Door County Art News: Schwaller’s “Inspirational Symbols in Clay” Opens in Gallery 242

On Tuesday, November 4, Egg Harbor pottery artist Reneé Schwaller will open her new exhibition, titled “Inspirational Symbols in Clay,” in Gallery 242 on the lower level of the Fairfield Art Center in Sturgeon Bay. The well-known peninsula artist will host an opening reception in the 242 at 6:30 pm on Nov. 6; it is open free to the public, and guests may enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres while they view the artwork.

“Reneé Schwaller: Inspirational Symbols in Clay” comprises functional, colorful pieces of pottery – such as bowls, vases, teapots, covered jars and mirrors – that are decorated with symbolic images. The artist crafted each piece from start to finish at her Egg Harbor studio, Off the Wheel Pottery, which she has owned and operated since 1998.

“The technique I use is sgraffito, in which I carve through an underglaze or slip (on greenware) to reveal a design that resembles a woodcut,” Schwaller explains. “The piece is then bisque-fired; I apply a wax resist to the design, glaze the rest of the piece and do a glaze firing. This method is very time-consuming, but the texture and depth it creates is so worth it.”

The symbolic images are simple images, primarily derived from nature, each of which has a special meaning. Some symbols are incorporated from other cultures, while others are more universal in meaning and interpretation.

Visitors to Gallery 242 will be able to reflect on the meanings of Schwaller’s symbology thanks to a special exhibition display. The images will be depicted on carved tiles, which will be mounted on the wall with a description of the symbols’ meanings.

To learn more about the artist and her work, visit

The exhibit will be on display through November 29. The next exhibit in Gallery 242 will feature the work of Stacia Dick-Schuster.

The art center is open free to the public from 10 am – 5 pm Tuesday through Friday; and 10 am – 4 pm Saturday.

For more information, call 920.746.0001, send email to info@fairfield or visit