On Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6 and 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tony and Nancy Oliveri will bring Keag River Pottery back to the Midcoast for their fourth annual pottery exhibit and sale at the Ocean View Grange, Route 131.

Tony Oliveri learned to make pottery in 1968-69 while working towards a master’s degree in urban planning at Hunter College in New York City. He is completely self-taught and this is reflected in his unique style and designs.

From 1972 through the fall of 2007, when the couple moved Downeast and closed their retail shop, Oliveri made and sold his stoneware plates, bowls and mugs in an old barn next to their home in South Thomaston. In the early days, heavy stoneware wine goblets, hanging wall planters and colanders were top sellers. One evening in their first summer, a goat was in the shop, his hoofs planted on the back wall as he nibbled on a tasty philodendron trailing from one of the planters.

Over the almost four decades of selling his wares, Oliveri also created several designs that have become favorites. Two of them in particular involve a lot of detailed hand work as they depict the blue lupines that bloom so prolifically in Maine’s cool climate; and the coastal islands. The Coastal Islands design is composed of layered glazes and forms an organic whole with the pot itself; it is not painted on top of the glaze, but was developed by accident in the early 1980s while experimenting with layered glazes. A customer noticed that when the glazes ran together on one particular vase, it looked like spruce-covered islands in a heavy fog.

Recent travels have taken Nancy and Tony to the Southwest where the quality of the light and the landscape, along with the traditions of the pueblo pottery of the Rio Grand Valley, have inspired new directions in Oliveri’s work.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.