Darby Ortolano is one one of nine potters being featured on the sixth annual Shawnee Hills Pottery Trail. The event, with six stops through Jackson and Union counties, will take place May 1-2.

The sixth annual Shawnee Hills Pottery Trail event will take place 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, May 1, and Sunday May 2.

Nine potters will be featured on the self-guided driving/biking trail that includes six stops through Jackson and Union counties.

The event is open and free for everyone. The potters request all guests wear a mask and practice social distancing while visiting their spaces.

“The trail gives the public a chance to interact with the potters, see their creations and view demonstrations,” said trail member Dan Johnnson. “If you are traveling in the Shawnee Hills, the Illinois Ozarks, perhaps checking out the Wine Trail or Giant City State Park, the Pottery Trail would be a fun diversion.”

There will also be pottery for sale at each stop. A Pottery Trail passport will be available at any stop and, if completed with a stamp from each stop, will give the visitor a chance to win free pottery.

The potters include Johnson, Steve Grimmer, Harris Deller, Stephanie Dukat, Darby Ortolano, Beth and Gene Smout, Karen Fiorino and Katelyn Heins.

“Each potter brings their unique style and firing technique to the creation of their works,” Johnson said. “From colorful majolica pieces, delicate porcelain works, to wood-fired sculptural stoneware, these potters work in a variety of ceramic traditions. They live and have their studios located in the beautiful rolling Shawnee Hills here in southern Illinois. They take their inspiration from the nature around them — real and invented stories, functional needs of the everyday and the long history of sculptural clay and pottery throughout the ages.”

The Shawnee Hills Pottery Trail website, which includes information on each of the potters and maps of the trail, is potterstrail.wix Its Facebook page is

The Pottery Trail is partially supported by a grant from the Murphysboro Tourism Commission.

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