Some of them stay members.”