Marvin Zehnder - Ceramic Arts Daily
November 1998
November 1998
Volume 46
Number 9
“Double Cantador,” 8½ inches
in height, water whistle, slip
cast and handbuilt, with
airbrushed terra sigillata, fired
to Cone 01, by Laurie Spencer,
Tulsa, Oklahoma.
31 The Attraction of the Intimate by Glen R. Brown
Third biennial “International Orton Cone Box Show”
35 My Hands Tell Me What I’m Thinking
by Ward Doubet
The Pottery of Kris Nelson
39 Marvin Zehnder by Richard C. Bachus
Influential teacher delves into the “why” of artwork
Texas Clay Traditions
Exhibition of works by educators and their teachers
A new museum and training
center in Ecuador supports the
country’s ceramic heritage and
fosters new growth.
Put a Lid on It
Focusing on containment at the Appalachian Center for Crafts
46 Spraying Paper-Reinforced Clay by W. Lowell Baker
How to produce large lightweight forms
50 New Museum and Education Center in Ecuador
by Judy Blankenship
with Paul Rivet Foundation Residency Program
55 El Rio de la Vida by Laurie Spencer
Intimations of Ecuador
W. Lowell Baker preparing
a sculpture form for
spraying at the University of
Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
59 Fletcher Challenge’s Last Bow by Christine Thacker
The end of New Zealand’s long-standing international show
62 Pairing of Opposites by Kate Bonansinga
Eva Kwong’s Sculptural Vases
65 Cyberclay by Joe Molinaro
An Electronic Pottery Village
with Joining Clayart
The cover: “Color Burst,”
67 Storytelling by David Frank with Carol Wright
Narrative expression in making pots
25 inches in height, stoneware,
fired to Cone 5, by Eva Kwong,
Kent, Ohio; see page 62.
71 Exploring Possibilities by Karen Salicath
Abstract sculpture from the water’s edge
November 1998
Double spouted ewer, 6 inches
in height, by Julia Galloway;
from “Put a Lid On It” at the
Appalachian Center for Crafts.
8 Peg Malloy
Wood-fired ware at Margo’s Pottery and Fine Crafts in Buffalo, Wyoming
8 JudyTitche
Mosaics at Northwest Gallery, Lafayette, Indiana
8 John Glick
Los Angeles County Museum of Art adds piece to collection
8 Seeking Exposure by James Sullivan
Bringing visibility to the University of Arizona program
10 David Austin’s Public Art by Richard C. Bachus
Environmental sculpture in Michigan.
12 Latka Family Show by Terry Riley
Three viewpoints at Commonwheel Gallery, Manitou Springs, Colorado
Editor Ruth C. Butler
Associate Editor Kim Nagorski
Assistant Editor Connie Belcher
Assistant Editor H. Anderson Turner III
Production Specialist Robin Chukes
Advertising Manager Steve Hecker
Circulation Administrator Mary R. Hopkins
Circulation Administrator Mary E. May
Publisher Mark Mecklenborg
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14 Alexandra McCurdy
Vessels and wall hangings at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
16 Canadian Biennial
Eighth competition open to Canadian ceramists
18 Tableware Exhibition
The art of dining at the Louisville Art Association
18 John Jessiman by Bryan McGrath
Functional work at Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute School of Art Gallery
Ceramics Monthly (ISSN 0009-0328) is published monthly,
18 International Biennial in Mexico
except July and August, by The American Ceramic Society, 735
Juried competition in Monterrey
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20 Beverly Prevost
Opinions expressed are those of the contributors and do not
White stoneware at the Oakland Museum of California Collector’s Gallery necessarily represent those of the editors or The American
Ceramic Society.
20 Carol Bradley
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6 Letters
26 New Books
74 Call For Entries
74 International Exhibitions
74 United States Exhibitions
76 Regional Exhibitions
76 Fairs, Festivals and Sales
80 Suggestions
82 Calendar
82 Conferences
82 Solo Exhibitions
84 Group Ceramics Exhibitions
86 Ceramics in Multimedia Exhibitions
88 Fairs, Festivals and Sales
90 Workshops
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In the Coil: The Collector’s Urge by Delia Robinson
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All rights reserved
November 1998
I think raku is clearly a process as opposed
raku is fired in a side chamber of a woodburning kiln, where it gains some reduction. to being a glaze treatment. While glazes are
When mature, it is pulled out and dunked formulated to optimize the process, almost
into water to prevent oxidation. The only any low-fire glaze can be used. Some of
other reference I could find to reduction wasDuncan’s Cone 06—04 glazes are really nice
Good Marketing Advice
in Japanese Ceramics where the author men­ copper reds. Cracklelcrazing is always a
Thanks for publishing the article on
“Niche Marketing for Beginners” by Ivor tioned bisque firing with charcoal. Somehow,function of the fit of glaze to clay. Raku
the carbon was then trapped in the clay bodycrazes because of the wild temperature ex­
Lewis in the JunelJulylAugust issue.
During a five-year stay in the United
(someone will have to explain this one to me)tremes. It should be noted, however, that
States, my friend Elisabeth Stuetzle and I hadand would then affect the glaze color. Red raku-fired slipware will not normally craze
opportunities to participate in several exhibi­raku is fired to maturity, then cooled outside unless you use a crackle glaze. As noted
tions. On returning to Germany, however, the kiln.
above, the coloration of cracklelcrazing on
we had a difficult time finding a gallery in
Japanese raku is fired at a much lower
traditional Japanese ware is a product of use,
which to exhibit, or a shop whose owner
temperature than what we are used to. Leachnot the firing.
would be interested in selling our work. Sincesays 750°C. That is about Cone 017. Japa­
Whatever my feelings are about the use of
we had always enjoyed making pottery for nese raku uses lead in the glaze. Leach even the name, it seems clear that raku has made
flowers while we were in the U.S., we startedworries about the difference between red andthe transition to a new culture. In its journey,
looking for ikebana schools in Germany.
white lead in glazes, but eventually decides it has picked up some new attributes. Raku
Fortunately, we found several ikebana mas­ that they are close enough to be interchange­now has a kind of cachet and romance to it.
ters who were interested in our work. In less able. He talks about the fact that raku is
Many potters market their pieces with blurbs
than six months, we have already contributedporous but that it loses its porosity with use, about the tea ceremony and how raku means
to two ikebana shows.
as the cracks eventually fill up with tea resi­ peaceful. This is a pretty one-dimensional
Ivor Lewis is right. It really is a good idea due. This is how the crackle!crazing pattern reading of an ideogram. Almost all Chinese,
to look for a niche.
gets colored.
and by extension Japanese ideograms, have
Angela Dittmer, Hirrlingen, Germany
Leach’s description of a party where pieceslayers of meaning. It is why almost no one
are fired for the guests after they have paintedwho is not native born understands the
Good Question
decorations on them is about as close as one subtleties of those languages. And, it makes
Another great question for potters would gets to what we all seem to preconceive as about as much sense as using the name Smith
be: What was the most insightful assignment raku. No mention is made of tossing the potsand saying that it has ties to metalworking, or
you received as a student?
into a reduction can. The tale is often told for me to reference Stejskal as meaning
Steve Smith, Ney, Ohio how Paul Soldner accidentally invented this homesick and applying it to my work.
practice after cooling a pot on a patch of
If we are at all concerned about traditions,
What Raku Means to Me
grass. It makes for a good story. It does seemnone of us should use raku to describe our
I was intrigued by Mr(s). Name Withheld to mark the beginnings of the postfiring
work, unless we’ve spent the last ten years
by Request’s inquiry regarding raku in the reduction game that has become synonymousstudying the method in Japan. Perhaps
JunelJulylAugust issue. I would argue that with raku.
“Soldnerization” would be more appropriate.
we should all agree that nothing made in
Truth be told, there are as many different Richard Garriott-Stejskal, Albuquerque, N.M.
America is really raku, but I suspect that will methods of reduction as there are folks doing
never happen. Raku is a family name given raku. Robert Piepenburg uses big piles of Fascinating Means
by a Japanese warlord to a potter whose worksawdust, and he seems to have long dialogues Thanks for the informative article on
he liked. The name has been passed down with the pieces as he piles on sawdust, uncov­Larry Rumble in the September issue. To me,
through nearly five centuries. In the Japaneseers, recovers and squirts each piece with
American materials culture is very interesting.
master apprentice system, it is common for water. Jim Romberg uses one or two sheets ofPotters, such as Larry Rumble, made and
the master to adopt the apprentice andlor fornewspaper and pulls the pieces out of reduc­sold these vessels to satisfy needs for the
the apprentice to take on the master’s name. tion pretty quickly. I have seen others pull a storage and preservation of food items.
In printmaking, this has led to a plethora of piece out of reduction and swing it around to Although potters were prevalent through­
same-sounding names, like Yoshitoshi,
partially reoxidize it, then return it to the
out the Eastern states, each sold his wares
Kuniyoshi, Kunisda, etc. Potters Bernard reduction chamber. Others “burp” the reduc­according to the means available. I found it
Leach and Shoji Hamada were both appren­ tion can to introduce oxygen into the mix, fascinating that this pottery was taken down
ticed in the raku tradition and were both
lightening the amount of reduction they get. the river in a flat. The old photographs used
allowed to use the name.
To judge a raku piece based on the amount to illustrate the article give us a good glimpse
A quick review of the literature shows of reduction is not appropriate.
into the past.
that Japanese (i.e., traditional) raku is not
When I first encountered raku in the mid
Judy Dechar, Atlanta
the same as our understanding of raku. Leach1960s, the clay body we used was so loaded
states that there are two kinds of raku, red with grog, it felt a bit like concrete. Since
Kiln Wiring Clarification
and black. The difference is that the black then, I have seen everything from porcelain
As I was going over an installation of a
to casting slip used in raku. Several of us
new three-phase kiln recently purchased from
In keeping with our commitment to provide
experimented with different bisque tempera­ our company, the customer mentioned he
an open forum for the exchange of ideas
tures to try to improve durability. And, whilehad seen an answer in the Questions column
and opinions, the editors welcome letters
Cone 1 seems to be the limit (pieces lose theirof Ceramics Monthly regarding a kiln with
from all readers. All letters must be signed,
porosity, don’t readily accept glaze and crack three-phase power. On reading the item, I
but names will be withheld on request. Mail
easier with quick temperature changes), I did found I must disagree with several state­
to Ceramics Monthly, PO Box 6102,
see someone actually glaze and fire a piece ofments; from the beginning:
Westerville, OH 43086-6102, e-mail to
Cone 6 stoneware without a problem. As I
The kiln in question could very well be
[email protected] or fax to
remember it, they even tossed it into a water wired for three-phase power. A three-phase
(614) 891-8960.
bucket to cool.
Please turn to page 102
Up Front
Peg Malloy
Wood-fired stoneware and porcelain by Carbondale, Colorado,
potter Peg Malloy were featured through August 15 at Margo s
Pottery and Fine Crafts in Buffalo, Wyoming. The wheelthrown functional forms were coated with a Shino slip on the
outside and glazed on the inside before the wood firing to Cone
Judy Titche’s “Concentration,”
21 inches in height; at Northwest
Gallery, Wells Community Cultural
Center, Lafayette, Indiana.
chip on the edge, would render it useless as a pristine
antique; but in my sculpture, it gains a new and different
life as a piece of art.”
John Glick
Curator Jo Lauria of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
recently added a lidded stoneware box by Michigan artist John
Glick to the museum’s contemporary crafts collection. It joins
a large, altered bowl made by Glick in the 1980s.
The box is one of a recently completed series in which he
manipulates extruded forms while they are leather hard. It was
Peg Malloy pitcher, 10 inches in height, wood fired;
at Margo’s Pottery and Fine Crafts, Buffalo, Wyoming.
10 in a Bourry-box-style Idln that she built in 1990. “I attempt
to keep my forms simple and honest. I want people to use
them,” explains Malloy. “I love making functional wares.”
Judy Titche
Mosaics by Indiana artist Judy Titche were exhibited recently at
Northwest Gallery of the Wells Community Cultural Center in
Lafayette, Indiana. Using the pique-assiette technique, she begins
with a terra-cotta base then attaches found objects, such as
handles of smashed pottery, as well as shells, beads and marbles.
“In the formation and execution of my art, I use ‘found
objects’ or, as judged by some standards, trash,’ to form a new
whole, an object with a totally different meaning and purpose
from the original fragments themselves,” Titche explains. “Yet,
these individual pieces still hold their original history and lend it
to the story of the new work itself.
“Some of the fragments come from objects that, if still
whole, would have immense dollar value as antiques,” Titche
continues. “A hand-painted German plate, for example, with a
Submissions are welcome. We would be pleased to consider
press releases, artists' statements and photoslslides in con­
junction with exhibitions or other events of interest for publi­
cation in this column. Mail to Ceramics Monthly, Post Office
Box 6102, Westerville, Ohio 43086-6102.
John Glick lidded box, 16 inches in length, stoneware
with multiple layers of iron glazes, reduction fired to
Cone 10; at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
surfaced with multiple layers of several different iron glazes,
then reduction fired to Cone 10.
Seeking Exposure
by James Sullivan
The University of Arizona in Tucson recently presented an all­
clay exhibition of student works. The idea for the show
stemmed from the fact that there are no ongoing showcases
around campus for ceramic work and from the desire to make
the ceramics department more visible at the university. A oneperson department run solely by Aurore Chabot, the ceramics
November 1998
^Jp Front
facility is located a few blocta away from the main campus in
an old adobe church.
Selections for the exhibition were made by a panel of jurors
consisting of Chabot and art faculty members Rosemarie
Bernardi and Moira Geoffrion. Visiting artist Gina Bobrowslci,
an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, juried the awards.
James Sullivan’s “Exuviation,” 18 inches in height, rakufired earthenware with stains, third-place award winner.
lo Palmer’s “Francis,” 5 inches in height, earthenware
with stains; at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
When it came time for the jurors to review the submis­
sions, there were over 50 works to consider—an overwhelm­
ing student response. Of these, 30—consisting of pedestal and
wall pieces, abstract and figurative sculpture, and vessels—
were chosen for the exhibition.
Tanya Hubbard’s “Homebody,” 16
earthenware with stains and glazes.
David Austin’s Public Art
by Richard C. Bachus
To Harbor Springs, Michigan, artist David K. Austin, the 38foot, 5-ton expanse of clay he installed at the Portage Public
Library is more than a static sculpture—it is “an environment
that provides a respite from our complex and stressful society.”
Austin calls himself an environmental sculptor because he
incorporates waterfalls, fountains, natural light and natural
sounds into his creations. In the three years since he has been
working professionally, he has generated a steady flow of
business. Last year, he completed a piece called “Compassion,
Tolerance and Understanding” for the Springfield Middle
School in Battle Creek. He also created a small indoor pond
for the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. There, he
worked with a biologist who was turning the pond into a selfsustaining system with turtles, snakes, frogs, etc.
Austin did not intend to work in public art when he began
attending Northern Michigan University in Marquette, where
he majored in graphic design. In his senior year, however, he
flunked the mandatory critique and was kicked out of the
program. After spending the next few semesters trying every
other form of art, he took a ceramics class and has stayed with
it ever since. Eight years after starting college, he graduated
with a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1994.
The $55,000 Portage library commission was obtained
through a juried competition. The library had received a grant
from the Kalamazoo-based Irving S. Gilmore Foundation.
More than half the grant was for outdoor sculpture to enhance
a concrete courtyard.
November 1998
Up Front
The final design, which includes a 38-foot-long wall with
water pouring out of its lower edge, was approved by a sixmember committee
of artists and library
staff. The public,
including children,
voted on sketches
from the three
finalists chosen by
the committee. The
results of the public
vote were included
in the committee’s
final vote for
Austin’s design.
Once the project
was approved, Austin
began the process of
making more than
200 individual pieces
for the main element
from an equal-parts
clay body (20%
fireclay, 20% stone­
ware, 20% XX Sagger
clay, 20% flint and
20% coarse grog).
David K. Austin’s 43-foot-long ceramic installation
These were arranged
on a 43-foot-long, 8-foot-high plywood easel in his studio so
that he could see the flow of the sculpture while he made it.
First, ½-inch-thick slab backings were set in place for each of
the individual pieces, then Austin built a crisscross substructure
using 5/8-inch-thick slabs attached perpendicularly to the back­
ing. A ½-inch-thick “skin” was then stretched over the top of
the substructure.
To prevent overdrying, he sprayed the clay every day or so,
and kept the easel covered in huge plastic sheets; these were
attached to the ceiling with string so they could be drawn up to
work on one section at a time.
When dry, the completed pieces were fired in an electric kiln
to Cone 9-10. “With the deadline looming, we fired for about
two months straight every day,” Austin commented. “We
pushed everything. We fired sooner than we should have, we
unloaded sooner than we should have, but we only lost one
piece that crumbled when I was setting it in the kiln. We had
some breakage before and after firing, but we repaired those
pieces with a polymer-modified cementlike product.”
For the most part, the work was left unglazed; only the
border pieces were enhanced with a simple blue glaze. The total
installation of the piece took about two weeks, with the help of
a five-member team—not including the electrical and plumbing
The finished installation—more abstract than originally
intended—was the result of back-and-forth negotiations with
the selection committee, as well as phone interviews. “There is a
slight difference with how I work and how other artists work,”
Austin maintained. “Maybe the client isn’t sure what he or she
wants at first, but I try to be very responsive to other people and
the environment I’m working with. I like to let them guide me
at the outset.
“Representational art is easier for people to comprehend
and respond to,” he commented, “but it is also easier for
people to pass judgment on—good or bad. Abstract art is
more open to interpretation. Therefore, people make up
their own stories about a piece.”
Whether or not
Austin intended to
be, he is part of a
current public-art
trend that is bind­
ing artists closer to
the places for which
their art is commis­
sioned. As Jennifer
Dowley, director of
Museums and
Visual Arts for the
National Endow­
ment for the Arts,
puts it: “My job is
not to create a
collection for a city,
but to seek ways to
engage artists in the
shaping of a city.”
The trend
evolved out of the
sometimes cantan­
kerous debate over
at the Portage Library in Michigan.
the “site specificity”
of commissioned
artwork, says Dowley. “What has the artist done to contribute
to this space? Why does it belong here? These are some of the
questions being asked.
“In the future of public art, the artist’s role will disappear
and the art becomes the place itself,” according to Dowley.
Latka Family Show
by Terry Riley
“Latkaland Family Size,” an exhibition of ceramics by Tom,
Jean and Nick Latka, was presented at Commonwheel Gallery
in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Tom is married to Jean, and he
Jean Latka square dish, 15 inches square, press molded,
with white glaze and brushed oxides, fired to Cone 01.
November 1998
Up Front
one—the pug mill and the extruder—this invention came
from a fortuitous accident 15 years ago, when he had to fit
a pug mill into his small studio. He remembered seeing a
pug mill hanging vertically in a studio in England, and did
so with his. It wasn’t much of a jump for him to realize the
potential for extrusion, and he added an expansion box
that allowed him to extrude shapes 10 inches in diameter.
He then alters and manipulates the extruded shapes by
immediately placing them in molds, throwing, stacking or
cutting off portions.
The surfaces of Jean’s wheel-thrown earthenware pots are
enhanced with multicolored slips and oxides applied with
abandon. Her brush is confident, yet relaxed.
The late Nick Latka’s sculptural forms are intellectual and
spiritual, in that order. His minimalist philosophy was the
basis for these slip-cast vessels, if they can be called vessels at
all. Although he came from a pottery background, there isn’t a
trace of function in his work.
Alexandra McCurdy
“S. O. S.: Sources of Support,” an exhibition of ceramics by
Halifax, Canada, artist Alexandra McCurdy, was on view
through August 23 at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in
Halifax. The show featured works from various stages of
McCurdy’s career, including footed vessels and containers, and
six new ceramic wall hangings.
Over the past two years, according to guest curator Gil
McElroy, McCurdy has “developed a technique for silk screen-
Tom Latka’s "Vase,” 18 inches in height, extruded,
fired to Cone 03 in an electric kiln; at Commonwheel
Gallery, Manitou Springs, Colorado.
and Nick are brothers. Though related, the work of all three is
It is difficult to discuss Tom’s work without mentioning the
process, because they are so intricately intertwined (see the
article “Taking the Rude out of Extrude” by Jean in the Septem­
ber 1995 issue). He has created infinite structural possibilities
with a pug-mill extruder. Actually a blend of two machines into
Alexandra McCurdy’s “Tranquilt,” approximately 281/2
inches in height, porcelain with embroidery floss and
wooden dowel; at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia,
Halifax, Canada.
Nick Latka bowl shape, 26 inches in height, slip-cast
whiteware, airbrushed with oxides, fired to Cone 06.
ing representational images onto porcelain slabs that has
permitted her to undertake an introspective and highly
charged self-examination in ceramics. These new works are
structured around images of the people, places and things in
McCurdy’s life that she feels both necessary and influential (for
good or ill) in her ongoing work.”
November 1998
Up Front
“I am developing a new visual language with which to
express meaning, a sense of depth and three-dimensionality
through the interaction of imagery, material and the use of
color, light and shade,” McCurdy adds. “Although I work in an
essentially formal, abstract manner, I am also seeking to progress
from the visually static to a sense of movement and drama.
“At the same time, I am using craft: as a vehicle to celebrate
womens advancement in modern society. The quilt format,
combined with visual references in the representational images
and colors, functions to create an optimistic emblem of the
feminist movement, [while bringing] attention to the lack of
support for my own and other women’s work.”
Canadian Biennial
“Espace Terre,” the eighth biennial ceramics competition open
to Canadian artists, was presented through September 13 at the
Galerie d’art du Parc in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. Consisting of
three categories—competitive, invitational and a tribute to a
John Chalke’s “Gray Taper and Pipes,” approximately
181/2 inches in height; at the Galerie d’art du Parc,
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada.
different techniques, approaches and thought processes that
conform to the present time, on many different levels,” the
jurors stated in the accompanying catalog. “The constraints,
or challenges as some choose to refer to them, are renewed
every two years, and are responsible for this precious result,
which, since the biennales beginnings, have simultaneously
traced the portrait of ceramic art in Canada.
“This eighth edition offers the double occasion of maldng
earth art while giving shape to an exploration of the theme—
espace terre. As such, the earth as life space, cosmic place and
Carol Bradley’s “Red Weed,” to approximately
73 inches in length, earthenware with steel.
Quebec artist (Suzanne Tremblay)—the biennial explored the
ideas of place, volume, time, and interior and exterior space.
Jurors Danielle Meunier, art historian; Francine Paul, art
historian; and Gilbert Poissant, ceramist, selected sculpture,
murals and installations by 14 artists from throughout Canada
for the competitive category, then chose award winners. The
Prix de la Ville de Trois-Rivieres went to Quebec artist Naomi
Pearl for “Bracelet”; Mitsuru Cope, also of Quebec, received
the Prix Pierre Legault for “Silent Scream” (shown here); and
Brian McArthur, Alberta, won the Prix Jeannot Blackburn
for “Family Supper.”
“Thank to the multifaceted nature of the competition and
its theme, the Biennale continues to question and highlight the
Mitsuru Cope’s “Silent Scream,” approximately
inches in length; winner of the Prix Pierre Legault.
November 1998
Up Front
material earth, is transformed into sculptural space; the seman­
tic and sculptural interrelations explore the verbal and visual
coexistence. Earth used as a medium to explore Earth—Espace
terre, as was expected, allows us to see the earth manipulated
and structured, but also as a place of life, of conquest and of
space, of doubt, and of suffering.
“This repetition of the theme and of the material soon
becomes an abundant place from which the artists create, each
taking a different path that is entirely his own,” they continue.
“However, beyond the differences and personal points of view,
there emerges a line of convergence, through allusion or direct
reference—linking together the common preoccupations.
“It is obvious that the majority of artists favor the hollows
and projections of bas reliefs and high reliefs, as if the ceramic
were coming apart from the wall, frame and support merging,
as if it were advancing in the space of the spectator, vertically
presenting its organization, material, texture and color. Some
prefer pieces suspended from the ceiling or placed on the
ground. No pedestals, shelves or showcases. The sculpted work
is not propped up as a display. It affirms itself as a sculpture
without being designated as an object.
“This independent work chooses to occupy the architectural
space rather than only the utilitarian or decorative space, and
expresses itself by multiplying the places of presence,” the jurors
conclude. “It seems that a new ambition inhabits the artists, one
of conceiving and presenting the work as a total solution,
meeting the sculptural and formal constraints, rather than as a
partial solution specific to the medium, that of the material, its
firing and its resistance.”
Tableware Exhibition
“DinnerWorlts,” an exhibition of tableware in clay, glass, wood
and silver designed by 15 local artists and 15 artists from
throughout the country, was presented at the Louisville Visual
Dan Finnegan soup tureen, 9 inches in height,
green ash glaze over slip trailing; at the Louisville
Visual Art Association, Kentucky.
Art Association in Kentucky. To enhance the “dining” atmo­
sphere, the place settings were exhibited on tabletops planned
by 15 designers. The exhibition opened with a black-tie dinner.
John Jessiman
by Bryan McGrath
Ceramics by Virginia potter John Jessiman were featured
recently at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute School of
John Jessiman covered jar, 24 inches in height;
at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute School
of Art Gallery, Utica, New York.
Art Gallery in Utica, New York. His work reflects a strong
sense of form and surface, giving utilitarian pots a monumen­
tal yet personal feeling. “I am drawn to the gesture of throw­
ing, the slow wheel movement that allows the clay to respond
less mechanically,” he comments.
According to Jessiman, applying a thick slip and iron stain,
or utilizing salt-fired textures against a glazed surface, “draws
attention to the fluidity of the surface and the interplay of the
glaze with the firing.”
Recently retired after 33 years as professor of art at the State
University of New York, College at Cortland, Jessiman also
presented a one-day demonstration of wheel throwing, as well
as a slide discussion focusing on personal and historical
influences on his work in conjunction with the exhibition.
International Biennial in Mexico
The “Second Biennial of Ceramic Art,” a juried international
competition, was presented through September 20 at the
Centro Cultural Alfa in Monterrey, Mexico. From 368 entries
by 216 artists representing 27 countries, jurors Ingrid Suckaer,
art researcher; Eduardo Rubio Elosua, professor of art history;
and Eduardo Rodriguez Canales, curator/art critic, selected 70
clayworks for the show.
A second panel of jurors, consisting of Ruth C. Butler,
editor, Ceramics Monthly magazine; Ida Rodriguez Prampolini,
art critic, Vera Cruz; and Guillermo Sepulveda, gallery direc­
tor, Monterrey, selected the award winners from the actual
worlds prior to the opening. The three monetary prizes ($5000
November 1998
Up Front
each) went to Jean-Paul Azai's of France; Gerardo Azcunaga,
Mexico; and Anne Turn, Estonia; while Helen Carter of Ger-
Anne Turn’s “Wolf Ladies,” approximately 13 inches
in height, porcelain, fired to approximately 2300°F;
$5000 award winner.
establishing a friendly dialogue with artists from different parts
of the world, people s personal horizons are expanded.
“I firmly believe that this type of effort raises artists’ own
limits and goals, and makes them struggle to perform the art
under new and higher quality standards,” he concluded.
Beverly Prevost
Jean-Paul Azais’ “Black Poppy,” approximately 9 inches
in height, wheel-thrown whiteware, with terra sigillata,
burnished and smoked, fired to approximately 1900°F;
$5000 award winner at the “Second Biennial of Ceramic
Art,” Centro Cultural Alfa, Monterrey, Mexico.
White stoneware vessels by Sonoma, California, artist Beverly
Prevost were featured in the exhibition “Beyond the Shadow,
many; Enrique Rosquillas Quiles and Katrin Schikora, both of
Mexico, received honorable mentions.
With this being the first year that the competition was open
internationally, the “response to our invitation was amazing,”
Beverly Prevost vessel, 12 inches in height, white stone­
ware, fired to Cone 10; at the Oakland Museum of California
Collector’s Gallery and Alta Bates Medical Center.
Gerardo Azcunaga’s “Corazon para otro Pincipio,”
approximately 24 inches in height, coil-built
stoneware, fired to approximately 2200°F; $5000
award winner.
said Rubio Elosua in the accompanying catalog. “It has been
very encouraging to see the number of pieces of art in ceramics
that come from different Mexican states...; this has allowed us to
compare them to the work of artists from other countries. By
Healing through Art and Creative Expression.” Presented at
the Oakland Museum of California Collector’s Gallery as well
as the Alta Bates Medical Center, the show included artwork
by 10 breast-cancer survivors. In conjunction with the exhibi­
tion, free community-outreach programs were provided.
Carol Bradley
“Typologies,” an exhibition of pinched and coil-built earthen­
ware vessels by Canadian artist Carol Bradley, was presented
November 1998
Up Front
recently at the Cambridge Galleries, Preston Branch, in Cam­
bridge, Ontario. Bradley’s work utilizes repetition of similar
forms that refer, she says, “as much to seed pods, insect cocoons
Felicity Aylieff vessel, approximately
10 inches in height, black porcelain
body, press molded and handbuilt,
painted with gray slip; at Loes and
Reinier, Deventer, Netherlands.
Photo: Takeshi Yasuda
is an awkwardness that marks both seduction and beauty of
the asymmetrical.”
Steven Rushefsky
Astoria, New York, ceramist Steven Rushefsky was among the
artists whose work was presented in the exhibition “Creature
Carol Bradley’s “Vesicles,” suspended earthen­
ware vessels (each approximately 11 inches long)
and steel; at the Cambridge Galleries, Preston
Branch, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.
or gourds as to bodies and body parts. The repetition contrasts
with and provides a structure to the individual forms, creating a
recognizable class or genus of objects in the process.”
Frequently suspended on hooks and hung from the ceiling
or mounted on the wall, these forms also refer to domestic
associations, mainly the pantry or kitchen.
Felicity Aylieff
Press-molded sculptures and coil-built pots by British artist
Felicity Aylieff were exhibited recently at Loes and Reinier in
Deventer, Netherlands. “In the course of her work as a ceramist,
Felicity Aylieff explores fundamental questions about the clay
object, its scale, its destination, form and decoration,” notes
Linda Sandino in the accompanying catalog. This work is a
“return to a more intimate scale, after the large terrazzo ceramic
forms of recent years, which expressed an absorption with the
interrelations between surface and form that is, in fact, the
hallmark of her work.
“In these smaller vessels, this dialogue is expressed by the way
in which each piece embodies the great modernist opposition
between decoration and form, between the straight line and the
curve, the hard and the soft,” she continues. “Although the
context for these works is ‘domestic’ as opposed to the public
sphere of the sculptural, the problem of the space beyond the
pot, its relation to the ground, is played out in the undulating
vessels....Despite the formal coherence of all these pieces, there
Steven Rushefsky’s “Man and Bird Nesting,” 6 inches
in height, stoneware, fired to Cone 5; at Galeria
Mesa, Mesa, Arizona.
Feature” at Galeria Mesa in Mesa, Arizona. The show focused
on artwork that depicted animals.
Rushefsky’s “Man and Bird Nesting” is actually composed
of two stoneware pots, with one “nesting” inside of the other.
Wheel thrown and altered, then brushed with underglazes and
fired to Cone 5, each piece depicts men and birds moving
around the surface.
November 1998
chart and an Orton cone chart. $24.95. Lark ever, “shortcuts, copying, and imitation will
Books, 50 College Street, Asheville, North Caro­ not work in the long run. Sometimes, achieve­
lina 28801. Distributed by The American ment can come quickly, but lasting meaning,
Ceramic Society, Post Office Box 6136, real depth and maturity do not. Identifying
The Clay Lover’s Guide to
Westerville, Ohio 43086-6136; telephone (6 14) your personal artistic voice takes time, and
Making Molds
learning how to give it expression takes even
794-5890; fax (614) 794-5892.
Designing, Making, Using
longer. The very best of our most talented
ceramists have resisted
by Peirce Clayton
the traps described. As
“My goal...wasn’t to add to the technical
a result, some of the
information already available in this field,
work we see today is
but to encourage clay lovers who have never ers all aspects of working with tiles, from
among the best work
worked with molds before to jump right in making and decorating to installing. Decora­
and make a few—to sample the practical
a broad
aspects and immediate rewards of mold
selection of contem­
making,” writes the author of this guide to paint effects, decoupage, stenciling and trans­
porary work, from
plaster mold making. “As I organized each fer design. “Most important of all is that you
functional pottery to
chapter, I imagined
well-known and not“Confidence
you in my studio, right
by my side, mixing niques and learning from your mistakes, so so-well-known artists, the book is loosely
plaster, pressing clay, do not become despondent if your first at­ broken down into technique-based catego­
pouring liquid clay slip tempts are unsuccessful. Designs can be easilyries—wheel-thrown, handbuilt, mold-made
and asking questions. removed before sealing, so push your imagi­ pieces and additions, and combined tech­
I hope that this per­ nation and experiment with ideas.” As niques and materials. Each image is accom­
sonable approach to throughout the book, how-to photos accom­panied by technical information; many also
include a brief statement by the artist. 176
teaching the basics of pany the steps for each project.
including a list of contributing artists.
mold making demysti­
fies the process enough to encourage begin­ cesses used in making tiles—tools and equip­398 color photographs. $34.95. Lark Books,
ners to start creating mold-made art—even ment, clay bodies, glazes and slips, kilns and 50 College Street, Asheville, North Carolina
firing, along with making and using plaster 28801. Distributed by Random House, Lnc.,
bad mold-made art!”
molds. Slabbed and 201 East Fifth Street, New York, New York
Clayton first offers a quick overview of the
rolled tiles, open-face 10022; telephone (800) 284-3388.
mold-making process, including a historical
molded tiles, extruded
lesson on Chinese mold-made art. This is
press-molded tiles Hispanic New Mexican Pottery
done to help the reader “realize by now that
as is Evidence of Craft Specialization 1790-1890
making molds isn’t terribly difficult.” In the
making tiles with by Charles M. Carrillo
next two chapters, he explains in detail how
paperclay, decorating
Intended for archaeologists and histori­
to set up a good workspace for mold making
paperclay tiles, press ans, this book challenges the assumption
and what tools will be needed, as well as the
molding a fruit design, “that each and every piece of pottery associ­
proper way to mix plaster. Helpful tips are
and slip-cast tiles.
ated with New Mexican Hispanic village life
featured throughout these and the remaining
Ideas for decorating both bisque-fired andwas a trade item introduced from the Orient,
chapters. There is even a checklist that indi­
cates where to find/buy the necessary equip­ preglazed tiles, along with planning and com­Mexico or the nearest Indian pueblo. ” Rather,
pleting a tiling scheme, are provided. The
the author presents
ment and supplies.
research suggesting
Chapters four and five explain one- and authors also talk about design considerations,
“that during the late
two-piece mold making, illustrated by step- planning the design and the actual installa­
18th and 19th centu­
by-step photos for various projects. For ex­ tion. 144 pages, including glaze recipes and
ries, some Hispanic
ample, how to make a press-molded wall index. 441 color photographs; 1 sketch.
villages became ce­
mural and how to use stacked two-piece $24.95 (in California, add7.5%), plus $4.50
ramic craft specialists.”
molds are described. Care is taken to explain shipping and handling. Tile Heritage Foun­
dation, Box 1850-CM, Healdsburg, Califor­
After an overview
every part of the process.
of the history of Span­
Chapter six covers how to make a mold ofnia 95448; or, for Mastercard or Visa orders,
fax (707) 431-8455.
ish Colonial New
more than two pieces. A four-part mold is the
Mexico, Carrillo com­
chosen project, again explained in the same
bines data from archaeological sites, oral his­
thorough and easy-to-understand manner. The Ceramic Design Book
tories from Hispanic villages and information
Some highlights from this chapter include A Gallery of Contemporary Work
“Our marketplace and the art world it from archival sources to prove the existence
how to diagnose the model, and assembling
represents reward newness over consistency of Hispanic pottery production. The follow­
and reassembling the mold box.
The final chapter, which is dedicated to and quirkiness over familiarity,” states ce­ ing chapter presents an archaeological case
making a rubber gang mold, is followed by anramist Val Cushing in this well-illustrated study of two Hispanic sites near Abiquiu,
in-depth description of the arts/industry pro­“photographic gallery” of contemporary ce­ New Mexico, which was officially settled as a
gram at the John Michael Kohler Arts Cen­ ramics. “We generate confusion because we Hispanic community in 1734.
ter, as well as a full-color portfolio of encourage the belief that success in ceramics “As the population of Abiquiu grew and
mold-made works by contemporary artists. is measured by acceptance in the right galler­the dynamics of social interaction between
128 pages, including a metric conversion ies and coverage in the popular media.” How­Hispanic and Pueblo neighbors evolved, so
New Books
November 1998
concerning a series of relationships of ceram­and-white photographs; 34 sketches. $27.95,
ics to the environment and to the rest of the softcover. LPD Press, Albuquerque, New
cultural system in many societies around the Mexico. Distributed by University of New
did the tradition of making pottery in this world.” He says that “pottery production by Mexico Press, 1720 Lomas Boulevard’ North­
village.” At one of the sites, “the consistency Hispanic villagers was a product of disenfran­east, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131-1591.
of rim diameters of Hispanic Blackware chisement; individuals with poor-quality land,
bowls...suggests that the bowls were made in insufficient land, or no land at all turned fromThe Artist’s Guide to New Markets
agricultural pursuits to pottery production to
molds....The bowls were most likely pro­
Opportunities to Show and Sell Art
duced by a technique in which a flattened claysustain themselves. This specialization was
Beyond Galleries
disk is molded over the inverted base of a considered to be a last resort, however, and it
may have conferred a low status on the spe­ by Peggy Hadden
larger bowl or pot and cut to size.”
Finally, Carrillo discusses Hispanic craft cialists.” 283 pages, including lists of pottery “As an artist, you may feel that your future
specialization using the “Arnold Model,” shapes and Hispanic settlements, glossary of depends solely on the commercial gallery
which “provides cross-cultural generalizationsSpanish terms, sources, and index. 60 black- system to sell your work,” notes the author of
this guide. “This concept is both inexact and
self-limiting. Inexact, because galleries are by
nature unable to reach everyone who, at a
given moment, wants
to buy art. Many art
buyers never enter a
gallery. Self-limiting,
because galleries are
also physically unable
to give residence to
every artist who wants
to exhibit with them.”
After discussing
why artists must pur­
sue new markets, Hadden looks at selling to
museums and interior designers, then talk
about working with art consultants and cor­
porations. (Lists of each willing to work with
artists are provided.)
“One of the great new markets for show­
ing your work is in a corporate space,” she
contends. “Some of these corporations don’t
have in-house curators and you may have to
get an exhibition on your own, but believe
me, it’s worth doing. This is one of the leastpursued, least-understood, least-appreciated
gallery venues around.”
Art in public places, outdoor art fairs and
indoor expos, new government opportuni­
ties, licensing, and markets both far and near
are covered next. For instance, “did you
know...that NASA has an art program? Or
that the Smithsonian Associates commission
artists every year? That you can go and live in
the National Parks and make art? That art
collections at the Federal Reserve Bank Head­
quarters, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine
Corps are alive and well?”
Hadden goes on to talk about self-promotion, such as creating brochures, postcards
and resumes, plus putting together proposals
for an exhibition of your work, an artist’s talk,
a commission, etc. The final chapters discuss
making your day job work for you and plan­
ning an open house at your studio. 251 pages,
including bibliography and index. $18.95,
softcover. Allworth Press, 10 East 23rd Street,
Suite 400, New York, New York 10010; tele­
phone (800) 491-2808.
New Books
November 1998
Attraction of the
by Glen R. Brown
in 1994 by Inge Balch, professor of art
at Baker University in Baldwin City,
“Cone Bottle,” by Marko Fields,
Kansas. While the 1998 exhibition
Lawrence, Kansas.
opened at Baker University, its traveling
schedule will include a showing during
he opinion that bigger is invariably the National Council on Education for
better—an adage that many 20th- the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in Colum­
century artists have taken quite liter­
bus, Ohio, in March of 1999.
ally—was refuted by the works of the
The jurors—Michael Simon, studio
third biennial “International Orton potter from Winterville, Georgia; Har­
Cone Box Show,” which clearly dem­
ris Deller, professor of art at the Univer­
onstrated that quality can be as much a sity of Southern Illinois, Carbondale;
property of the intimate as the colossal. and Anna Callouri Holcombe, head of
While the 132 pieces selected for the the art department at Kansas State Uni­
exhibition varied greatly in terms of versity—selected the works from over
materials, technique and subject mat­
600 entries received from 16 countries.
ter, they had in common the 3x3x6- Clearly, their goal was to present a di­
inch or smaller format that allowed them versity of approaches as well as to main­
to be easily stored within the confines tain standards of high quality. They
of an Orton standard pyrometric cone considered both from functional en­
box. The diminutive size of the works tries—mostly bowls, lidded vessels and
proved no handicap to expression, or teapots—and sculptural works, many
even in some cases to the elaboration of of which actually incorporated pyroa narrative. More surprisingly, the exhi­
metric cones.
bition convincingly revealed the poten­
The Orton cone box itself obviously
tial for experiences of the monumental, served as inspiration for many of the
even the sublime, in the presence of contributors, who selected their subject
works that could fit comfortably in the matter from the array of objects one
palm of the hand.
might normally find in boxes. To some,
The idea for a competitive exhibi­
the tiny container suggested a box for
tion of small-scale ceramics originated shoes. Canadian Claire Salzberg found
in 1975 with William Bracker, who was inspiration in the shoe-box analogy to
then a professor at Purdue University. produce “A Pair of Boots (After Van
Following a gap of 15 years and Bracker s Gogh),” which rendered in three di­
death in 1993, the exhibition was re­
mensions the image of battered boots
vived as an international competition from the famous painting. Others
November 1998
“Mezcal Bottle,” by David Gurney,
Arroyo Grande, California.
“Heavy,” by James LaChance,
Fargo, North Dakota.
thought of the box as a storage place for
tiny objects. Susan F. Mollet of High­
land, Texas, filled her box with ceramic
oil cans, and Susanne Greene of New
York City, recipient of a purchase award
for her “Universal Tool Box,” created
an array of tiny tools that included a
saw, hammer, screwdriver and pliers.
Curiously, only a small number of
the entries were sculptural works de­
picting the human figure. Austrian
Heinz Ortner received a purchase award
for his pensive “King Turned Mad”;
James LaChance of Fargo, North Da­
kota, was also a purchase award winner
for “Heavy,” which depicted the upper
portion of a generic human head sur­
mounted by a leaden-colored block in­
scribed with the word “wait.”
In some sculptural works, such as
“Tower of Babble” by Chris Kunze of
Walnut, California, and “Double-Bar­
rel Conebox Creamer” by Jerod Morris
of Manhattan, Kansas, the figurative
elements were slip cast from toys, such
as tiny articulated dolls and plastic sol­
diers, respectively.
“Tower of Babble,” by Chris Kunze,
Walnut, California.
“Double-Barrel Conebox Creamer,” by Jerod Morris,
Manhattan, Kansas.
“King Turned Mad,” by Heinz Ortner,
Fritiz, Austria.
“Squirts,” by Susan F. Mollet,
Highland, Texas.
November 1998
“A Pair of Boots (After Van Gogh),” by Claire Salzberg, Westmount, Ontario, Canada.
The overwhelming number of works
in the exhibition were vessels, though—
most of them perfectly functional de­
spite their small size. Teapots ranged
from sleek variations on the traditional
form to gracefully attenuated, linear
compositions. Some of the most inter­
esting vessels paid homage to the forms
and techniques of nonwestern ceram­
ics. “Mezcal Bottle,” a purchase-award
recipient by David Gurney of Arroyo
Grande, California, made an interest­
ing combination of the form of a bule,
or hollow gourd, with images borrowed
from pre-Columbian Mixtec codex
paintings; while “Cone Bottle,” by
Marko Fields of Lawrence, Kansas,
loosely referred to decorative elements
of South American pottery. As might
be expected, the most frequent refer­
ences were to Asian ceramic traditions.
As a whole, the exhibition provided
the kind of rare survey of contemporary
ceramics that can be extremely valuable
to those in the field, but is generally
cost-prohibitive with work on a larger
scale. Since most participants seemed
to have entered pieces that simply re­
“Universal Tool Box,” by Susanne Greene, New York City.
duced their characteristic styles and
forms to the required small format, the
exhibition proved to be a good repre­
sentation of the kind of work currently
produced around the nation, as well as
in other parts of the world.
Other artists were drawn to the exhi­
bition specifically because they habitu­
ally work on an intimate scale; thus, the
show was also important as an example
of what can be accomplished techni­
cally and stylistically in ceramics con­
ceived in miniature.
Above all, the exhibition was a re­
minder that a small format should not
be viewed as a limitation, but rather an
opportunity to investigate a unique set
of aesthetic possibilities. A
My Hands Tell Me What I'm Thinking
The Pottery of Kris Nelson
by Ward Doubet
Stoneware pitcher with natural ash glaze,
13 inches in height, thrown and altered,
anagama fired in Japan.
November 1998
ennessee potter Kris Nelson makes
classic yet contemporary, sensuous
yet functional ware. His wheel-thrown
and subtly altered forms, most notably
his pitchers, coffeepots and ewers, are
sleek combinations of traditional pots,
Scandinavian design and references to
the figure. The upward sweep of line
may evoke a belly or breast, while the
downward movement following shoul­
der or handle may suggest the draping
of hair on a neckline or the swelling of a
hip. The negative space between a spout
and neck, beneath a handle, tracing from
the shoulder to lip, or sweeping across
the inside of a bowl into a gracefully
proportioned rim, all reflect both the
movement of the hand in throwing and
an intimate awareness of the fit and feel
of these spaces in the user s hand. These
are inanimate objects that pulsate with
life, yet always respect the priority of
pottery function above overt anatomi­
cal allusion.
Nelson has been a potter since his
preteen years. He had already sold re­
duction stoneware at craft fairs for sev­
eral years by the time he graduated from
high school in a Chicago suburb. His
early interest in pottery was comple­
mented by a strong interest in figure
studies, both of which he pursued dur-
Coffeepot, 9 inches in height, thrown and altered stoneware,
with natural ash glaze, anagama fired in Japan.
Coffee service, tray measures 20 inches in length, porcelain, thrown and altered, wood fired in an anagama.
Teaset, to 6 inches in height, glazed stoneware, wood fired.
ing a B.FA. program at the Kansas City
Art Institute and through an M.F.A.
course at the New York College of Ce­
ramics at Alfred University.
Nelson is also an eclectic admirer of
historical pots, 20th-century design and
contemporary clay art. One finds ech­
oes of the industrial modernism of a
Russell Wright or Eva Zeisel, in the
same vein as the energy of aerodynamically decorated kiddie cars and bicycles
among the objects he has collected.
On the other hand, the influence of
Japanese ceramics on Nelsons work is
evident in the wood-fired surfaces he
develops. He prefers rich, thickly ap­
plied glazes and the complex surfaces
that result from the use of natural clays
with inclusions of bits of feldspathic
stones, in the manner of Iga ware.
Both wood firing and salt glazing are
used extensively to enhance the specific
form of each pot. His work with anagama firing in the United States, and in
Japan with Katsuyuki Sakuzume, is cen­
tral to his appreciation of the critical
importance of materials and firing to
the meaning of pottery. Through both
the clay and glaze, Nelson has long
sought a reflection of the natural world
and a revelation of his pottery’s charac­
ter that is more subtle and integrated
than any applied decoration.
November 1998
Pitcher, 12 inches in height, porcelain with copper-fumed
white glaze, salt fired.
Nelson speaks of watching his work
evolve over the years with tones of won­
der and affection, almost as if referring
to the growth of his sons. The synthesis
of influences and the development of
technique are not, he says, linear and
deliberate, but emerge incrementally in
the work. “My hands tell me what I’m
thinking,” he says.
The curving axes and more dramatic
alterations of the thrown forms of ear­
lier work seem to be gradually receding
toward a more traditional center. Some
of the more intentional flashing and
dripping effects of the wood fire have
given way to a richly textured glaze with
a thick roll at the bottom. The overall
effect is, if less exuberant, more classic
and committed to function while still
reflecting the sculptural sensibility of
earlier solutions. His new works are pot­
ters’ pots, relaxing into an ageless tradi­
tion that reflects a growing trend in
contemporary functional studio pottery.
He gives serious attention to the tac­
tile sensations and sense of weight in
the hand. The contrasts of matt, pebbly
and glossy surfaces are just as rich to the
touch as to the eye. Superbly balanced,
his designs feel just right in use, not so
light as to convey fragility, but lighter
than the heft the earthy stoneware and
porcelain surfaces would typically im­
ply. In fact, the natural weight and
balance of the work in use reveal a sur­
prising aesthetic strategy—to be, in a
sense, forgettable.
Nelson wants the work to mesh with
the fabric of domestic life, to enrich and
uplift the aesthetic quality of daily ritu­
als, such as drinking coffee or eating
rice. Perhaps, he suggests, the warmth
and elegance of a coffee cup, communi­
cating through the hands and lips, have
a potent and subliminal way of wel­
coming one to the enjoyment of life.
Perhaps, also, the reverie of nature
evoked by gazing into the crystalline
depths of a wood-fired glaze awakens
the senses to the worlds beauty (even
more than the coffee). Perhaps, he says,
insights and perceptions that move qui­
etly in the back door become more in­
tegrated into our outlooks than those
that we publicly display and critique.
As the forms have grown simpler,
brushed-resist images have begun to
emerge on some of Nelson’s pots. A face
composed of broad, simple strokes peers
from breaks in the glaze on a teapot,
forming a beguiling image, yet remain­
ing within the simple vocabulary of a
single stoneware glaze and the exposed
clay body. Some of the forms them­
selves clearly suggest an apple, which
together with the fleshy contours of
Nelson’s work and the beckoning faces,
unavoidably evoke the temptations of
Adam and Eve.
Within this analogy lies the key to
Nelsons work—the dynamic union of
opposites in a sensuous, graspable form,
and a guilty knowledge that each revels
in its carnal self and yearns for a tran­
scendental purity. Consider the contrast­
ing terms and sources that are paired in
his pots: formal modernist design and
sensuous mingei rusticity, the demands
of function and the sculptural impulse,
a simple pot for the table and an art pot
striking a sly allusive image.
These kinds of paired terms reiterate
a persistent imperative for craft in a
culture of art—expanding the expres­
sive and interpretive means of the crafts
without abandoning their accessibility.
What is revealed in the domesticity of
the most thoughtful contemporary func­
tional ware gives it a voice of growing
influence in the broader culture of art
and design, as craft helps to blur the
lines between art and life. When a pot­
ter has quietly wrestled with some of
the central terms of this dialogue, and
the work resolves them as convincingly
as Kris Nelson’s does, we should take
time to pay attention, reflect and enjoy
what it reveals of this moment in the
history of ceramics. ▲
Tripod bowl, 20 inches in diameter, wheel-thrown porcelain,
with natural ash glaze, wood fired in an anagama,
by Kris Nelson, Silver Point, Tennessee.
Marvin Zehnder
by Richard C. Bachus
“Those who can, do. And those who
can’t, teach.” Or so the old saying goes.
Those who know Michigan ceram­
ist Marvin Zehnder know how ridicu­
lous that saying can be. He taught
ceramics and other art classes at North­
ern Michigan University in Marquette
for 32 years. When he retired, a retro­
spective exhibition of his vessels and
sculpture at the university’s art museum
provided a comprehensive glimpse into
some of his teachings. “I am more con­
cerned with process,” Zehnder said.
“The motivation and the feeling that
you get in doing it is the process I’m
concerned with more than the object.
The major emphasis is in the doing.”
Zehnder’s exploration of process in
his own work has tended to emphasize
forms that are more sculptural in na­
ture. While the vessel is still a major
mode of expression, he isn’t strictly mak­
ing a pot, a vase or a bowl.
“I was a painter before I was a pot­
ter,” he remarked. “I was probably a
painter in what people call abstract ex­
pressionism. But it is a little different in
clay than in paint. The immediacy is
there, but the expectations of the viewer
are different. There is an expectation
with clay that it will yield an object. In
clay, we cover that up by talking in
terms of sculpture.”
The retrospective attracted former
students from as far away as Florida and
as long ago as the sixties. A flock of
current students also filled the museum.
As they gathered at the opening, red
wine and “Marv” stories flowed freely.
“WTien I was a student, I was real
defensive, at first. I didn’t say more than
a few words in class till I was a junior,”
said Terry Gilfoy, a 1975 NMU gradu­
ate who works as a potter and contrac­
tor in the Marquette area. “But from
Marv, you learn the language of form.
During critiques, he was always asking,
‘Why is this good?’ I learned that art is a
fusion of physical labor and your intel­
lectual ability.”
Barry Bernstein, who attended NMU
in 1981, said he got some insight into
Zehnder’s character after college. “I
November 1998
“Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” approximately 36 inches in height,
glazed stoneware and rope, 1985.
asked him if he wanted to sell in a
certain gallery, and he said he didn’t
want to because he wanted to be true to
himself. He didn’t want to compromise
his work in any way, and he made us
believe in a higher ideal. I still wonder if
I am taking it to the limit and stretch­
ing myself enough,” Bernstein said, as
he looked around the gallery at
Zehnder’s work.
Some of Zehnder’s former students
came away from the exhibit with a
greater appreciation for the variety and
integrity of their teacher’s work. “This
is so Marv,” one former student was
heard to say about a series of vessels
entitled “Bud Forms.”
“From the exhibit, it should be obvi­
ous my major interest besides working
with clay is growing things,” Zehnder
Other pieces also seemed to grow
out of his love for gardening, but he
doesn’t sit down at the wheel planning
to make the clay look like something
from the garden. “The buds were some­
thing that opened up from a process-
derived form. I had been throwing
things on the wheel, then altering and
changing them. I’ve always kind of been
entranced by stretching and pulling. It
gives you a longer period of time in­
volved with each piece.”
Other pieces show Zehnder’s use of
face molds and body casts. In these
works, he is exploring the process of
reassembling. What some former stu­
dents noticed, however, in one of his
later pieces was a coming together of his
earlier use of the face molds and body
casts with the more recent stretching
and altering processes.
“When people see a larger body of
work that spans a period of time, they
see that you don’t go off on tangents all
the time when you are working with
integrity,” Zehnder said. “There is a
common thread that goes through your
work. It’s not just an attempt to be
with it.’ It’s an attempt to be honest.”
Before coming to NMU, Zehnder
earned a bachelor’s degree in painting
from Michigan State University. He then
apprenticed with a potter in Germany,
Vessel with applied faces, approximately 10 inches in height,
wheel-thrown and press-molded stoneware.
where he discovered how closely Euro­
pean artisans guard the secrets of their
craft. Even within the German studio,
his boss would work behind a curtain.
After returning to the states, Zehnder
taught high-school art for three years in
Menominee, but realized that wasn’t for
him. “High school was too structured
and restrictive,” he remarked. “I
thought, aren’t they lucky to have me,
but they didn’t really give a damn.”
Next was the ceramics program at
Alfred University in New York, where
he received a master of fine arts in ce­
ramics. Zehnder said the reason for his
switch from paint to clay was grounded
in the basic qualities of the material
itself. Like Henry Varnum Poor, an early
20th-century potter who stood bare­
foot in a cow pasture and reveled in the
manure and mud oozing between his
toes, Zehnder just likes the feel of clay.
“It has that tactile quality that doesn’t
come in anything else. And you don’t
have to destroy anything like a tree or a
mountainside to use it. You just have to
dig it up. You don’t have to melt it and
“Container,” 12 inches in height, wheel-thrown
and handbuilt stoneware.
refine it and process it before you make
something of it.”
In the early 1960s, Zehnder went to
work for Haeger Pottery in Dundee,
Illinois. The company made lamp bases,
bowls, ashtrays and other ceramics for
the home-decorating industry. He
worked in a studio—“hidden in the
corner of the plant”—along with the
other in-house artists.
“The artists do not design for the
industry, but the industry tries to ab­
sorb what they do by some kind of
osmosis or something,” he said.
Zehnder found the industrial envi­
ronment “too stifling,” but he did man­
age to make some impact on the
company by helping steer it away from
the use of mostly shiny glazes to more
matt finishes.
He joined the teaching staff at NMU
in 1965, just as the campus was shifting
from a “teachers’ college” to a liberal
arts education. He was the university’s
first studio artist to work as a teacher. At
the time, the ceramics studio consisted
of an empty room on the third floor of
one of the classroom buildings.
“The concept of a studio was foreign
to them,” Zehnder recalled. “I began by
furnishing my own wheel and kiln.”
Under his guidance, the ceramics
program flourished, moving to a Quonset hut on the edge of campus, then to
the Art & Design North studio, which
opened in 1996. The large new ceram­
ics studio, which Zehnder played a key
role in designing, includes two large
gas-fired kilns (one of which is a shuttle
kiln), a raku firing pit, space for stu­
dents to build their own kilns, two large
electric kilns, a small round electric kiln,
a lot of ware carts, a large walk-in damp
room, about 15 kick wheels with elec­
tric motors, two pug mills (one for por­
celain and one for other clays), a large
clay mixer, separate clay-mixing and
glaze-mixing rooms, and a state-of-theart venting and dust-collection system.
The new equipment is nice, but what
is more important about the facility to
Zehnder is that it is “a functioning stu­
dio” where students are challenged to
understand art, as well as feel it.
“They call me ‘Why because I’m
always asldng them why something is,”
he continued. “The artist makes deci­
sions and he/she has to know what those
decisions are. If you don’t know what
you are doing and can’t address the logic
for what you are doing, I seriously ques­
tion the piece. For some, this thinldng
process takes a long time. They just
want to emote and ‘do their own thing.’
“Early on, I found that when I was
looking at exhibitions by faculty and
students, the students’ work often came
out as carbon copies of their teachers. I
didn’t want that. My role as an educator
is to help the students figure out what
they are all about.”
But as Zehnder tried to do that, he
learned that the main problem is that
November 1998
Smoked wall form, approximately 36 inches in height.
most students don’t know what they are
all about yet.
“Too often, they try to find their
own self in all the social gobbledygook
they are involved in,” he said.
Although Zehnder came to North­
ern Michigan University with all the
trappings of the hippie life-style, he
learned that he and his students have
to get through “all the social trash” to
find themselves in their work. The ex­
periences of two students show the
kind of social influences Zehnder has
challenged in order to bring out the
best in his students:
“John was totally undisciplined,”
Zehnder recalled. “His whole attitude
in life was to shock everyone. He would
come to class with a quart jug full of
sludge from a roadside ditch and present
it as his assignment, just daring anyone
to challenge him. He would work in
the studio to a tape recording of re­
peated obscenities.
“Sketch,” 29 inches in height, wheel thrown and assembled,
by Marvin Zehnder, Marquette, Michigan.
“When everyone was upset, he would
feel good. But a person like that suffers
because people keep their hands off him.
People avoided him instead of confront­
ing him or engaging him. I don’t like to
interfere, but I do interfere when I see
the choices being made are destructive
to the individual.”
More recently, a student was caught
up in stereotypical expressions of femi­
nism and female rights. “It was not
until she got her act together and
could stop being a pissed-off woman
that she could really discover herself,”
Zehnder noted.
The discipline and the critical think­
ing have not translated into creative or
intellectual conservatism, however.
That’s especially apparent in his own
work habits. For example, he is “bored
if I work with a glaze that I know will
always work. I like to take chances. I
believe in people making mistakes and
falling flat on their faces. You have got
to take chances and a university should
be able to do that.”
David Austin, a recent graduate who
specializes in public art and fountains,
said one of the main lessons he learned
from Zehnder was to look at something
in more than one way.
“He would never accept somebody
doing one object and saying, ‘This is
the idea I’m trying to get across,’” Aus­
tin said. “He would make you do it ten
different ways.”
Zehnder’s assignments were more
idea and solution oriented than object
oriented. Rather than ask students to
produce 50 mugs of equal dimensions,
a typical Zehnder assignment would be
something more ambiguous, such as:
“Create a container that holds milk.”
Several of Zehnder’s former students
echoed their teacher s mantra about delv­
ing into the “why” artists make the de­
cisions they do in their work. But the
greatest compliment his students have
paid him is that they have all turned
out differently.
“They are all such extremely differ­
ent individuals,” Zehnder noted. “You
would not be able to look at their work
and say they were my students.”
As another former student observed,
“He did not just turn out potters; he
turned out human beings. It didn’t mat­
ter whether you became an investment
banker or an artist.” A
Texas Clay Traditions
eramics by 14 Texas artists/educators, as well as objects by the teach­
ers who taught and inspired them, were
exhibited in “Clay Traditions: Texas
Educators and Their Teachers” at the
Dallas Museum of Art.
“The tradition of teaching is woven
through the history of ceramics. Teach­
ers mentor their students, passing down
ceramic traditions to the next genera­
tion,” noted Lee Akins, professor of art
at Collin County Community College
in Plano; and Aileen Horan, head of
Family Education and Community Pro­
grams at the Dallas Museum of Art, in
the exhibition catalog.
“These teachers function as guides,
“Large Triple Leapin’ Wizard Cruet,” 26 inches in length, earthenware
providing examples of what can be ac­
with colored slips, Cone 06 oxidation fired, by Susie Moody, Dallas.
complished over a lifetime. Though the
teacher and artist roles require different
characteristics, the instructors in this
exhibition have been able to combine
the two successfully. These two genera­
tions of artists provide a cross section of
contemporary work in clay.” ▲
“Black Charger,” 27 inches in diameter,
porcelain with airbrushed glaze, Cone
10 reduction fired, by Victor Babu,
Overland Park, Kansas; invited by
Dennis Smith, San Antonio.
“Lidded Torso Bottle,”
17 inches in height,
coil-built terra cotta
with glaze and oxide,
Cone 1 oxidation fired
by Lee Akins, Dallas.
November 1998
Put a Lid on It
n invitational focusing on the idea
of containment, “Put a Lid on It”
opened this summer at the Appalachian
Center for Crafts in Smithville, Tennes­
see. When putting the show together,
Stephen Robison, an instructor at the
center, made a point of inviting at least
one person working in every type of
firing technique to participate; in all,
ceramics by 55 artists were featured.
Working in porcelain and stoneware,
Michigan potter Jane Shellenbarger fires
with soda and wood. “Often,” she says,
“the pieces undergo multiple firing, or
are enameled and sandblasted to achieve
a depth of surface.”
She is interested in the “dialogue that
clay creates with hand and eye and
memory....While function continues to
be a primary concern, I am equally in­
Covered jar, 7½ inches in height, wheel
thrown from local clay, high fired, $25,
by Frances Senska, Bozeman, Montana.
terested in decoration and embellish­
ment of surface.”
Montana potter Frances Senska pro­
duces forms “that will serve their pur­
pose efficiently and are attractive enough
to give their owner pleasure in use, or
sitting on a shelf.” To fulfill her desire to
remain “an independent, low-technology, pre-industrial-type worker, in per­
sonal control of all parts of the process,
from clay bank to customer,” she digs
her own clay from the edge of a landfill
and often uses local slip clays.
After closing at the Appalachian Cen­
ter for Crafts in August, the show
traveled to Leu Art Gallery at Belmont
University in Nashville, then to the
Lawton Gallery at the University of
Wisconsin, Green Bay, where it can be
seen through November 6. A
Oval jar, 8 inches in height, terra cotta with terra sigillata, fired first to Cone 04, then rubbed with black copper oxide
and refired to Cone 018, $250, by Charity Davis-Woodard, Edwardsville, Illinois, with iron handle by Bob Woodard.
“Pair of Boxes,” 8 inches in height, stoneware with slips, wood/soda fired,
Cone 9-10, $200, by Jane Shellenbarger, Hale, Michigan.
Six-sided jar, 14 inches in height, stoneware
with slips, wood/soda fired, Cone 9-10, $240,
by Will Ruggles and Douglass Rankin,
Bakersville, North Carolina.
Jars, to 5½ inches in height, brushed with commercial and noncommercial glazes, raku fired, accented with pewter inlay,
$200 each, by Karl Borgeson, Whitewater, Wisconsin.
November 1998
by W. Lowell Baker
ver the course of history, individuals
have added a variety of tempers to
clay bodies to improve working quali­
ties and dry strength. In the 1960s, a
number of ceramics artists worked slip
into fiber-glass cloth and draped the
slip-laden material over a variety of
forms to create thin veils of clay. In
the 1970s and ’80s, nylon fiber was
added to allow artists to develop thin
but tough clay sculpture. In the 1990s,
cellulose fiber was added to enhance
wet working characteristics, increase
the leather-hard and bone-dry strength,
and to allow repairs and reworking of
bone-dry forms.
Like many ceramics teachers, I have
provided my students with information
about this cellulose-reinforced clay (pa­
per clay) and encouraged them to ex­
periment. This experimentation has led
some of my students to work with a
jersey fabric soaked in a slip of rein­
forced clay to form single-use saggars.
In developing this process, however, we
found that the fiber-reinforced saggar
was often more interesting than the piece
it contained.
Subsequently, I looked to industry
for a way to blow the slip into a mold or
over a form made from materials that
would burn out in the firing. After some
experimentation, I found that two com­
mon and relatively inexpensive tools are
suitable. The best tool for applying large
quantities of thick slip is the Goldbladt
Pattern Pistol. The low-price model of
this tool can be purchased from most
paint-supply stores or lumberyards for
about $70. It was designed to spray
textured paint and stucco onto walls
and ceilings.
The second tool I have used to spray
clay is a nonpressurized sandblaster,
which can be found for as little as $12
at many auto-supply stores. It is most
effective when used to apply thin coats.
Untitled sculpture, approximately 10 inches in height, produced by spraying
layers of paper-reinforced clay over a foam core.
Core forms may be constructed from foam rubber,
cardboard or other lightweight combustible materials.
Foam can be easily shaped with a bandsaw or cut with a
knife or scissors; additional shapes are attached with glue.
Large forms can be suspended from a frame.
November 1998
Spraying with a Pattern Pistol.
Spraying Clay Body
(Cone 10)
Custer Feldspar............................ 3.0 lb
Cedar Heights Goldart............... 15.0
Hawthorn Bonding Clay............. 25.0
Flint................................................ 3.0
Fine Grog...................................... 5.0
Dry Paper Fiber................................... 1.5
5Z5 lb
Add 3 ounces sodium silicate.
Applying layers of paper-reinforced clay with a sandblaster; care should be
taken to avoid breathing mist from the spray.
My source of paper fiber is linter
from regional paper mills, but any highquality linter would do. This recipe
yields a fibrous body, which works well
for quickly building thickness in the
wall of the piece. I sometimes reduce
the fiber content to 0.75 pound for a
more dense surface coat. The addition
of 0.5 pound Zonolite, a form of ex­
panded mica, gives an interesting sur­
face texture, as well as quickly adding
bulk to the wall thickness.
Forms can be constructed from any
lightweight combustible material. I pre­
fer to use foam rubber, which can be
shaped with a bandsaw, or cut with a
knife or scissors. Additional pieces may
be glued to the core with a high-quality
contact cement.
Once the form is complete, it is
placed on a sheet of plastic so that
overspray may be easily retrieved and
Allowing each layer to dry thoroughly between applications
produces strong walls.
Slip-coated fabric can be added as a structural patch
or to create decorative elements.
Bisqued work just prior to removal from
the kiln; all paper-reinforced clay
projects should be fired in a wellventilated fuel-burning kiln.
The thickness of each layer depends
on the paper-fiber content, the viscos­
ity of the slip and the size of the piece. I
have found that layers of between Vs
and Vi6 inch seem to work best. Be
careful not to spray any single coating
too thickly or sagging will result. As the
shell dries, additional coats are applied
to develop the final wall thickness. Thor­
ough drying between layers produces
the strongest walls.
After two or three coats of slip have
been applied and allowed to dry, smaller
forms will be self-supporting. Additional
layers provide enough thickness for a
wall that is strong enough to support
itself in the firing. Pieces 2 feet in height
require a finished wall thickness of at
least ½ inch. Taller pieces will require
thicker walls.
Wall thickness and fired strength are
difficult to judge, however. I have found
pressing on the form with your hand
will give you a good indication of its
strength. As you press, you should feel a
rigid wall with no cracking. If you crack
the wall, it can be repaired by simply
spraying on additional layers of slip. I
have also used slip-coated pieces of fab­
ric to patch structural cracta, as well as
to create decorative elements. The wetto-dry shrinkage of sprayed, fiber-rein­
forced clay is less than 2%.
Once the final layer of slip has been
applied, the work may be loaded into
the kiln and fired. Firing a ceramic shell
that contains foam rubber should only
be done in a well-ventilated space, as
the gasses from the burning foam are
exceptionally noxious and potentially
hazardous. I have also had very good
results using core forms made from cor­
Untitled sculpture, approximately 12 inches in height, paper-reinforced clay
sprayed over a foam form, bisqued, then glazed and fired to Cone 1.
rugated cardboard and other combus­
tible materials. These forms will produce
remixed into the batch. Due to the
If the form is small, there is no need less gas and smoke than the foam, but
overspray, I prefer to work outside.
to suspend it. Just be sure to rotate still require well-ventilated kilns. It is
Larger forms may be suspended to while spraying to ensure complete and best to fire any fiber-reinforced clay in a
help support the weight of the initial even coverage.
fuel-burning kiln with a flue vented to
coats of slip and prevent the form from
The slip is mixed to the consistency the outside.
distorting; however, before the form is of thin mayonnaise, then placed in the
The sandblaster has proven to be a
suspended, a thick layer of slip should hopper of the Pattern Pistol and sprayed good tool for applying glazes onto large
be spread over the bottom of the form, directly onto the form. If you choose to forms as well. The surface texture of the
or a thin slab of plastic clay may be use a sandblaster, the slip must be slightly sprayed clay is enhanced by the layering
placed underneath to build the bottom. thinner. I recommend about 35psi air and overspraying of a variety of glazes.
After spraying, the bottom of the foam pressure. Just a few safety precautions:
The largest sprayed-slip piece I have
form should be slightly compressed and do not point the spraying device at your made to date is slightly over 5 feet tall,
placed firmly on a plastic-covered base skin, avoid breathing mist from the with a finished weight of only 18
to allow for the slight clay shrinkage sprayed slip, and avoid breathing dust pounds. The only limitation appears to
during drying.
from subsequent carving or sanding.
be the size of the kiln. ▲
November 1998
A mural by cofounder Eduardo Vega was installed in the courtyard of the Casa de Chaguarchimbana,
a new museum and education center for ceramics in Cuenca, Ecuador.
New Museum and Education Center
in Ecuador
by Judy Blankenship
n 1957, in the tiny village of Valdivia bana) is the long name of a long-term
on Ecuador’s Pacific coast, a self- restoration project of the Paul Rivet
taught archaeologist, Emilio Estrada, Foundation, a nonprofit institution es­
discovered a few shards of pottery that tablished in 1987 to promote and pre­
eventually forced archaeologists and his­ serve the ceramics tradition in Ecuador.
When I lived in Cuenca in the early
torians to revise their timeline of the
origins of Central and South American 1990s, I often walked by a once-grand
19th-century adobe house that lay in
cultures. With radio-carbon, these an­
cient shards proved to be the oldest
(5000 years) ceramic pieces yet found
in the New World, indicating that pot­
tery production existed in Ecuador a
thousand years before it appeared in
Mexico or in Peru.
Millennia later, the center of ceram­
ics in Ecuador is several hundred miles
southeast of Valdivia, in the picturesque
city of Cuenca, where a new ceramics
museum and education center recently Before restoration, the once-grand
opened its doors. The Casa de 19th-century adobe house was nearly
(Chug-war-chim- a total ruin.
ruins on the outskirts of town. I always
stopped to marvel at the remains of
painted murals of bucolic European
scenes on the exterior walls of the house,
a peculiar conceit of weal thy Cuencanos
a hundred years ago. The weather was
slowly destroying these murals. One
adobe brick wall had fallen entirely, ex­
posing a large interior courtyard, its
wooden balconies hanging at crazy
angles. Someone told me that this prop­
erty was once owned by a wealthy
woman farmer and now belonged to
the city, but it sat in ruins because there
was no money to restore it.
On a return visit to Cuenca five years
later, I again walked to the Casa de
Chaguarchimbana, now meticulously
restored and transformed into the new
headquarters of the Paul Rivet Founda­
tion. Approaching the house from the
Calle de Herrerias, the street of black­
smiths and ironworkers since colonial
times, I stepped into a huge plaza of
brick and stone radiating out from the
house. With its renewed stucco walls
and red tile roof, rebuilt wooden balco­
nies and restored murals, the house sits
proudly like a grand old dame, em­
phatically declaring she has a lot of life
left in her yet.
The sign at the entrance said Casa
de Chaguarchimbana: Museum and
Training Center of the Arts of Fire. I
was early for my appointment with the
director of the foundation, so I walked
around to see what other changes had
occurred. Behind the house, a large kiln
sat under a new shed roof, alongside
piles of bricks and bags of materials for
making clay. A man in canvas overalls
came out of a long, low building and
introduced himself as Jose Cumbe, the
ceramics workshop manager, and of­
fered to give me a tour. He proudly
posed for a photograph at one of the
three kick wheels.
From the grassy courtyard of the
house, dominated by a free-standing ce­
ramic mural by Eduardo Vega, I could
see that this is no ordinary museum.
No collection of prehistoric ceramics
was in evidence—those are under glass
a few blocks away in the national mu­
seum of the Banco Central. In fact, no
exhibits of any kind were on display;
there was only a series of pristine rooms
and galleries waiting to be used. I later
learned that, although the training cen­
ter had been operating since 1993 and
the museum had been dedicated in Janu­
ary 1997, the foundation offices had
been moved into the house only the
week before.
Alexandra Kennedy, long-time direc­
tor of the Paul Rivet Foundation, ex­
plained all this when we met in her
office. Light flooded through tall win­
dows, framing a backdrop of moun­
tains and the dramatically changing skies
for which Cuenca is famous. I asked
Kennedy, an Ecuadoran art historian
trained in the U.S., Spain and Ecuador,
how she became involved with a ceram­
ics museum.
“The idea of creating a national mu­
seum of ceramics began as the dream of
November 1998
Traditional Ecuadorian pottery for sale in the market.
Eduardo Vega, a well-known Ecuadoran
ceramist, and myself, before we were
married. As an art historian, I was inter­
ested in starting something that was not
just about collecting objects, but an alive
and interactive museum, a welcoming
place of work and education, a chang­
ing exhibit space, and a formal and in­
formal meeting ground. Because most
of the ceramics industry and small work­
shops are located in the Cuenca region—
the earth here is perfect for ceramics—it
made sense to establish it here.”
In 1987, Kennedy and Vega formally
created the Paul Rivet Foundation,
named for a Frenchman who came to
Ecuador in 1901 with the second inter­
national geodesic expedition measuring
the meridians of longitude. Rivet was
fascinated by the indigenous cultures of
Ecuador, linguistics and, as it happened,
a woman from Cuenca. On his return
to Paris with his Ecuadoran wife and a
trove of South American artifacts, Rivet
founded the ethnology museum at the
University of Paris.
Soon after establishing the founda­
tion, it became apparent to Vega and
Kennedy that the traditional potters of
the region, most working in their homes,
were barely surviving. Antiquated equip­
ment, poor materials, low productivity,
lack of access to credit and to markets,
and exploitative commercial middlemen
meant that handcrafted ceramics in Ec­
uador were in danger of dying out alto­
gether. Many rural potters had already
left their studios in search of more lu­
crative work in the cities. Others had
given up making large pots and were
instead producing cheap plaster items
for tourists.
“We realized there would be no more
ceramics if the people remained so poor,”
The entrance to Casa de Chaguarchimbana: Museum and Training Center of the Arts of Fire.
Workshop manager Jose Cumbe.
said Kennedy. So the foundation
redefined its direction and began to of­
fer technical courses and hands-on as­
sistance to local ceramists to help them
improve their working and living con­
ditions, and the quality of their work.
Soon the potters themselves were re­
questing advice from the new “ceram­
ics school.” How could they build a
better kiln? The foundation organized
a 60-hour course with a national kiln
expert to help area potters improve their
wood- and gas-fired ovens. What was
wrong with their clay mix? How could
they improve their glazes? An analytical
study of area workshops revealed that
many potters were using inappropri­
ate—and highly toxic—clay and glaze
mixtures. In one of the worst examples,
potters were melting down lead from
spent car batteries to make glazes.
The foundation officially assumed a
development role in 1993 by approach­
ing national and international organi­
zations to help fund projects designed
to save the workshop ceramics industry
in Ecuador. The response was immedi­
ate. A United Nations development
fund provided for a series of courses on
mixing clays, making better kilns, and
eliminating toxins. The Fulbright Com­
mission supported the publication of a
series of instructive manuals and audio­
visuals. A Swiss organization paid for a
50-hour course in high-fired ceramics.
Ecuadoran development funds and na­
tional banks cooperated to provide ce­
ramists with credit opportunities for the
first time.
In 1996, the foundation opened a
retail outlet in a restored 19th-century
church, thus cutting out the “middle­
man problem” in marketing that had so
often robbed local potters of any profits.
A year later, the shop moved into the
new museum quarters.
“I calculate we’ve served about 200
families in the region with our courses,”
Kennedy said, “and have been instru­
mental in the survival of at least 50
ceramics families who were in danger of
giving up their traditional vocation.”
With the continuation of a local ce­
ramics tradition promising, if not as­
sured, Vega and Kennedy turned their
attention to their original dream: the
establishment of a museum.
“It took ten years to restore the house,
with many stops and starts according to
the flow of fund-raising,” Kennedy re­
called. (The city, while retaining own­
ership, agreed to give the foundation
use of the house if it restored it.) These
intervals gave the foundation board
plenty of time to rethink their original
concept of a national ceramics museum
and incorporate local developments. Ar­
tisans in fields other than ceramics, for
example, began to request the
foundation’s services: forged-iron artists,
jewelry makers, glassblowers, etc. They
too wanted technical courses and help
with marketing and credit opportuni­
ties. The foundation responded by ex­
panding its mandate to include all the
arts of earth and fire.
With requests from foreign ceram­
ists and artists, educators and designers
in other fields interested in visiting Ec­
uador, the foundation also established
an international residency program to
offer artists and scholars opportunities
November 1998
Eduardo Vega, cofounder of the Paul Rivet Foundation,
discussing the layout of one of his tile murals.
A brick kiln was constructed adjacent to the workshop area.
Cuenca potter Lorena Tamiriz.
for research, contact with local artisans,
and travel. Many of the visiting artists
teach courses in their specialties to
Ecuadorans, creating a rich exchange of
experience, ideas and techniques.
By the time the Casa Chaguarchimbana was unveiled in January of
1997, the last phase of construction
aided by the J. Paul Getty Foundation,
the original idea of a single-craft mu­
seum had evolved into a comprehensive
center for the preservation and promo­
tion of all Ecuadoran handcrafts of fire
and earth.
“So now we have this beautiful house
and we must create the museum,” re­
marked Kennedy. “Its a big challenge
because we want a museum centered
not in beautiful objects, but in people.
We want our exhibits to visualize social,
political and economic problems—how
women have not been recognized as an
essential part of the history of ceramics,
for example.
“Museums in our country have his­
torically been geared to the elite, to
reflect their customs, knowledge and
interests,” said Kennedy. “Now, in our
new museum, urban people will be in
touch with a peasants life, the rich
with the poor. Its the interconnec­
tions that were interested in, that will
make it a living museum. We might
show beautiful objects, but at the same
time we will show awful’ objects if
they tell a story.” ▲
Juan Guillermo Vega working in the museum studio.
Paul Rivet Foundation Residency Program
by Judy Blankenship
Since 1991, the Paul Rivet Foundation has hosted artists, art historians
and art educators in the areas of ceramics, jewelry, wrought iron, metal­
work and textiles. Although the foundation offers no financial support, it
collaborates with funding institutions or individual artists to provide
contacts with local artists and artisans, research and teaching opportuni­
ties, studio workspace, accommodations and Spanish classes.
Laurie Spencer, ceramics artist and teacher at Holland Hall School in
Tulsa, Oklahoma, spent six months in Cuenca in 1992-93, sponsored by
Arts International and the Lila Wallace/Readers Digest International Artist
Program. The Paul Rivet Foundation was her host organization.
“During my time in Ecuador,” she says, “I was involved in everything
from researching pre-Columbian pottery, to teaching classes, visiting art­
ists and craftspeople in their workshops and participating in firings. The
foundation provided the studio that I shared with a local artist, arranged
for my classes, and helped make the contacts necessary to do research in
the museums around the country.”
Although Spencer didn’t speak Spanish, she prepared for her residency
by taking a crash course in Oklahoma, and hiring a private tutor in
Cuenca. With the help of a translator, she taught a ceramic sculpture class
to local artists. “I loved teaching those classes,” Spencer says, “because they
allowed me to give something back to the community and get to know the
artists in Cuenca.”
On her return to Oklahoma, Spencer worked through the Arts and
Humanities Council of Tulsa to give ceramics classes based on the preColumbian works she had studied in Ecuador. In addition, she helped
coordinate the exchange visit by a ceramics artist from Cuenca to Tulsa;
during his stay in the U.S., he gave workshops at Oklahoma universities
and attended the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts
(NCECA) conference in New Orleans.
El Rio de la Vida
Intimations of Ecuador
by Laurie Spencer
“Pinus Sonorus,” 21 inches in
height, slip cast and handbuilt,
with airbrushed terra sigillata.
ince the early 1980s, my work in
ceramics has developed in two re­
lated but distinct directions, the first
being fruit- and vegetable-shaped
whistles or sound sculptures. It was the
sound quality of these whistles that led
me to the construction of large-scale
clay domes. What began as sound cham­
bers for the whistles slowly evolved into
huge site-specific clay structures built
and fired on site; (see the February 1990
issue of Ceramics Monthly).
My most recent series of sculptural
whistles was presented at the Little Rock
Art Center in Arkansas and the Tulsa
Ceramic Art Gallery in Oklahoma. It
was inspired by pre-Columbian ceram­
ics. In a program sponsored by Arts
International and the Lila Wallace/Read­
ers Digest International Artist Program,
I spent six months conducting research
in various museums in Quito, Guaya­
quil and Cuenca, Ecuador.
The focus of my study was ancient
water whistles, double-vessel forms that
when filled with water and rocked back
and forth produce sounds as the water
pushes the air through small built-in
whistles. The tones created by these
pieces often sound like bird chirps or
warbles. Many of the water whistles
incorporate bird or animal imagery and
the sounds they create can be imagined
Firing of “Suenos Escarchados”; all
larger works were fired by building a
temporary brick kiln around the piece
and heating with three propane burners.
“Whistling Tree #1,” 59 inches in height, press molded and
handbuilt, airbrushed with terra sigillata, fired to Cone 4.
“Nacio del Agua,” 31 inches in height, slip-cast and handbuilt water whistle,
airbrushed terra sigillata, fired to Cone 01.
November 1998
“Whistling Tree #2,” 68 inches in height, press molded and handbuilt, airbrushed
with terra sigillata, fired to Cone 4, by Laurie Spencer, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
to be the birds or animals voice as it
sings or cries.
Similar to the pre-Columbian water-whistle makers, I too am inter­
ested in sound as the voice of the
sculpture. It is a means of giving these
pieces a sense of life. My works are not
meant to be musical instruments, but
rather “living” forms.
Another aspect of my interest in
sound-making sculpture is the physical
relationship one has to the piece. With
the whistles that are made to be blown
into, one has to control ones breath in
such a way that the instrument can
respond. When the focus is right, the
whistle comes alive. In a similar way,
water whistles are extremely sensitive to
movement. Tilting slightly can make
them speak.
Most of my whistles are slip cast in
plaster molds that I make from fruits
and vegetables. While leather hard,
the cast parts are cut, altered and as­
sembled. Handbuilt additions are some­
times added.
I am interested in the fruit and veg­
etable forms because of their shapes and
textures. The slip-casting process lends
an air of reality. In this way, I can create
sculptures that are believable, familiar
forms, and yet unknown.
Some of the forms in this series were
also inspired by native fruits, vegetables
and other organic forms of Ecuador. I
made plaster molds of such tropical
fruits as papaya, babaca, siglalon and
calabaza while in residency, but because
the plaster molds were too heavy to
transport to the U.S., I fired the cast
forms in my Ecuadorian studio and
brought the fired clay fruits back to my
home studio so that I could then make
new plaster molds.
Dating back to 3500 B.C., the civi­
lization of Ecuador is one of the old­
est in the Americas. A great deal of
our knowledge about these early cul­
tures comes from the ceramic objects
they created. Looking at this continuum
of ceramics production throughout the
centuries helps me to define my role in
society and to feel that I am an integral
part of this ongoing history as we con­
tinue to define, refine, discover and cre­
ate in clay. ▲
Fletcher Challenges Last Bow
by Christine Thacker
After 22 years, Fletcher Challenge Ltd.
has bowed out as the sponsor of one of
the top ceramics competitions in the
world. Consequently, the “Fletcher Chal­
lenge Ceramics Award” has been can­
celled for 1999. Auckland Studio
Potters, which was responsible for the
management of the competition, is con­
sidering the development of a different
Award” to recognize the strength of New
Zealand ceramics and encourage a shift
in emphasis away from the purely sculp­
tural to more functional work.—Ed.
Possibly more than at any of the 2 1
preceding competitions, the key to
the selection of the winners and
finalists for the 1998 “Fletcher Chal­
lenge Ceramics Award” lies in the
jurors own elemental work. Each of
these pieces documents two events:
the rugged manipulation of clay, and
the scorching work of the flames.
Juror Tjorborn Kvasbo, a Norse art­
ist who has been on the other side as
well (including a judge’s commenda­
tion for the 1994 competition and an
Award of Merit in 1997), chose 91
pieces from the 791 entries received
from 57 countries. The greatest num­
ber of acceptances (23) was from the
U.S., while nine countries were repre­
sented by just one entry; but in the
case of France, it was a vital one, as
“Grand Coquille” by Jean-Francois
Fouilhoux won the premier award of
NZ$ 15,000 (approximately US$7785).
With a ripped and scooped, shell-in­
spired, celadon-glazed dish brimming
with all the contrary qualities that
make any artistic expression compel­
ling and enduring, it has strength yet
“Velvet,” 11 inches in height, NZ$450
(approximately US$235), by Sasja
Scherjon, Amsterdam.
“Grand Coquille,” 7 inches in height, celadon-glazed dish, NZ$3400 (approximately US$1765),
by Jean-Francois Fouilhoux, Mont-Pres-Chambord, France.
November 1998
seems delicate. It is gutsy, yet refined;
heavily structured, yet lightly per­
ceived; dynamic, yet still; and famil­
iar, yet entirely new.
The five merit awards are all tech­
nically intriguing and different in type:
Mark Chatterley, Williamston, Michi­
gan, explores the tensions and pas­
sions of relationships in his largerthan-life figures; his “In Your Face”
has two spindly legged, 6 1 /2 -feet-high
figures locked in an apparent power
struggle. The pocked crater glaze and
the height of the two figures make
this a commanding work.
Dutch artist Sasja Scherjon built up
a cylinder from a continuous coil, made
a mold from this, then covered the cast­
ing with an intense blue matt slip. It is a
dynamic and evocative piece about na­
ture, but also brings to mind saggy socks
and the forces of gravity.
“Kreisel” by Jochen Ruth of Ger­
many is a work about materials and
process. Ruth has used a very gritty
mixture of clay, something resembling
concrete or oatmeal in texture, and
treated the press-molded conical form
with a soda solution and wood ash.
Odd and enigmatic, it looks alien or
like part of a seed husk, and at the
same time is quite simply a bowl.
Water was the inspiration for Nor­
wegian Eirik Gjedrem’s “Whirl,” a
large press-molded bowl form with a
wavelike surface that ripples and radi­
ates from a central vortex. This is a
study of frozen motion and draws the
viewer into its apparent depths.
“Kreisel,” approximately 14 inches in diameter, roughly
formed from a fireclay, sand, grog and perlite body, heavily
sanded when bone dry, bisqued, soaked in a soda solution,
then fired to 1280°C (2336°F), NZ$1300 (approximately
US$675), by Jochen Ruth, Altisheim, Germany.
“In Your Face,” 6½ feet in height, slab-built stoneware,
with crater glaze, gas fired to Cone 6, NZ$3500 (approximately
US$1816), by Mark Chatterley, Williamston, Michigan.
“The Pleasures of Metal” by Charles
Timm-Ballard, Appleton, Wisconsin, is
both pleasing and perplexing. A wallmounted clay slab is a canvas for a sepia-toned watery landscape where
random cracks in the clay surface be­
come the skinny trunks of delicate trees,
bringing to mind the myopic view of
an old Monet or the early landscapes of
a young Mondrian. Off-center and es­
sentially distracting is a recessed square
with a ball wedged inside, perhaps some
allusion to the title.
As Kvasbo put it, “A good craft
object is filled with dilemmas and
conflicts,” and the selection for the
1998 show fully provided the oppor­
tunity to reflect on those properties.
The author New Zealand ceramist
Christine Thacker is a past Merit Award
winner in the <(Fletcher Challenge Ce­
ramics Award. ”
“The Pleasures of Metal,” 21 inches in height,
dolomite-matt-glazed wall plaque, fired to Cone 6
in oxidation, NZ$4170 (approximately US$2165),
by Charles Timm-Ballard, Appleton, Wisconsin.
“Whirl,” approximately 20 inches in diameter, press-molded stoneware
with barium green and white matt glazes, fired to Cone 8, NZ$3500
(approximately US$1815), by Eirik Gjedrem, Sogne, Norway.
November 1998
Pairing of
Eva Kwong’s Sculptural Vases
by Kate Bonansinga
“Pink Tendril Vase,” 12 inches in height,
stoneware with slips, salt glazed, Cone 5.
“Big Ball and Skinny Vase,” 8½ inches in height,
salt-glazed stoneware, fired to Cone 5.
“I am amazed by the tiny bits of matter
that live and move within our cells, and
in the evocative nature and optical mix­
ing of colors,” says ceramics sculptor
Eva Kwong, who lives and teaches in
Kent, Ohio. The subjects of Kwong s
“Opposites Attract” series, which she
initiated in the mid 1980s, are not only
cells and color, but also the larger issues
of duality, balance and partnership. In
1988, Kwong was invited to participate
in an exhibition of tableware at the Con­
temporary Art Center in Cleveland,
Ohio. In response, she created the first
vases that respected both the param­
eters of the exhibition and the concerns
that she was, and still is, addressing.
Although earlier sculptures in the
series were handbuilt, the vases were
wheel thrown from either earthenware
or stoneware. Most of the completed
works consist of two components: one
is cylindrical, geometric and func­
tional; the other is volumetric, or­
ganic and nonfunctional.
Kwong enjoys bringing seemingly
disparate forms and colors together; de­
veloping a visual complexity contrib­
utes to the success of these pieces. It is
impossible to generalize about the rela­
tionships between the units in each of
the ceramic pairs; they are as diverse
and complex as the relationships be­
tween human partners. In “Pink Ten­
dril Vase,” either of the two forms could
stand alone aesthetically, yet their effect
would be completely different and un­
doubtedly diluted. “Pollen Vase” com­
bines a 9-inch-high cylinder with a
shorter, closed funnel that is crowned at
its edge by a tiny ball of pollen. In
“Passion Fruit,” the green cylinder
dominates in scale, but its red counter­
part, the size and shape of a plump
thumb, dominates in color and texture.
As the artist says, “Each vase, although
“Pollen Vase,” 9½ inches in height,
salt-glazed stoneware.
potentially independent, is completed
by something else.”
This is true of cells, as well, which
the ninth edition of Webster’s dictio­
nary defines as “capable alone of inter­
acting with other cells, of performing
all the fundamental functions of life,
and forming the least structural unit of
living matter capable of functioning in­
dependently.” One manifestation of
Kwong’s interest in microbiology and
cells was “Bacteria, Diatoms and Cells,”
a wall installation at the McDonough
Museum of Art in Youngstown, Ohio.
Another is the sculptural vase pairings,
where the artist specifically refers to zy­
gosis, the union of cells, which she says
“are about the fusion of ideas and hu­
man relationships.”
Many of the recent vases are also
architectural: “Big Ball and Skinny Vase”
is shaped like a nuclear cooling tower;
“Reflections” is reminiscent of a vase
and its shadow. This is in part due to
Kwong’s recent involvement with
November 1998
“Passion Fruit,” 8½ inches in height, wheel-thrown and handbuilt stoneware,
with colored slips, salt glazed at Cone 5.
several site-specific pieces, for which she
studied and carefully considered the re­
spective interior spaces.
If the primary text of the vases in the
“Opposites Attract” series is balance and
duality, their subtext is multiplicity and
the wide range of characteristics present
in every human being, any one of which
may dominate at certain times or in
certain situations. This is apparent not
only in the diversity of Kwongs forms,
but also in the layering and interplay of
color. In her words: “By carving back
into layers of colored slips, I reveal bits
of other colors underneath.”
The resulting combinations of forms
and colors reflect Kwongs “wonderment
of the natural world,” and fascination
with how seemingly disparate people
and circumstances often harmonize.
The author Freelance curator Kate
Bonansinga resides in Portland\ Oregon.
“Reflections,” 10½ inches in height, stoneware, wheel thrown and assembled,
brushed with slips, salt glazed, fired to Cone 5, by Eva Kwong, Kent, Ohio.
All-Purpose Clay Body
(Cone 04-6)
Cedar Heights Redart...................... 50%
Fireclay............................................. 50
Add: Sand.................................. 10-20%
Color variations of the all-purpose slip
are possible with the following oxide or
stain additions:
Light Copper Green:
Copper Carbonate.......................................3%
Dark Copper Green:
Copper Carbonate........................ 7-8 %
All-Purpose Slip
(Cone 04-9)
Dark Green:
Chrome Oxide............................................. 5%
Light Blue:
Cobalt Carbonate........................................ 1%
Gerstley Borate............................... 13%
Nepheline Syenite.......................... 12
Ball Clay........................................... 25
Kaolin............................................... 25
Flint................................................... 25
Best when applied to leather-hard ware.
Dark Blue:
Cobalt Carbonate........................................ 5%
Mason Stain 6006 or 6020 .. 12-15%
Mason Stain 6363 or 6364............ 10%
An Electronic Pottery Village
by Joe Molinaro
ho are all these people? They keep each day to sit down and be part of an knocking on the door of a friend in order
appearing each day wanting to talk electronic pottery village. How many? It to stop in and say hello.
about ceramics, most often on topics that didn’t matter. At the time, only the con­
Then there is the immediacy. Unlike
challenge and provoke, enlighten and con­ nection seemed relevant, not the number writing letters and waiting days or weeks
fuse, even console and nurture. Never be­ of people participating.
for a reply, or calling only to start a game
fore have I seen so much information about Sharing ideas about clay and glazes, of telephone tag by leaving a message on
clay exchanged on such a regular basis with­firing techniques and aesthetic concerns an answering machine, e-mail messages
out anyone feeling he or she should be was just the start. The weather, personal seem to come in like a trickle of water
compensated. In fact, the very giving na­ accomplishments and frustrations, family (although some say it can be more like a
ture of it all has me somewhat mystified, concerns, as well as health and safety is­ tidal wave), never really ending.
knowing good and well that information sues, quicldy found their way into the elec­ Ah, it seemed perfect, a steady diet of
about clay and glaze recipes, special firing tronic dialogue that soon grew faster than communication with others about ceram­
techniques and other valuable ceramic in­ our own ability to use computers. Before ics, anonymity if needed, and electronic
formation can, and oftentimes is, pack­
too long, I felt as if I had created a vehicle hugs when support was necessary. With
aged for a profit and/or only comes through
for communication that was moving so little work from me, Clayart slowly grew.
the slow process of education.
fast I could merely hang on to the bumper There was no longer a need for me to post
The transmission of thoughts and data as it flung me around each new techno­ questions to the list to generate discussion;
through fiber optic lines, and the sense of logical bend in the road.
I too could enjoy the banter and serious
“real” people not caring
responses to any ques­
about age, race, educa­
that came along.
The transmission of thoughts and data through fiber optic lines, tions
tion or how tall one can
As the number of par­
really throw a cylinder,
ticipants grew, the need
and the sense of “real”people not caring about age, race,
are the unique qualities
to filter the messages
education or how tall one can really throw a cylinder, are the
that make up the forum
took on a new dimen­
called Clayart, a Listserv
sion. Spam mail (mes­
list that allows ceramists
sages sent out to anyone
from around the world
having e-mail access,
to communicate with each other on a daily, After a very short time, I found a like- a.k.a. junk mail), and the general use of
sometimes hourly, basis. It is a place where minded friend and colleague on the list the Internet by those marketing anything
like-minded clay folks get together for cof­ who I quickly persuaded (although he from web services to sex, seemed to invade
fee, lunch or late-night mingling, never in might say begged) to work collaboratively cyberspace in grand proportion. Realizing
real time or the same place, only on com­ with me on this venture of bringing clay that a sense of order and control would
puter screens in the intimacy of their own people together electronically. Richard help keep topics on course, the governing
homes and/or studios. There is a sense of Burkett, an associate professor at San Di­ staff (of two) decided that it was time to
community without walls, faceless at times,ego State University and developer of the begin moderating messages to the list.
but never without passion for daywork. glaze calculation program called Hyper- While we realized that this would institute
It was just over six years ago that I Glaze, agreed to help manage this new a type of dictatorship, our goal was to
discovered e-mail (thanks to my wife Mary,forum. From that point on, we have workedmake it as much a benevolent dictatorship
who still finds time to bail me out with together almost daily, though nearly a con­ as possible.
technical assistance). After some frustrat­ tinent apart, to keep a steady diet of claySome members initially were concerned
ing attempts to seek out others online who related information flowing smoothly out about moderation of the list, but it was
were interested in sharing ideas about their to the new, the occasional and the sea­
our belief that they would soon discover
work in clay (most of the “art” lists I knew soned readers of Clayart.
this to be an advantage. Moderation was
about found any clay discussion either te­
While I had once formed questions to not meant to stifle the exchange of infor­
dious or irrelevant), I decided to go it pose to the list in order to keep the various mation, only to facilitate conversation. We
alone and start a list for ceramists.
topics of discussion moving along, I soon were right, and soon others agreed that the
I had just recently moved from south­ found myself serving the list as manager list had become more focused, with fewer
ern Florida, a bustling metropolis where with little time to contribute. New mem­ “off-topic” discussions distracting us from
artists easily find support in numbers, to bers gathered around the cyber water coolerwhat’s really important—clay! Blind faith,
rural Kentucky, where the gentle slopes of each day to test out theories, explore ideas, a trait I found most useful as a student
green hills and winding roads make daily ask questions about new equipment, share years ago, and one that I still work to
contact with others somewhat difficult. marketing stories or discuss new work seennurture in my own students at Eastern
With the Internet clay list, I hoped to in shows around the world. Logging on Kentucky University, was necessary for the
attract some people who would make time each day made me feel as though I was continuance of Clayart.
November 1998
So who are all these strangers, united another with a simple tap on the delete they are kind and pleasant. And while there
only by their love for clay and their will­ key. I have found myself wanting to loudly certainly are moments when bickering or
ingness to participate in what was once disagree with someone, which has me pro­ posturing takes place, it is usually only
commonly viewed as a fringe interest? And pelling my finger toward the delete key as differences being expressed through pas­
don’t we have better things to do with our if it were shot from a gun. And then there sionate discourse. And sure, we all have
time than sit in front of a computer screen?are those times when I want to disagree better things to do with our valuable time,
Aren’t there ceramics statements to be madequietly (probably because I’m not sure why with making pots being only one small
that are never finding their way to the I disagree) that I tap the delete key softly piece of our daily pie.
Whether it is through the gatherings of
kilns because of this silly need to connect (almost as if I think the sender is looking
via the Internet? And what could one pos­ over my shoulder). And then there are the Clayart members at each National
sibly learn from a computer about a real, those postings about which I am on the Council on Education for the Ceramic
fence. Do I keep or delete? These I save forArts (NCECA) conference, or through the
tactile experience?
Actually, my own knowledge of ceram­ a later date when I am wiser and will surely meeting of participants at workshops
ics has been expanded upon through dis­ know where they need to go, to the “trash”throughout the world, I am always de­
cussions on the Internet, and learning of or the “save” folder. Of course, my “save” lighted to learn how “real” connections to
the varied opinions and approaches to our folder is quickly stuffed to the gills, only to the names oil computer screens have only
medium has often caused me to find new then have me do some mid-month purg­ strengthened the friendships enjoyed as a
energy and enthusiasm for what I do in ing. Ah, I am so brutal at this point and result of their cyber-meetings.
Where do we all go from here? Your
the studio. How often are people still fooledany message left for later consideration is
by negative thoughts about computers, andoften thrown away, leaving no remnant of guess is as good as mine. E-mail is univer­
how much have others learned through its existence. There’s nothing quite like the sal and Clayart is only one example of how
their cautious steps forward into the elec­ feeling of orderliness achieved after clean­ this modern technology transcends our
immediate field of vision. Where Clayart
ing out old files on e-mail.
tronic age? But, I digress.
So, I ask again, who are all these people began as a modest attempt to unite a few
With messages now averaging over 65
a day (365 days a year), it is no mystery logging on each day in quest of that bit of like-minded people, it now includes nearly
why some newcomers to the list run information that might make their life or 3000 ceramists from over 30 countries.
screaming into the night trying to figure work in clay more meaningful? And why From where I sit, I can only feel proud to
out why their computers are growling at are they so willing to put aside everything be part of this unique blend of human
them each time they log on. Going away they are involved with at that particular spirits, who are willing to listen to and
for a week without setting your account to moment just to answer a question from a encourage the young, respect the old, find
“no mail” may cause you to feel electroni­ stranger? Don’t they have studio work theyconfidence and courage in their ability to
cally buried, because all those messages should attend to? Aren’t they missing out disagree, and look to the past with pride
keep coming. Of course, the tiniest bit of on something more important, like mak­ and the future with hope.
experience helps you realize that you have ing more pots to sell so they can have more While this computer revolution that
several options. Since it costs nothing to money? And why don’t they spend this we are experiencing will certainly take us
join Clayart, removing yourself from the valuable time on the computer fine tuning to areas as yet unknown, I can only suggest
list, then resubscribing, could not be easier. their resumes? Go figure! But there they that ceramists should stand tall for em­
Also, having your account set to “digest” are each day when I log on, waiting to bracing a technology at a time when most
allows you to receive the mail as one packetserve and be served rather generous help­ artists working in other media found it
irrelevant to their art. If one wishes to
(complete with table of contents) at the ings of ceramics information.
These contributors to Clayart are most support the claim that art is about com­
close of each day.
But, the method of controlling the ava­ often: patient (newcomers asking old ques­ munication, then why not use any tool at
your disposal to encourage and nurture
lanche of mail (including any unwanted tions are always treated kindly); knowl­
e-mail from any source) that I find most edgeable (there are tech gurus who give any level of communication? Plus, I’d sure
inviting is the selective use of the delete tirelessly to others); generous (clay and glazemiss talking to the friends who pop in
button. Without hesitation (sometimes this recipes abound), but most important, as I electronically each morning when I light
is too easy), one can mute the voice of see it from this electronic perch where I sit,up my screen. A
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Expanded vase, 12 inches in height, accented with dry ball clay pressed
onto the surface of the partially thrown form, by David Frank, Guilford, Connecticut.
he practice of throwing pots,
an ancient and in some ways
mysterious technique, seems
to encourage potters to think about
their work metaphorically. The no­
by David Frank with Carol Wright
tion of centering clay on the wheel,
for example, has led some potters to
talk about centering as it applies to per­ grotesque, and pots that are sad or cheer­
sonal psychological or spiritual matters. ful, just as there are stories that convey
The fact that every pot starts out as an these emotions. In addition, pots can tell
amorphous wet mass of earth has stimu­ the story of how they are made, just as
lated others to focus on the potter’s role there are stories that examine the process
in bringing order from chaos. For me, of storytelling; to me, these pots seem to
however, pots suggest an entirely differ­ have a quality of honesty. Pots must also
ent metaphor—they are like stories, nar­ have an expressive aspect so that the story
rative in nature.
they tell has interest.
Pots tell stories both in the formal
When I throw the foot of a bowl or a
sense and in the sense of conveying mood pitcher or a jug, I set up the whole pot
or feeling. Like any well-structured narra­ (though the actual details of the foot will
tive, a pot has a beginning, a middle and come later); I make the shape of the pot
an end.
possible so that even before I start mov­
WTiile a pot doesn’t tell a specific tale—ing the clay, I know where I am going in
of Little Red Riding Hood or the Riders terms of the glaze, the color, the surface
of the Purple Sage—it does suggest mood decoration. Since color and surface will
or feeling. There are pots that are gro­
influence the pot’s form and shape, I find
tesque, just as there are stories that are
it difficult to make pots if I don’t have any
November 1998
Storytell ing
glazes I like. Or if I have a new glaze
combination or an effect that I do
like, I can easily work out “stories”
that fit those colors and surfaces.
I don’t know exactly when I be­
gan thinking about pots as stories,
but I have been doing it so long that
it has become part of me and part of what
I am trying to do. Apparently, the con­
cept makes sense to other people, too.
Once when I was demonstrating at a craft
fair, an onlooker asked how I lrnew when
a pot is finished. I explained something
about my narrative theory and told him,
“It’s not done if you have told only the
beginning and middle of the story.” To
my surprise, he smiled and said, “Yes,
that makes a lot of sense; that’s a good
answer. I understand what you’re saying.”
My career in pottery seems to have
grown from two separate intellectual in­
terests, first in geology and second in an­
thropology. As a child in North Guilford,
Connecticut, I poked around in the hills
and woods, collecting rocks. In college, I
studied geology, both as a student at
the combed body of the pot. The comb
Wesleyan University and for a summer in
lines on the fired pot not only reveal the
Alaslca, where the course work focused on
texture of the clay, but show the stresses
geology of the Pleistocene period. I still
to which the clay was subject during its
like the geological aspect of potting: I
creation. They tell the story of the pot.
want the clay to look like clay. I enjoy the
I have arrived at these pots after a
fact that my kiln operates like a low-grade
career of more than 25 years. Shortly af­
volcano, perhaps not reaching the tem­
ter I graduated from college in 1971, I
peratures of intense eruptions, but cer­
started my business, establishing a studio
tainly approximating lesser ones. I like
in part of a barn behind my house.
the idea that any substance that won’t
To succeed financially, I have accepted
burn up at these volcanic temperatures
as little debt as possible, although I had to
can be used to glaze a pot. Sometimes,
take on a mortgage to buy half the farm
when I have taught children’s classes, we
where I live and work, which was left
have used ground-up rocks, or driveway
equally to me and my brother. Had money
dirt to make glazes. Older students, who
been no object, I probably would have
have experimented with salt or baking
knocked down the barn and started from
soda, have been intrigued that common
David Frank expanding the wall
the ground up, but instead I gradually
substances can work as glaze materials.
of a “powdered” vase.
adapted what I had. In the early years, I
My interest in anthropology has led
had only a woodstove for heat, and I still
me to the pottery of other cultures. I have
studied pottery from Machu Pichu, and or otherwise, I do sometimes try to sug­ do not have hot running water. During
for a while after college I worked with a gest the softness and pliability of the clay the winter, I carry kettles of boiling water
Mexican potter, DonaTeodora, who lived or its other qualities. I make pots with from my house to my studio to keep my
near Oaxaca and made handbuilt figures ribbon handles, like the folds of ribbon hands warm. The studio is air conditioned,
from local clay. From her, I learned about candy. I throw bowls with fluted lips and but with an old air conditioner from the
creating pots that showed the inherent hands, and I handbuild serving pieces house, and I justify the luxury by the fact
expressive properties of the clay. Her that may have rectilinear shapes like rect­ that my pots dry more quickly and evenly.
I think this extreme unwillingness to
figures represented small animals that ex­ angles and squares, but end in soft rims
incur debt has been one of the main fac­
isted somewhere between the animal and or lips.
I also make pots that use traditional tors contributing to my financial stability.
human domains. Some of her whimsical
pigs and dogs played musical instruments decorative ideas; for example, combing, If my experience is any guide, a potter’s
or held their children in their arms as which has been around probably as long income is too sporadic and too uncertain
humans would do, but whatever their as pottery itself. African, South American at any moment to permit the making of
pose, these creatures looked pliable and and Native American potters have all used regular monthly payments. But avoiding
debt has meant that my business has had
boneless. Like Gumby, they had bendable, this technique.
I use combing both in the application to grow gradually.
jointless legs and arms that reflected the
My work has always entailed a pro­
softness of the unfinished clay. Dona of glaze and, more recently, in shaping
Teodora was not trying to make the clay the pot itself I particularly like to throw a duction-selling component; off and on
look like something it was not; instead, narrow cylinder, comb the outside and through the years, it has also had a
she imparted its expressive qualities to then expand the cylinder into a rounded teaching component. At first, I sold my
figures that related to her religious beliefs. form from the inside. I may glaze the work through shows organized by oth­
inside and the rim, but I leave unglazed ers, but eventually it became obvious
While I don’t make figures, religious
that I was at the mercy of factors be­
yond my control—not only on whether
my work was selected, but on such con­
siderations as quality of the publicity
and sometimes the weather.
For better control of sales, I built my
own gallery in an abandoned chicken coop
on the farm. I have been able to incorpo­
rate some of the building’s old lumber so
that the gallery has a spare, rustic feeling
that works well with my pots.
Today, a major part of my work is sold
by direct order. Through the years, I have
developed new lines of pottery, but I’ve
also kept the old lines in order to please
long-term customers who like what they’ve
seen before. I have no love for the sales
end of the business, but since I often sell
things before they are made, I have been
Platter with trailed decoration, 24 inches in length, stoneware, Cone 10 reduction fired.
“Flower of Bowls,” to 14 inches in diameter, wheel thrown and altered,
Cone 10 reduction fired.
able to reduce the energy and time that
go into marketing, and to focus more on
making the pots themselves.
While working on commission does
reduce the sales end of the business, it
also means that I depend to some extent
on my customers’ whims. I ask them to
give me freedom to experiment, to make
what I want to make, and in turn I give
them the freedom to reject what they
don’t like, to say, “No, that’s not what I
had in mind.” Usually when a customer
wants me to make something that I think
is a poor idea, I work with the customer
to negotiate a project that has validity for
me as well.
November 1998
The second component of my career
is teaching. Though I do not teach every
year or expect teaching to be a major
source of income, I find it refreshing to
meet students and help them discover a
direction for their own work. Teaching
also gets me out of the studio, a relief
since solitude and loneliness are different
sides of the same coin.
Occasionally, over the course of a year,
I have stayed home and used every avail­
able minute to turn out pots, but I find
that I’m happier if I balance the financial
rewards of production with the less tan­
gible ones of teaching. However, if I take
on too much teaching, I get restless be­
cause I cannot accomplish my own stu­
dio work.
I’ve taught a wide range of students,
from children to adults, beginners to ad­
vanced. Among the most interesting were
a group of blind students. Surprisingly, I
found it relatively easy to convey the sense
of what pottery was all about with these
people who were inventive and also pa­
tient with their progress, enduring frus­
tration at times, as any learner does, but
working through it. Some of them did
amazing things.
One student felt my head and then
sculpted it, and while the result didn’t
look exactly like me, it was definitely a
life-size male head. She built the nose
first, then constructed the head around it,
apparently knowing exactly what she
wanted to do the minute she grabbed on
to my nose. Maybe she thought it was the
salient part of the story her pot was going
to tell.
At another time, this student, who
had lost her sight during childhood,
worked for a long time with a low-temperature clay, making a series of forms,
each of which progressed from the previ­
ous one. As her manipulative skills im­
proved, her ideas improved and her
execution became more expressive.
When she had finished the series, she
turned to me and said, “Well, do you
have a nice blue glaze to go on these
pots?” I was stunned at her sense that the
pot needed color, but she said, “Feel this
pot. Doesn’t it feel like it should be blue?”
So I made her a nice cool stabilizing color
to settle down her very energetic pot. I
thought her choice was right on; she’d
remembered blue from her childhood and
Frank’s studio is located on the first floor of a former barn; the gallery space
the shape of the pot somehow suggested
is on the second floor, while the gas kiln is housed by the addition on the right.
that color.
Outside is a dough mixer that is used to mix clay.
It seemed to me that while these blind
students could not see the forms of the
pots they created, they were nonetheless rotates on the wheel. Whatever finishing anywhere along the way. The story can be
aware of the notion of narrative pots. decoration I choose, I use the controlled rather quiet, then have a big, expressive,
Sometimes, as a way of suggesting pro­
form of the vessel as a base or framework exciting ending; but more often, when I
gression, I used the narrative metaphor for the expression of the soft clay.
am throwing, I try to make the whole
with the woman who wanted to glaze her
All my pots, like stories, unfold in story come together, to produce a single
pots blue.
time, one thing happening first before statement about the clay from which it is
have also taught deaf students, but another event can occur. The most in­
made and the hand of the potter who
they reacted differently to the process. tense part of the procedure can happen
made it. A
Perhaps because they were unaccustomed
to stories, to the idea of narrative, they
often wanted to begin at the end, to ar­
rive at a finished pot without living
through its development as a story.
When I look at my work, I can see
how the notion of narrative, and my in­
terest in clay as a geological substance
influences it. Among the pieces that cur­
rently please me most are some which are
accented by pressing dry, powdered clay
onto the wet, thrown cylinder and scratch­
ing the surface with a needle. As I expand
the form on the wheel, the dry clay ab­
sorbs the moisture from the wet clay, caus­
ing it to crack. As the diameter widens,
the scratches open differentially, so that
the finished pot has irregular openings
that suggest willow leaves.
A more traditional application of this
Wheel-thrown covered jar, 9 inches
scratching technique appears in my slipin height, combed and expanded,
decorated stoneware, on which I hold a
Covered jar, with tooled slip made of
Cone 10 reduction fired, by David
homemade tool that vibrates (chatters)
2 parts sand, 2 parts table salt and 1 part
Frank, Guilford, Connecticut,
and cuts through the slip while the pot
porcelain slip, 7 inches in height,
Cone 10 reduction fired.
Skeleton,” approximately 28 inches in length, handbuilt stoneware, with low-fire glaze and melted glass,
Exploring Possibilities
by Karen Salicath
Working with new materials in the
context of ceramics fascinates Danish
sculptor Karen Salicath.
November 1998
t is the land to which I always turn written laws about what is beautiful
for sculptural inspiration. I live in a and true, certain routes to walk to
small country (Denmark), sur­
beauty and truth, contradictions that
rounded by the sea. Moreover, I grew meet and become a unity, contrasts
up on the coast, so wind, sand and that cut into each other and become
shells are frequent points of departure new forms.
in my work.
My sculpture is built from stone­
The fact that my grandfather (Johan ware reinforced with a lot of grog and
Georg Galster) was also a sculptor has fiber, so that it is very strong and can
had an influence on my work as well. allow going to extremes—seeing how
Being in his studio, seeing him carve much the clay can endure, to what
huge sandstone and plaster pieces clearly extent it can stretch. Often, I produce
nurtured my own interest in form.
several forms with nearly the same
Another major influence is music. shape, then try to explore all the pos­
From the age of eight, I have played sibilities by making alterations—cut­
classical guitar. I use music a lot when ting holes, for instance. These holes
considering and sensing form. It is as are like pauses in the form, similar to
if classical music contains a set of rules, pauses in music.
which I translate into a language of
I work a lot with contradictions,
forms. It seems that there are some un­ with the outsides and the insides of the
forms, often using color to reach a con­
dition where they support or repel one
another. The use of colors can freeze a
form or make it more fluid.
Texture in the glaze can enhance this
aspect even more. I have recently been
experimenting with adding glass to the
glazed surface to bring out the colors. A
very-low-melting glaze acts as a bridge
between the clay and the glass, which
prevents the glass from coming off in
the cooling process. This glaze bridge
also allows the addition of glass to verti­
cal surfaces.
Working with new materials in the
context of ceramics fascinates me. I re­
cently started to work with a new type
of concrete that can be modeled almost
like clay; I then stain the surface and
heat it with a gas flame. I think it is
important to artistic development to
dare to challenge oneself by working
with many new materials. A
“Object,” approximately 32 inches in length,
handbuilt stoneware with low-fire glaze.
“Time and Space,” approximately 24 inches in length, stoneware
with low-fire glaze and melted glass, by Karen Salicath, Copenhagen, Denmark.
No vem ber 1998
Call for Entries
Application Deadlines for Exhibitions,
Fairs, Festivals and Sales
International Exhibitions
November 6 entry deadline
Guilford, Connecticut “Ceramics ’99” (March
29-May 31, 1999), open to North American
ceramists. Juried from slides. Jurors: Andrea and
John Gill. Awards: $1000, first place; $500, sec­
ond; and $250, third. For application, send SASE
to Ceramics ’99, the Guilford Handcraft Center,
PO Box 589, Guilford 06437; telephone (203)
453-5947 or fax (203) 453-6237.
November 10 entry deadline
Florence, Alabama “The Kennedy-Douglass
Center for the Arts Monarch National Ceramic
Competition” (February-March 1999), open to
residents of the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Juried from slides. Juror: Ruth C. Butler, editor,
Ceramics Monthly. Fee: $15 for up to 3 works.
Awards: nearly $5000. For prospectus, send SASE
to Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, Ce­
ramic Competition, 217 E. Tuscaloosa St., Flo­
rence 35630.
January 15, 1999, entry deadline
Rochester, New York “Porcelain ’99” (March
26-April 30, 1999), open to functional porce­
lain forms by artists residing in the United States,
Canada or Mexico. Juror: Richard Zakin, profes­
sor of ceramics, State University College, Os­
wego, New York. Juried from up to 2 slides per
entry (with SASE); up to 5 entries. Fee: $20 for up
to 5 entries. For prospectus, contact Esmay Fine
Art, 1855 Monroe Ave., Rochester 14618.
June 1, 1999, entry deadline
Carouge, Switzerland “Prix de la Ville de
Carouge 1999” (October 2-November 28,1999),
competition theme is the functional teapot; works
must be no more than 35 cm (approximately 14
inches) in height. Juried from 2 slides plus a short
resume (30 lines maximum). Awards: 7500 SFr
(approximately US$5000), 1000 SFr (approxi­
mately US$665) and 500 SFr (approximately
US$330). For further information, contact the
Musee de Carouge, Mairie de Carouge, Case
postale, CH-1227 Carouge.
United States Exhibitions
November 6 entry deadline
Gatlinburg, Tennessee “Arrowmont National
1999 Juried Exhibition” (February 26-May 15,
1999), open to artists 21 years of age or older.
Juried from 2 slides per entry; up to 3 entries. Fee:
$20. Cash and merit awards. Juror: Joanne Rapp,
owner/director, Joanne Rapp Gallery/The Hand
and the Spirit, Scottsdale, Arizona. For entry
form, send SASE to Billy R. S. Rothove, Arrowmont
School of Arts and Crafts, PO Box 567, Gatlinburg
37738; or telephone (423) 436-5860.
For a free listing, please submit informa­
tion on juried exhibitions, fairs, festivals
and sales at least four months before the
event’s entry deadline (add one month for
listings in July and two months for those in
open to more than one state. Mail to Call
for Entries, Ceramics Monthly, PO Box
6102, Westerville, OH 43086-6102, e-mail
to [email protected] or fax to
(614) 891-8960.
November 15 entry deadline
Waterbury Center, Vermont “Emerging Artists
Exhibition” (February 1-28, 1999), open to clay
artists who have exhibited their work less than 6
times in galleries and/or education environments.
Juried from slides. Entry fee: $10. For prospectus,
send SASE to Vermont Clay Studio, 2802 Waterbury-Stowe Rd., Rte. 100, Waterbury Center
05677; or telephone (802) 244-1126.
Wilmington, Vernzont“Prevailing Winds: Cur­
rent Trends in Contemporary American Ceram­
ics” (January 15-March 29, 1999). Juried from
slides. Jurors: Barry Bartlett, artist/faculty mem­
ber , Bennington College; and Elizabeth Zawada,
artist/director, Greenwich House Pottery. For
prospectus, send SASE to Young and Constantin
Gallery, PO Box 882, Wilmington 05363; tele­
phone (802) 464-2515.
November 18 entry deadline
New York, New York “Artists on Their Own”
(January 7-February 6, 1999), open to clay artists
not presently affiliated with a gallery or selected
for last year’s exhibition. Juried from up to 4
slides. Entry fee: $15. For prospectus, contact
Jane Hartsook Gallery, Greenwich House Pot­
tery, 16 Jones St., New York 10014; telephone
(212) 242-4106 or fax (212) 645-5486.
January 4, 1999, entry deadline
Tampa, Florida “10th Annual Black and
White” (February 13-March 26, 1999), open to
works in all media in black and white or gray; no
color. Juried from 3 slides. Fee: $25; members,
$18. Contact Artists Unlimited, 223 N. 12th St.,
Tampa 33602; or telephone (813) 229-5958.
January 16, 1999, entry deadline
“10th Anniversary Teapot Show” (February 28March 29, 1999, in Oconomowoc; April 4-May
1999, Chicago). Juried from slides. Entry
fee: $20. For prospectus, send business-size
SASE to A. Houberbocken, Inc., PO Box 196,
Cudahy, WI 53110.
Galesburg, Illinois “GALEX 33” (March 13—
April 10, 1999), open to all media. Juried from
slides. Entry fee: $20 for 4 slides. Awards: $2000.
For prospectus, contact Galesburg Civic Art Cen­
ter, 114 E. Main St., Galesburg 61401; or tele­
phone (309) 342-7415.
January 22, 1999, entry deadline
Cambridge, Massachusetts “National Prize
Show” (April 2-May 29,1999), open to all media.
Juried from slides. Juror: Peter Rathbone, vice
president, Sotheby’s, New York. Awards: best of
show, $2000; plus 10 other awards. Location:
Federal Reserve Gallery, Boston. For prospectus,
send SASE to Cambridge Art Association, National
Prize Show, 25 Lowell St., Cambridge 02138.
January 24, 1999, entry deadline
Chico, California “Chico Art Center’s 1999
‘All Media’ Juried National Exhibition” (May 7—
June 13,1999). Juried from slides. Fee: $25 for up
to 2 slides. Awards: $500 best of show, and 4 $250
awards. For prospectus, send #10 SASE to Chico
Art Center, 1999 All Media Juried National Exhi­
bition, 450 Orange St., Ste. 6, Chico 95928.
January 29, 1999, entry deadline
Ephrata, Pennsylvania" Seve nth Annual Strictly
Functional Pottery National” (May 8-30, 1999).
Juried from slides. Juror: Warren MacKenzie.
Fee: $20 for up to 3 entries. Awards: more than
$3500 in cash and merchandise. For prospectus,
send business-size SASE to Jean B. Lehman, Direc­
tor SFPN, Market House Craft Center, PO Box
204, East Petersburg, PA 17520.
Pennsylvania “National Crafts”
(April 23-June 13,1999), open to ceramics, fiber,
metal, paper, glass and wood. Juried from slides.
Entry fee: $25 for up to 3 entries. Juror: Joanne
Rapp, owner, Joanne Rapp Gallery/The Hand
November 1998
Call for Entries
and the Spirit, Scottsdale, Arizona. Awards: $2000.
For prospectus, send SASE to National Crafts,
Lancaster Museum of Art, 135 N. Lime St.,
Lancaster 17602; or telephone (717) 394-3497.
February 12, 1999, entry deadline
Carbondale, Illinois “Clay Cup VII” (April
23-May 13, 1999). Juried from slides. Juror:
Sandy Simon. Contact the School of Art and
Design, SIUC, Carbondale 62901-4301, Attn:
Clay Cup; telephone Kate Nelson, (618) 4534315 or e-mail [email protected]
February 15, 1999, entry deadline
Northampton, Massachusetts “China
Today” (July 31-August 29, 1999), open to ce­
ramics artists using china-painting techniques.
Juried from 5 slides, resume and artist’s statement
(with SASE). No entry fee. For further informa­
tion, send SASE to Ferrin Gallery, 179 Main St.,
Northampton 01060.
Michael Lucero. Over $9000 in place, purchase
and merit awards. For prospectus, send legal-size
SASE to Lincoln Arts, PO Box 1166, Lincoln
February 16, 1999, entry deadline
Boulder, Colorado “Celestial Seasonings: A
March 24, 1999, entry deadline
Youngwood, Pennsylvania “Westmoreland
Loose Interpretation IV” (June 24-September
11, 1999), open to teapots inspired by Celestial
Seasoning’s (herbal tea manufacturer) imagery,
products, packaging or history. Juried from writ­
ten or drawn proposals for original works plus
slides of current work. For prospectus, send SASE
to Leslie Ferrin, 163 Teatown Rd., Croton on
Hudson, NY 10520.
February 27, 1999, entry deadline
Lincoln, California “Feats of Clay XII” (May
1-22, 1999), open to sculpture, functional and
nonfunctional works. Juried from slides. Juror:
Nationals—25th” (May 30-June 13, 1999, in
Youngwood; traveling to Greensburg, Pennsylva­
nia from July 2-5, 1999). Juried from slides.
Awards. Send legal-size SASE to Westmoreland Art
Nationals—25th, RD 2 Box 355 A, Latrobe,
Pennsylvania 15650; telephone (724) 834-7474
or e-mail [email protected]
Regional Exhibitions
November 14 entry deadline
Columbus, Ohio “1999 NCECA Regional Jur­
ied Student Exhibition” (February 22-March 20,
1999), open to undergraduate and graduate stu­
dents enrolled in 2- and 4-year colleges in Indiana,
Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia.
Juried from slides of up to 2 works. (Each college
must submit all entries from that school in 1 packet;
however, each work will be juried independently.)
Jurors: Margaret Bohls and Arthur Gonzales. No
entry fee. For prospectus, send SASE to Bonita
Day, Newcomb Art Dept., Woldenberg Art Cen­
ter, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118.
January 31, 1999, entry deadline
Baltimore, Maryland^.C. Clay”
(May 1999),
open to artists residing in Washington, D.C., as
well as the following MarylandlVirginia counties:
Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince
Georges. Juried from 5 slides. For entry form,
send SASE to Leigh Taylor Mickelson, Baltimore
Clayworks, 5706 Smith Ave., Baltimore 21209;
or telephone (410) 578-1919.
March 1, 1999, entry deadline
Indianapolis, Indiana“Clayfest XI” (April 19May 14, 1999), open to current and former resi­
dents of Indiana. Juried from slides. Entry fee:
$10. For prospectus, send SASE to Clayfest XI,
University of Indianapolis, Dept, of Art, 1400 E.
Hanna Ave., Indianapolis 46227.
Fairs, Festivals and Sales
November 20 entry deadline
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania “The
Furniture and Furnishings Show” (April 30-May
2,1999). Juried from slides. Contact Philadelphia
Furniture and Furnishings Show, 162 N. Third
St., Philadelphia 19106; telephone (215) 4400718 or fax (215) 440-0845.
December 4 entry deadline
Gainesville, Florida “ 13th Annual Hoggetowne
Medieval Faire” (February 12-14, 1999). Juried
from slides. Booth fee: $85 for a 15x15-foot
space. Contact Linda Piper, Coordinator, Hogge­
towne Medieval Faire, Dept, of Cultural Affairs
Sta. 30, PO Box 490, Gainesville 32602; or tele­
phone (352) 334-5064.
January 8, 1999, entry deadline
Atlanta, Georgia “Sugarloaf Crafts Festival”
(November 26-28, 1999). Juried from 5 slides,
including 1 of booth. Booth fee: $425. No com­
mission. For application, send 3 loose first-class
stamps for postage to Sugarloaf Mountain Works,
Inc., 200 Orchard Ridge Dr., #215, Gaithersburg,
MD 20878; or telephone (800) 210-9900.
Gaithersburg, Ma rylanda Sugarloaf Crafts Fes­
tival” (November 18-21,1999, or December 1012, 1999). Juried from 5 slides, including 1 of
booth. Booth fee: $450-$550. No commission.
For application, send 3 loose first-class stamps for
postage to Sugarloaf Mountain Works, Inc., 200
Orchard Ridge Dr., #215, Gaithersburg 20878;
or telephone (800) 210-9900.
Call for Entries
Works, Inc., 200 Orchard Ridge Dr., #215, Gaith­
ersburg, MD 20878; telephone (800) 210-9900.
January 10, 1999, entry deadline
Dauphin Island, Alabama “Tricentennial Art
Timonium, Maryland“Sugarloaf Crafts Festi­
val” (October 8-10, 1999). Juried from 5 slides,
including 1 of booth. Booth fee: $495. No com­
mission. For application, send 3 loose first-class
stamps for postage to Sugarloaf Mountain Works,
Inc., 200 Orchard Ridge Dr., #215, Gaithersburg,
MD 20878; or telephone (800) 210-9900.
Novi, Michigan “Sugarloaf Art Fair” (October
22-24, 1999). Juried from 5 slides, including 1 of
booth. Booth fee: $425. No commission. For
application, send 3 loose first-class stamps for
postage to Sugarloaf Mountain Works, Inc., 200
Orchard Ridge Dr., #215, Gaithersburg, MD
20878; or telephone (800) 210-9900.
Somerset, New Jersey “Sugarloaf Crafts Festi­
val” (October 1-3, 1999). Juried from 5 slides,
including 1 of booth. Booth fee: $425. No com­
mission. For application, send 3 loose first-class
stamps for postage to Sugarloaf Mountain Works,
Inc., 200 Orchard Ridge Dr., #215, Gaithersburg,
MD 20878; or telephone (800) 210-9900.
Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania “Sugarloaf Crafts
Festival” (October 29-31, 1999). Juried from 5
slides, including 1 of booth. Booth fee: $450. No
commission. For application, send 3 loose firstclass stamps for postage to Sugarloaf Mountain
Works, Inc., 200 Orchard Ridge Dr., #215, Gaith­
ersburg, MD 20878; telephone (800) 210-9900.
Manassas, Virginia “Sugarloaf Crafts Festival”
(September 17-19, 1999). Juried from 5 slides,
including 1 of booth. Booth fee: $395-$475. No
commission. For application, send 3 loose firstclass stamps for postage to Sugarloaf Mountain
and Craft Show” (March 6-7, 1999). Juried from
slides. Booth fee: $50. Contact Dauphin Island
Art Guild, PO Box 1422, Dauphin Island 36528;
telephone or fax (334) 861-5760.
January 31, 1999, entry deadline
Frederick, Maryland*Frederick Festival of the
Arts” (June 5-6, 1999). Juried from slides. Cash
awards. For application, send SASE to the Frederick
Festival of the Arts, PO Box 3080, Frederick
21701; or telephone (301) 694-9632.
February 1, 1999, entry deadline
Baltimore, Maryland“2n& Harbor Lights Fes­
tival of the Arts” (December 10-12, 1999). Juried
from 5 slides of work and 1 of display, plus resume
for new exhibitors. Entry fee: $10. Booth fee:
$450-$675. No commission. Contact National
Crafts Ltd., 4845 Rumler Rd., Chambersburg,
PA 17201; telephone (717) 369-4810, fax (717)
369-5001 or e-mail [email protected]
Frederick, Maryland “25th Annual Frederick
Art and Craft Festival” (May 7-9, 1999). Juried
from 5 slides of work and 1 of display, plus resume
for new exhibitors. Entry fee: $10. Booth fee:
$300-$400. No commission. Contact National
Crafts Ltd., 4845 Rumler Rd., Chambersburg,
PA 17201; telephone (717) 369-4810, fax (717)
369-5001 or e-mail [email protected]
Gaithersburg, Maryland “24th Annual Na­
tional Art and Craft Festival” (October 15-17,
1999). Juried from 5 slides of work and 1 of
display, plus resume for new exhibitors. Entry
fee: $10. Booth fee: $340-$425. No commis­
sion. Contact National Crafts Ltd., 4845 Rumler
Rd., Chambersburg, PA 17201; telephone (717)
369-4810, fax (717) 369-5001 or e-mail
[email protected]
March 1, 1999, entry deadline
Salina, Kansas “Smoky Hill River Festival:
Fine Art/Fine Craft Show” (June 12-13, 1999).
Juried from 6 slides. Entry fee: $15. Booth fee:
$175 for a 10x10-foot space. No commission.
Awards: $5800 in merit and purchase; $55,000
art patron program. For further information, con­
tact Smoky Hill River Festival, Salina Arts and
Humanities Commission, PO Box 2181, Salina
67402-2181; telephone (785) 826-7410 or fax
(785) 826-7444.
Salina, Kansas “Smoky Hill River Festival:
Four Rivers Craft Market” (June 11-13, 1999).
Juried from 6 slides. Entry fee: $15. Booth fee:
$100 for a 10x10-foot space or 10% of earnings,
whichever is greater. Awards: $1300 in merit
awards. Contact Smoky Hill River Festival, Salina
Arts and Humanities Commission, PO Box 2181,
Salina 67402-2181; telephone (785) 826-7410 or
fax (785) 826-7444.
March 5, 1999, entry deadline
Winnetka, Illinois “American Craft Exposi­
tion” (August 26-29, 1999). Juried from 5 slides.
For further information, contact American Craft
Exposition, PO Box 25, Winnetka 60093-0025;
or telephone (847) 570-5096.
April 5, 1999, entry deadline
Chautauqua, New York “Crafts Festivals ’99”
(July 9-11 and August 13-15,1999). Juried from
3 slides of work plus 1 of booth. Jury fee: $10 per
show. Entry fee: $175 per show. For prospectus,
send business-size SASE to Devon Taylor, Festivals
Director, Chautauqua Crafts Alliance, PO Box
89, Mayville, New York 14757-0089.
We tend to raku mostly in spring and fall,
except for a few brave souls who endure the
From Readers
elements of the New York winter, so we have
to keep the reduction buckets downwind
from the door or any windows to avoid
setting off* smoke alarms in the art building.
They say you shouldn’t raku with a top- (This has happened two times, and in New
loading electric kiln, but at Queens College,
where there’s a will...there’s a way. The deci­
sion to buy a top-loading electric kiln was by
cost (as most of you know, art material bud­
gets are a thing of the past). Yes, when you
open the top, all the heat escapes—but hey,
it works. We do 6-10 pieces at a time and use
a buddy system.
One person loads or unloads with the
tongs; the other person has two jobs: Make
With a buddy system, 6-10 pots can be
raku fired at a time. One person makes
sure the kiln is unplugged, then opens
and closes the lid, while the other
removes the pots.
York City, once the firetrucks leave the sta­
tion they can’t turn back.) At times like this,
I am glad I have tenure.—Jolyon Hofs ted,
Shady, N.Y.
Wax and Glo
Try this method in your studio the next
time you run out of wax resist and your local
supplier is closed for the day. Pick up some
sure the 220V kiln has been unplugged be­ liquid floor wax, such as Mop & Glo, at your
fore the first person sticks metal tongs into it!local supermarket and continue to wax in the
And open and close the lid (don’t slam!) withsame way you would with wax resist.—-Joshua
Horn, New York City
each pot to preserve the heat.
The ldln is mounted on a cart; another
cart has water, wood chips, leaves and the Storage Bottles for Small Glaze Batches
like. We wheel these out the service entrance When I have a small amount of glaze left
near the clay shop, and back in after class. from a multigallon batch, I like to store it in
But the fun doesn’t stop there. We have an empty laundry detergent bottle. By simply
no power outlets there; in fact, the nearest removing the center insert from the bottle,
220V is in the wood shop on the floor are left with a wide-mouth receptacle and
We have a very long 220V extension cord, a tight-fitting lid. The bottle can be shaken to
which we plug in the wood shop outlet and mix glaze, and a small amount can be poured
into the cap for brushwork.—Robert Graebner,
throw out the window to the kiln below.
The kiln is mounted on a cart, while
another nearby cart has water, wood
chips, leaves and other necessary items.
Elkins Park, Pa.
Share your ideas with others. Ceramics
Monthly will pay $10 for each one published.
Suggestions are welcome individually or in
quantity. Include a drawing or photograph to
illustrate your idea and we will add $10 to the
payment. Mail to Ceramics Monthly, PO Box
6102, Westerville, Ohio 43086-6102, e-mail
to [email protected] or fax to
(614) 891-8960.
Polishing Pit-Fired Work
To aid in polishing your pit-fired pieces,
use a shoe-shining brush; it will save ever so
much time. You can even “spit shine,” then
add a small amount of alcohol to finish it off.
By the way, I use Minwax to polish. I tried
tung oil, but found it to be too shiny.—Mary
jean Yancy, Daly City, Calif.
November 1998
Events to Attend—Conferences,
Exhibitions, Workshops, Fairs
(before December 15): US$295/Dfl 540; after
December 15: US$395/Dfl 720. For further in­
formation, contact the Ceramic Arts Foundation,
666 Fifth Ave., Ste. 309, New York, NY 10103;
fax (212) 489-5168 or e-mail [email protected]
Solo Exhibitions
Alabama, Florence February 16-19, 1999“ 14th
Alabama Clay Conference,” featuring David
Gamble, Patrick Horsley and Pete Pinnell, will
include demonstrations, slide presentations, some
hands-on, plus exhibitions. Contact M. C. Jer­
kins, 1809 N. Wood Ave., Florence 35630; e-mail
[email protected]
telephone (256) 766-4455 (Tues.-Sat., 10 am-5
Florida, Tallahassee January 22—24, 1999 “46th
Florida Craftsmen Statewide Conference” will
include slide lectures, clay workshops with Ron
Meyers and Deborah Groover, and exhibitions.
Contact Florida Craftsmen, 501 Central Ave., St.
Petersburg, FL 33701; telephone (813) 821 -7391.
Iowa, Iowa City September 29—October 2, 1999
“Different Stokes,” international wood-fire con­
ference. Contact Chuck Hindes, School of Art,
University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242; fax (319)
335-1774 or e-mail [email protected]
New York, New York November 20 “Craft at the
Border: Issues in Canadian and American Craft
Today” will include keynote speeches by Alan
Elder, curator of a recent exhibition at the mu­
seum, and Sandra Flood, historian and catalog
essayist; plus four panel discussions with Cana­
dian and American artists, collectors, critics and
curators. Fee: $45; ACM members, $35; includes
lunch and postconference reception. Preregistra­
tion required. Contact the American Craft Mu­
seum, 40 W. 53rd St., New York 10019-6112; or
telephone (212) 956-3535.
Ohio, Columbus March 17-20, 1999 “Passion
and Process,” National Council on Education for
the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference, will in­
clude demonstrations, slide presentations, panel
discussions, exhibitions. Contact Regina Brown,
Executive Secretary, NCECA, PO Box 1677,
Bandon, OR 97411; telephone (800) 99-NCECA.
Vermont, Bennington College February 3-7,
1999 “North Country Studio Conference” will
include workshops on “Dinnerware as Sculpture”
by Eddie Dominguez and “Single-fired Func­
tional Stoneware” by Steven Hill. Fee: $275.
Living accommodations available. Registration
deadline: December 1. For application, telephone
(802) 387-5986.
China, Tongchuan (Xian) May 25-June 17,1999
“First Yao Ware Ceramic Art Conference” will
include lectures, workshops on topics relating to
the history of Yao Ware and its current produc­
tion. Also includes tours of various cultural sites.
Contact China Ceramic Cultural Exchange: In­
ternational Office, Zhou Ying, 14 Courtwright
Rd., Etobicoke, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5L
[email protected]
England, London November 11—13 “The China
Circle—The Export of Chinese Porcelain Round
the World.” Contact Sotheby’s Institute, 30 Ox­
ford St., London WIN 9FL; telephone Caroline
Bloch, (171) 462-3232.
Netherlands, Amsterdam July 13-17, 1999“Ceramic Millennium,” the 8th international ceram­
ics symposium of the Ceramic Arts Foundation,
will include over 50 papers presented by educa­
tors, artists, critics, writers and historians; ceram­
ics resources fair, film festival and exhibitions. Fee
California, Davis November3-2^Esther Shimazu;
at John Natsoulas Gallery, 140 F St.
California, San Francisco December 1—January 2,
1999 Robert Brady; at Braunstein/Quay Gallery,
250 Sutter St.
California, Santa Monica through November 7
Tony Marsh. Harrison McIntosh; at Frank Lloyd
Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave. B5b.
D. C., Washington through January3,1999“ The
Stonewares of Charles Fergus Binns: Father of
American Studio Ceramics”; at the Renwick Gal­
lery, National Museum of American Art, Smith­
sonian Institution.
Florida, Boca Raton through November 7 Peter
Powning, mixed-media clay, glass, bronze and
steel; at Habatat Gallery, 608 Banyan Trail.
Florida, Deland November 6—December 11 “Close
Relations,” figurative sculpture by Cheryl Tall; at
the Duncan Gallery of Art, Foyer Gallery, Stetson
University, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., Unit 8252.
Florida, Tallahassee November 13—February 5,
1999 Barbara Sorensen, sculpture; at the Florida
State Capitol.
November 20-December 30
Beverly Mayeri, figurative ceramics; at Perimeter
Gallery, 210 W. Superior St.
Massachusetts, Boston through November
Judith E. Motzkin, clay and mixed media; at the
Grohe Gallery, Dock Sq., 24 North St.
Massachusetts, Cambridge through November 21
Warren Mather, “al fresco”; at Fresh Pond Clay
Works, 368 Huron Ave.
Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie November 3—28
Bonnie Staffel retrospective; at the Alberta House,
217 Ferris St.
New York, East Setauket through November 16
John C. Casper, sculpture; at the Gallery at Hands
on Clay, 128 Old Town Rd.
New York, New York through November James
Jansma, “Figures and Fired Remains”; at Beatrice
Conde Gallery, 529 W. 20th St, 6th FL, W.
through December 72Kukuli Velarde, “Isichapuitu,”
35 ceramic variations of a 2000-year-old figure.
December 19—February 13, 1999 Arnold Zimmer­
man sculpture; at John Elder Gallery, 529 W. 20th St.
November 3—28 Ah Leon. Ron Nagle. December 1—
31 Anthony Caro; at Garth Clark Gallery, 24 W.
57th St.
November 21-January2,1999S teven Montgomery;
at OK Harris Gallery, 383 W. Broadway.
North Carolina, Asheville through November 7
Roddy Brownlee Reed; at Blue Spiral 1, 38
Biltmore Ave.
November 2—30
Cynthia Aldrich clay goddess figures, “Within our
bodies lie the stories of our lives”; at North Caro­
lina Crafts Gallery, 212 W. Main St.
North Carolina, Charlotte through May 2, 1999
“William Littler: An 18th-Century English Earth
Potter”; at the Mint Museum of Art, 2730
Randolph Rd.
Ohio, Cleveland through November 7John Glick;
at Avante Gallery, 2094 Murray Hill Rd.
Oregon, Portland November 3-28 Ruri, anagama-fired white stoneware; at Attic Gallery, 206
S.W. First Ave.
Pennsylvania, Doylestown through January 17,
1999 “‘Machinery Can’t Make Art’: The Pottery
and Tiles of Henry Chapman Mercer”; at James
A. Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine St.
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia November 6—2i?Mark
November 1998
Lueders. Janice Strawder; at the Clay Studio, 139
N. Second St.
November 6-30Nicholas Kripal, adobe and mixed
media; at Snyderman Gallery, 303 Cherry St.
November 6-30 Mary Roehm; at the Works Gal­
lery, 303 Cherry St.
Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh through December 9
Kirk Mangus functional pottery; at the Clay Place,
5416 Walnut St.
South Carolina, Columbia through December 19
‘“I made this jar...’ The Life and Works of the
Enslaved African-American Potter, Dave”; at the
McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina.
Texas, Houston through November 21 Chris
Menconi, “Fur, Feathers and Figures”; at Arch­
way Gallery, 2013 W. Gray.
November 6-December3 Peter Beasecker; at North
Harris College, 2700 W. W. Thorne Dr.
Texas, Lancaster through November 21 Rebecca
Harvey, recent work. November 22-December 19
Elmer Taylor, “Pots”; at Cedar Valley College
Ceramics Gallery, 3030 N. Dallas Ave.
Group Ceramics Exhibitions
California, Del Mar November 13-January 31,
1999 Works by members of Ceramic Artists of
San Diego; at Signature Gallery, 1110 Camino.
California, Los Angeles December 10-January
14, 1999 “A Quintessential Vessel Competition
of Function, Ritual and Metaphorical Works”; at
Earthen Art Works, 7960 Melrose Ave.
Delaware, Winterthur through July 1, 1999 “Ce­
ramics in Bloom,” porcelain, earthenware and
stoneware from the late 17th century to the early
20th century; at the Society of Winterthur Fel­
lows Gallery.
Washington through January 18, 1999
“Bernini’s Rome: Italian Baroque Terra Cottas
from the State Hermitage Museum, St. Peters­
burg”; at the National Gallery of Art, Sixth St. and
Constitution Ave., NW.
Illinois, Chicago through November 7^“TheNude
in Clay II,” figurative ceramics; at Perimeter Gal­
lery, 210 W. Superior St.
November 13—December 31 “Kentucky Clay,” func­
tional and sculptural work; at Gallery 1021: Lill
Street, 1021 W. Lill.
Indiana, Lafayette through November 5 “Tea Bowl:
Imperfect Harmony”; at the Greater Lafayette
Museum of Art, 101 S. Ninth St.
Iowa, Iowa City through November 14 “Tea or
Poetry: Artists and the Teapot,” functional tea­
pots by 21 ceramists; at Iowa Artisans Gallery, 117
College St.
Maryland, Baltimore through November 7“Boxes,
Barriers and Intimate Spaces,” by Mary Kay
Botkins, Ron Kovatch, Jill Oberman, Jennifer
Reed, Sang Roberson, Michael Simon and Paula
Winokur. November 14-December 2^“Winterfest
’98,” works by 20 artists; at Baltimore Clayworks,
5706 Smith Ave.
Maryland, Frederick November 1-29 “On the
Wall • Off the Wall,” works by artist-potters; at
Hodson Gallery, Hood College, 401 Rosemont Ave.
Massachusetts, Ipswich November 14—December
31 “Holiday Traditions”; at Ocmulgee Pottery
and Gallery, 317 High St.
Massachusetts, Northampton through November
15 “A Wealth of Wood Firings.” November 21—
January3,1999“All Decked Out,” holiday decora­
tions and ornaments; at Ferrin Gallery, 179 Main.
Minnesota, Minneapolis through November 8
“ 1997-98 Regis Master Series—The Exhibition,”
with ceramics by Rudy Autio, William Daley,
Ruth Duckworth, Ken Ferguson, Karen Karnes,
Warren MacKenzie and James Melchert; at the
Northern Clay Center, 2424 Franklin Ave., E.
New York, Albany November 20—September 13,
2000“From the Collections: The Weitsman Stone­
ware Collection”; at the New York State Museum,
Empire State Plaza.
New York, Alfred through February 4, 1999“Pre­
meditated Function: The Corsaw Collection of
American Ceramics”; at the International Mu­
seum of Ceramic Art at Alfred, Ceramic Corridor
Innovation Center, Rte. 244.
New York, Port Chester November 1—28 “On
Fire: Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture,” with
works by Ann Christenson, Eva Melas, Sana
Musasama, Sylvia Netzer, Cheryl Tall and Martha
Winston; at the Clay Art Center, 40 Beech St.
North Carolina, Asheville through November 21
“Spinning Tales,” narrative ceramics; at Odyssey
Gallery, 242 Clingman Ave.
North Carolina, Charlotte through February 14,
1999 “Earth, Fire and Spirit: African Pottery and
Sculpture”; at the Mint Museum of Art, 2730
Randolph Rd.
November3-28“CLAY/Curated by Byron Temple,”
works by Rob Barnard, Andrew Huddleston, Jim
Makins, Scott Shafer, Sandy Simon, Byron Temple
and Bill Van Gilder; at gallery W. D. O., Ste. 610 at
Atherton Mill, 2000 South Blvd.
Ohio, Zanesville through November 29 “1998
International Ceramists Invitational Biennial”; at
Zanesville Art Center, 620 Military Rd.
Pennsylvania, Cheltenham through November 20
“Tile Show”; at the Cheltenham Center for the
Arts, 439 Ashbourne Rd.
Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh November 6—December
November 1998
30 Catharine Hiersoux and Jack Troy. December
11-January 13, 1999 Karen Karnes and Ann
Stannard; at the Clay Place, 5416 Walnut St.
Texas, Austin November 19-December 2 Exhibi­
tion of ceramics by Dorothy Carroll, Cindy Phillips
and Mary Wolcott; at Artists’ Coalition of Austin
at Artplex, 1705 Guadalupe.
Vermont, Waterbury Center through November
30 “Vermont Clay Studio Faculty: Past, Present
and Upcoming Instructors.” through December31
“Masterful Mugs and Holiday Ornaments”; at the
Vermont Clay Studio, 2802 Waterbury-Stowe
Rd. (Rte. 100).
“Christy’s Wild Bunch,” works by Christy Cole’s
intermediate wheel students; at the Gallery at
Potters’ Row, 5704D General Washington Dr.
through November 29 “Gallery Showcase,” works
by Kiln Club members; at Scope Gallery, Tor­
pedo Factory, 105 N. Union St.
Wisconsin, Green Bay through November 6“Put
a Lid on It”; at the Lawton Gallery, University of
Wisconsin, Green Bay.
Ceramics in
Multimedia Exhibitions
Alabama, Huntsville November 21—February 7,
1999“ATaste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and
European Treasures from the Hillwood Museum”;
at the Huntsville Museum of Art, 700 Monroe
St., SW.
Arizona, Tempe through November 22 “Art with
Lights”; at Gallery 1020/The Mat Corner, 1020
S. Mill Ave.
California, La Jolla through November 8 “Festival
of Lights,” annual Menorah exhibition; at Gallery
Alexander, 7850 Girard Ave.
California, Los Angeles through November 14
“California Dreaming,” with ceramics by Susan
Garson, Tom Pakele, Kevin Stafford and Cheryl
Williams; at Freehand Gallery, 8413 W. Third St.
California, San Francisco through November 15
“Third Annual Best in America: Invitational Ex­
hibition,” with ceramics by Judith Duff and
Hiroshi Nakayama; at the Stones Gallery, 55
Third St.
California, San Pedro through November 1 “Ves­
sels for the Journey.” November 6—December 17
“You Are What You Eat With”; at Angels Gate
Cultural Center, Gate Gallery, 3061 S. Gaffey St.
Colorado, Denver through October3, 7 5W“White
on White: Chinese Jades and Ceramics from the
Tang through Qing Dynasties.” through January
24, 1999 “Inventing the Southwest: The Fred
Harvey Company and Native American Art”; at
the Denver Art Museum, 100W. 14th Ave. Pkwy.
Connecticut, Brookfield November 14—December
31 “The 22nd Annual Brookfield Craft Center
Holiday Exhibition and Sale”; at the Brookfield
Craft Center, 286 Whisconier Rd.
Connecticut, New Haven November 6-December
24 “The Celebration of American Crafts”; at the
Creative Arts Workshop, 80 Audubon St.
November 15-December
31 “Memories ’98,” invitational exhibition of
Christmas ornaments and Hanukah Menorahs; at
Signature, 48 Post Rd., E, at Main St.
D. C., Washington through April 11, 1999 “Be­
yond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the
Freer Gallery of Art”; at Freer Gallery of Art, Smith­
sonian Institution, Jefferson Dr. at 12th St., SW.
November 15—February 15, 1999 “Edo: Art in
Japan 1615-1868”; at the National Gallery of
Art, Fourth St. at Constitution Ave., NW.
Florida, Belleair through November 15 “Florida
Gulf Coast Art Center Biennial III”; at the Florida
Gulf Coast Art Center, 222 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Florida, Venice December 14—January 25, 1999
“Spotlight ’98,” American Craft Council South­
east Juried Exhibition; at the Venice Art Center.
Georgia, Athens through January 3, 1999 “Ele­
ments of Style: The Legacy of Arnocroft,” decora­
tive arts; at Martha and Eugene Odum Gallery of
Decorative Arts, Georgia Museum of Art, Univer­
sity of Georgia, 90 Carlton St.
Georgia, Atlanta through January 10, 15?^ “Sha­
mans, Gods and Mythic Beasts: Colombian Gold
and Ceramics in Antiquity”; at Michael C. Carlos
Museum, Emory University, 571 S. Kilgo St.
Illinois, Peoria December 1—31 “Handmade Na­
tivity Sets”; at Wonders of Wildlife Gallery, 4700
N. University.
Kansas, Topeka November 20—January 3, 1999
“Topeka Competition 22”; at the Mulvane Art
Museum, Washburn University, 1700 Jewell.
Massachusetts, Boston November 7—January 3,
1999 “Toys and Gadgets”; at the Society of Arts
and Crafts, 175 Newbury St.
November 10-December 31 “Toys and Gadgets”;
at the Society of Arts and Crafts, 101 Arch St.
November 15-December 31 “Memories ’98,”
Christmas ornaments and Hanukah Menorahs; at
Signature, Dock Sq., 24 North St.
Massachusetts, Chestnut Hill November 15-De­
cember 31 “Memories ’98,” invitational exhibition
of Christmas ornaments and Hanukah Menorahs;
at Signature, the Mall at Chestnut Hill.
Massachusetts, Mashpee November 15—Decem­
ber 31 “Memories ’98,” invitational exhibition of
Christmas ornaments and Hanukah Menorahs; at
Signature, Mashpee Commons, 10 Steeple St.
Mississippi, Vicksburg through
November 14
“Wild Women in the Attic!” with pottery by Ann
Baker; at the Attic Gallery, 1101 Washington St.
Nevada, Reno through January 10,1999“A Com­
mon Thread,” craftworks by over 30 artists from
Nevada and the Great Basin; at the Nevada Mu­
seum of Art, 160 W. Liberty St.
New Jersey, Layton through January 10, 1999
“Wild Things”; at Sally D. Francisco Gallery,
Peters Valley Craft Center, 19 Kuhn Rd.
New York, Albany November 20-September 13,
2000“From the Collections: Treasures from the
Wunsch Americana Foundation”; at the New
York State Museum, Empire State Plaza.
New York, Rochester November 22—January 17,
1999“\AVmg with Art: Rochester Collects”; at the
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Roch­
ester, 500 University Ave.
North Carolina, Asheville through November 8
“Annual Members’ Exhibition: The Cubic Foot:
An Exhibition of Miniatures.” through November
30 Two-person exhibition including ceramics by
Dane Burr; at the Folk Art Center, Milepost 382,
Blue Ridge Pkwy.
Ohio, Athens through November 8 “Art on View
’98”; at the Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center.
Ohio, Columbus through November 6 “New
Works: Part Two” includes ceramics by Steven
Thurston; at Hopkins Hall Gallery, the Ohio
State University.
through November 8 “Tell Me a Story: Makers
“Head, Heart and Hands: Native American Craft
Traditions in a Contemporary World”; at the
Ohio Craft Museum, 1665 W. Fifth Ave.
Oklahoma, Tulsa through November 1 “A Taste
for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European
Treasures from the Hillwood Museum”; at
Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Rd.
Oregon, Eugene November 3—December 24 “La
Petite VI”; at Alder Gallery, 55 W. Broadway.
Pennsylvania, New Castle through November 7
“The 17th Annual Hoyt National Art Show”; at
Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, 124 E. Leasure Ave.
Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh November 13—February
13, 1999 “Stop Asking/We Exist: 25 Contempo­
rary African-American Craft Artists”; at the Soci­
ety for Contemporary Crafts, 2100 Smallman St.
Pennsylvania, University Park November 20—22
“Holiday Ornament Juried Sale and Exhibition”;
at Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State
Pennsylvania, Wayne December 5-January 22,
1999 “Craft Forms ’98,” juried national; at the
Wayne Art Center, 413 Maplewood Ave.
Tennessee, Chattanooga through May 1999
“1998-99 Sculpture Garden Exhibit”; at River
Gallery, 400 E. Second St.
Texas, Houston through January 10, 1999 “A
Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert
Museum”; at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston,
1001 Bissonnet.
Texas, San Antonio through December30*Trans­
formation: Grand Opening Exhibition”; at the
Southwest School of Art and Craft, 300 Augusta.
Washington, Seattle through January 10, 1999
“Gift of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Art and Archi­
tecture from the University of Pennsylvania Mu­
seum”; at Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St.
Fairs, Festivals and Sales
Arkansas, Little Rock December 4-6 “Arkansas
Craft Guild’s 20th Annual Christmas Showcase”;
at the Statehouse Convention Center, downtown.
California, Berkeley November 28-29, December
5-6, 12-13 and 19-20 “1998 Holiday Open
Studios,” self-guided tour of over 100 artists’
studios. For map, send SASE to Artisans Map,
1250 Addison St. #214, Berkeley 94702. Maps
can be picked up at the same address; for other
distribution points, telephone (510) 845-2612.
California, San Francisco December 5-6and 1213 “1998 Celebration of Craftswomen”; at Fort
Mason Center’s Herbst Pavilion, Buchanan St.
and Marina Blvd.
California, San Rafael November 21—22 “Marin
Clay and Glass Festival”; at the Marin Civic
Center, Avenue of the Flags.
California, Santa Monica November 6-8 “Con­
temporary Crafts Market”; at the Santa Monica
Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St.
November 13—15 “Arts of Pacific Asia”; at the
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St.
California, Stockton November 20—21 “Seventh
Annual San Joaquin Potters’ Guild Sale”; at Cen­
tral United Methodist Church, 3700 Pacific Ave.
Colorado, Boulder November 5—8 “Boulder Pot­
ters’ Guild 29th Annual Fall Sale”; at the Shining
Mountain Waldorf School’s Festival Hall, 10th
and Violet.
Connecticut, Guilford November 1—December 24
“Artistry: The 20th Annual Holiday Festival of
Craft”; at the Guilford Handcraft Center, 411
Church St./Rte. 77.
D. C., Washington November 20-2211 Washing­
ton Craft Show”; at the Washington Convention
Center, 900 Ninth St., NW.
Florida, Gainesville November 7—8 “ 17th Annual
Downtown Festival and Art Show”; downtown.
Florida, Tampa December 4— 6*ACC Craft Show
Tampa Bay”; at the Tampa Convention Center.
Georgia, Atlanta November 27-29 “Sugarloaf
Crafts Festival”; at the Cobb Galleria Centre.
Hawaii, Honolulu December 5—6 “Christmas
Festival” of the Pacific Handcrafters Guild; at
Thomas Square Park, across from the Honolulu
Academy of Arts.
November 20—22
“Christmas in the Country.” November 28 “Hui
No’eau Visual Arts Center Annual Ceramics First
and Seconds Sale”; at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts
Center, 2841 Baldwin Ave.
Illinois, Evanston November 13—15 “Midwest
Clay Guild’s 26th Annual Exhibition and Sale”; at
the Midwest Clay Guild, 1236 Sherman Ave.
Indiana, Bloomington November 7^“Local Clay,”
holiday show and sale of pottery by Bloomington
area artists; at Harmony School, 909 E. Second St.
Indiana, Indianapolis November 21—22 “Best of
the Season”; at the Exposition Hall, Indiana State
Iowa, Sioux Center December 5 “Centre Mall Arts
Festival”; at the Centre Mall.
Maryland, Gaithersburg November 19-22 and
December 11-13 “Sugarloaf Crafts Festival”; at
the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
Massachusetts, Boston December 2—6*Crafts at
the Castle”; at Family Service of Greater Boston,
34½ Beacon St.
Massachusetts, Worcester November27-29* 16th
Annual Festival of Crafts.” November 30—Decem­
ber 6 “Art for AIDS”; at Worcester Center for
Crafts, 25 Sagamore Rd.
Michigan, East Lansing November 12—14*Greater
Lansing Potters’ Guild Annual Fall Sale”; at All
Saints Church, 800 Abbott Rd.
Montana, Helena November 13—January 3, 1999
“Winter Showcase Exhibition and Sale”; at the
Holter Museum of Art, Sherman Gallery, 12 E.
Lawrence St.
New Hampshire, Hampton November / “Rock­
ingham Craftsmen Fair”; at Hampton Junior High.
New Jersey, Demarest December 4-6*24th AnCERAMICS MONTHLY
November 1998
nual Pottery Show and Sale,” curated by Karen
Karnes; at the Old Church Cultural Center School
of Art, 561 Piermont Rd.
New Mexico, Dixon November 7—5“Studio Tour”
of about 40 artists’ studios; for information about
maps, telephone Shel Neymark, (505) 579-4432.
New York, New York December 3-6 “Made in
Clay,” benefit sale of functional pottery; at Green­
wich House Pottery, 16 Jones St.
New York, Syracuse December 4-6“Holiday ’98
Art and Craft Spectacular”; at the New York State
North Carolina, Charlotte December 11—13 “ACC
Craft Show Charlotte”; at the Charlotte Conven­
tion Center.
North Carolina, Marion December 5 “Appala­
chian Potters Market”; at the McDowell High
School cafeteria.
North Carolina, Winston-Salem November 20—
22“35th Annual Piedmont Crafts Fair”; at M. C.
Benton Convention Center, Fifth and Cherry sts.
Ohio, Cincinnati November27—29 “Crafts Affair”;
at the Cincinnati Convention Center, downtown.
Pennsylvania, King of Prussia November 21-22
“Valley Forge Crafts Festival”; at the Sheraton/
Valley Forge Convention Center.
Tennessee, Knoxville November 13-15 “32nd
Annual Foothills Craft Guild Fall Show and Sale”;
at the Knoxville Convention Center.
Virginia, Richmond November 13-15 “34th An­
nual Hand Workshop Art Center’s Craft and
Design Show”; at the Richmond Centre for Con­
ventions and Exhibitions, downtown.
West Virginia, Jefferson County November 14—
15 “Over the Mountain Studio Tour” of artists’
studios throughout the county. For map, contact
OTMST, 38 Paynes Ford Rd., Kearneysville, WV
25430; for information, telephone (304) 7250567 or 725-4251.
Arizona, Mesa November 14-15“Contrasts” with
David Bradley and Susan Filley, demonstrating
various techniques and work. Fee: $55; Arizona
Clay members, $45. Contact Michelle Lowe,
25037 N. 17 Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85027; telephone
(602) 516-2209 or e-mail [email protected]
Connecticut, Brookfield November 7“Paper Clay”
with Rebecca Peck Jones. November 8 “Glazing”
with Angela Fina. Contact Brookfield Craft Cen­
ter, PO Box 122, Rte. 25, Brookfield 06804,
telephone (203) 775-4526or fax (203) 740-7815.
Florida, Orlando November J£T Throwing dem­
onstration with Samantha Andrews. November 17
Combining throwing and handbuilding tech­
niques with Vince Sansone. November 18—19
Demonstration of various Japanese pottery tech­
niques with Steve Fasen. November 19 Slide pre­
sentation with Steve Fasen and George Timock.
November 20 Raku workshop with George
Timock; participants should bring bisqueware.
Presentation with Darcy Deal on the Kansas City
Art Institute. February 11-12, 1999 A session
with Don Davis. Fee: $35. Limited to 30 partici­
pants. Contact Mike Lalone, Dr. Phillips High
Ceramics Studio, (407) 352-4040, ext. 380.
Florida, Panama City November 19-20 Demon­
stration with Lee Rexrode. Fee: $80. Contact
Kimberly Hudson, Visual Arts Center of North­
west Florida, 19 E. Fourth St., Panama City
32401; or telephone (850) 769-4451, fax (850)
Florida, Sopchoppy January 10-16, 1999A ses­
sion with George Griffin, focusing on individual­
ized functional stoneware, single-fire oxidation,
fast-fire wood, and business as an art form. Fee:
$425. Limited to four participants. Contact George
Griffin Pottery, (850) 962-9311.
Georgia, St. Simons Island November 14-15
Demonstration and slide lecture on throwing and
altering functional pottery with Ron Meyers. Fee:
$200; GAA members, $175. Preregistration re­
quired. Contact Debbie Craig, Glynn Art Asso­
ciation, PO Box 20673, St. Simons Island
31522; telephone (912) 638-8770 or e-mail
[email protected]
Louisiana, Thibodaux November 21-22 Demon­
stration and workshop with Ron Meyers. Fee:
$30; students, $ 15. Location: Nicholls State Uni­
versity. Contact Southern Pottery (504) 7527687, or NSU (504) 448-4598.
Maine, Portland November 14 “Throwing Large
and Copper Reds” with Peter Jones. Fee: $35.
Contact Portland Pottery, 118 Washington Ave.,
Portland 04101; or telephone (207) 772-4334.
Maryland, Frederick November 6-7and21 “Play­
ing with Words—Painting with Fire,” slide lec­
ture and raku workshop with Patrick Timothy
Caughy. Slide lecture: $5; workshop: $135, in­
cludes 25 lbs. of raku clay and firing. November 13
“Distilling the Landscape,” lecture with Catherine
White. Fee: $5. Contact Hood College Ceramics
Program, 401 Rosemont Ave., Frederick 21701;
telephone Joyce Michaud (301) 696-3456, 6963526 or (301) 698-0929.
Massachusetts, Somerville November 8 “Holi­
day Objects Workshop,” parent and child ses­
sion with Jennifer Thayer. Fee: $25. Contact
Mudflat, 149 Broadway, Somerville 02145; or
telephone (617) 628-0589.
Massachusetts, Worcester November 14—15“The
Provocative Cup” with David Wright. January
23-24, 1999 “Thrown, Altered and Decorated”
with Suze Lindsay. Contact Worcester Center for
Crafts, 25 Sagamore Rd., Worcester 01605; or
telephone (508) 753-8183.
New York, New York November 7and21 “MultiMedia Tile Workshop” with David Packer, using
clay with found objects or other media. Fee: $165;
members, $150. Contact the Craft Students
League, YWCA/NYC, 610 Lexington Ave., New
York 10022.
New York, White Plains November 13 “Basketry
Techniques for Potters” with Nancy Moore Bess.
Contact Westchester Art Workshop, Westchester
County Center, White Plains 10606; or tele­
phone (914) 684-0094.
North Carolina, Durham January 8-10, 1999
“Innovative Handbuilding Techniques,” slide lec­
ture and workshop with Lana Wilson. Fee: $110.
Contact Pam Wardell, 9810 Gallop Ln., Bahama,
NC 27503; or telephone (919) 471-4300.
Oklahoma, Norman December 12-13 Slab-building techniques with John Gill. Fee: $79, includes
registration fee. Contact the Firehouse Art Cen­
ter, (405) 329-4523.
Oregon, Portland November 7-8 “Brush Mak­
ing” with Glen Grishkoff. Fee: $148, includes
studio fee. Contact Oregon College of Art and
Craft, 8245 S. W. Barnes Rd., Portland 97225; or
telephone (503) 297-5544.
Texas, Beaumont November 6-7 Demonstration
of slip-casting and handbuilding techniques with
Verne Funk and Victor Spinski. For further infor­
mation, contact the Art Studio, (409) 838-5393,
e-mail [email protected] or see website at
Texas, Houston November 6—7 A session with
Peter Beasecker. Fee: $30. Contact Roy Hanscom,
Art Dept., North Harris College, 2700 W. W.
Thorne Dr., Houston 77073; or telephone (281)
Texas, Ingram November 6—8 “Functional StoneCERAMICS MONTHLY
November 1998
ware in the ’90s: Single Firing,” slide lecture and
workshop with Steven Hill. Limited to 30 partici­
pants. Fee: $200. Contact Hill Country Arts
Foundation, Duncan-McAshan Visual Arts Cen­
ter, PO Box 1169, Ingram 78025; telephone
(800) 459-HCAF or (830) 362-5120.
Texas, San Antonio November 13 “The Artist’s
Pilgrimage and Personal Work,” lecture with Beth
Thomas. Free. Contact the Southwest School of
Art and Craft, (210) 224-1848.
Vermont, Waterbury Center November 6T>ottery
demonstration. Fee: $6; members, $4. Contact
the Vermont Clay Studio, (802) 244-1126.
Virginia, Alexandria November 6—8 “Mosaic
Workshop” with Susan Maye. December 11—13
“Handbuilding Techniques” with Lisa Naples.
Contact Creative Clay Studios, 5704D General
Washington Dr., Alexandria 22312; or telephone
(703) 750-9480.
Washington, Tacoma November27—28Slide pre­
sentation and demonstration of surface decora­
tion with Pat Colyer and Dick Luster. Fee: $80.
Contact 747 Fawcett Studio and Gallery, 747 S.
Fawcett St., Tacoma 98402; or telephone (253)
International Events
Argentina, Buenos Aires November 23—December 9
“Candelabrums/2,” juried international exhibition;
at the Cultural Center General San Martin.
Belgium, Brasschaat November 3-6“ PrintingTechniques on Ceramics” with Paul Scott. Fee: 6000 Bf
(approximately US$ 165). November 2 7-22“Throwing Large Pots” with Jan Winkels. Fee: 3200 Bf
(approximately US$85). Contact Atelier Cirkel,
Miksebaan 272,2930 Brasschaat; telephone (32) 36
33 05 89, fax (32) 36 63 05 89 or e-mail
[email protected] dma. be
Brazil, Sao Paulo November 26—December 10
“Abrindo o Forno,” exhibition of sculptures, ves­
sels and masks by Eliana Begara, Georgia Bruder,
Calliopi, CmtiaTrigo and Jo Zaragoza; at Planeta
das Artes Galeria, Rua Lourenco de Almeida, 275
Vila Nova Concei^ao.
Canada, Ontario, Toronto through November 21
Two-person exhibition including ceramics by
Bruce Cochrane. November 26—December 23
“Holiday Collection.” “Tea Party II”; at Prime
Gallery, 52 McCaul St.
November 19—22“Sixteenth Annual Winter Show
and Sale”; at Woodlawn Pottery Studio, 80
Woodlawn Ave., E.
Canada, Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown
through January 10, 1999 “S.O.S.: Sources of
Support,” ceramics by Alexandra McCurdy; at the
Confederation Centre for the Arts.
England, Cambridge November 17-December 20
Bob Washington retrospective; at Fitzwilliam
England, Chichester November 13—15 “Throw­
ing and Turning” with Alison Sandeman. No­
vember 15-19 “Making and Decorating Tiles”
with John Hinchcliffe and Wendy Barber. Janu­
ary 8—10, 1999 “Throwing and Turning, with
Handle Making” with Alison Sandeman. Janu­
ary 24—26, 1999“Raku and Low-fired Ceram­
ics” with John Dunn. Contact College Office,
West Dean College, West Dean, Chichester, West
Sussex PO18 0QZ; or telephone (243) 811301.
England, Essex November 21—February 7, 1999
Bob Washington retrospective; at the Chelmsford
England, London through November 21 Richard
Slee. November 27-January 9, 1999 Sara Rad-
stone; at Barrett Marsden Gallery, 17-18 Great
Sutton St., Clerkenwell.
November 12 or 26 Auction of Oriental ceramics
and other artworks. November 17 Auction of
“Mintons’ Marvelous Majolica”; at Christie’s
South Kensington, 85 Old Brompton Rd.
November 15—Spring 1999 Reconstruction of
William and Mary’s porcelain gallery with dis­
plays of Japanese Kakiemon and Chinese ceram­
ics; at State Apartments, Kensington Palace.
November 16 Auction of art from the Ming dy­
nasty. Auction of fine Chinese ceramics, export
porcelain, paintings, etc. November 18 Auction of
a private collection of Kakiemon porcelain; at
Christie’s, 8 King St., St. James.
November 16-December 31 Bob Washington ret­
rospective; at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
November 17 Auction of Chinese works of art.
November 18 Auction of fine Chinese ceramics,
etc. Auction of Chinese export porcelain and
other artworks. November 19 Auction of Japanese
artworks; at Sotheby’s, 34135 New Bond St.
November 17-December 20 “100 Masterpieces of
Imperial Chinese Ceramics from the Au Bak Ling
Collection, 12th to 18th Centuries”; at the Royal
Academy of Arts, Piccadilly.
November 18 Auction of Chinese and Japanese
ceramics and other works of art; at Phillips, 101
New Bond St.
November 18—19 “Masterpieces of Ceramics in
the Percival David Foundation,” a special session
examining the collection. Contact Percival David
Foundation, 53 Gordon Sq., London WC1H OPD;
telephone Elizabeth Jackson, (171) 387-3909.
November 19-May 31, 1999 “Rare Marks on
Chinese Porcelain” exhibition; at Percival David
Foundation, 53 Gordon Sq.
November 20 Auction of Far Eastern ceramics and
other artworks; at Bonhams, Montpelier Galler­
ies, Montpelier St.
England, Middlesbrough November2—January 4y
1999 Bob Washington retrospective; at the
Cleveland Museum.
England, Nottingham November 1—30 Bob Wash­
ington retrospective; at Rufford Crafts Centre.
November 16-March
Winchcome Pottery; at the Potteries Museum.
France, Dieulefit through January 5, 1999
“Ceramiques Architecturales”; at Maison de la
Terre, Parc de la Beaume.
France, Nancay through December /^Exhibition
of ceramics by Christine Fabre; at Galerie Capazza,
Grenier de Villatre.
France, Sevres through December 21 Gilbert
Portanier, “Un magicien des couleurs”; at Musee
national de Ceramique, Place de la Manufacture.
December 1 “Le motif a la Berain en ceramique”
lecture with Vincent l’herrou. For further infor­
mation, contact Societe des Amis du Musee Na­
tional de Ceramique, Place de la Manufacture,
92310 Sevres; telephone (41) 14 04 20.
Germany, Braunschweig through November 19
“Shodai-Yaki Mizuhogama,” exhibition depict­
ing the 400-year history of Shodai pottery of
Kyushu, Japan; at Stadtisches Museum, Formsammlung, Lowenwall 16.
India January 8-28, 1999 “South India Arts and
Culture” with Judith Chase, James Danisch, Ray
Meeker and Deborah Smith. All skill levels. Fee:
$3500, includes materials, firing, lodging and
meals. Contact Anderson Ranch Arts Center, PO
Box 5598, Snowmass Village, CO 81615; tele­
phone (970) 923-3181, fax (970) 923-3871 or
e-mail [email protected]
India, Nepal February 5-26, 1999 “Exploring
with the Potters of Nepal” with Doug Casebeer,
Judith Chase, James Danisch and Santa Kumar
Prajapati. All skill levels. Fee: $3500, includes
November 1998
materials, firing, lodging and meals. Contact
Anderson Ranch Arts Center, PO Box 5598,
Snowmass Village, CO 81615; telephone (970)
[email protected] net
Italy, Deruta through November 7 “Deruta Ce­
ramics 1920-1950”; at Museo Regionale della
through November 7 “The Ancient Ceramics of
Deruta.” “Ceramic Art/New Generations”; at ExFabbrica “Maioliche Deruta.”
Italy, GualdoTadino through November 6“
phis: A Heterodox Experience.” “The Historical
Forms of Gualdo Ceramics”; at Centro Promozionale della Ceramica.
Italy, Gubbio through November 7“Mastro Giorgio
of Gubbio: A Dazzling Career”; at Palazzo dei Consoli.
through November 7 “The Gubbio Luster in the
Historicist Culture of the 19th Century”; at Pa­
lazzo Ducale.
Italy, Rome December 1-20 Two-person exhibi­
tion with ceramics by Irene “Niki” Martinelli; at
La Bottega d’Arte di Umberto D’Arceto, via dei
Cappellari, I 25.
Japan, Mashiko through November 29 “The Sec­
ond Mashiko Ceramics Competition ’98”; at Pot­
tery Messe.
Japan, Tajimi City through November 3 “Fifth
International Ceramics Competition ’98 Mino
Japan”; at Tajimi City Special Exhibition Hall,
Tajimi City Gymnasium.
Mexico, Oaxaca November 30—December 7 or
January 25-February 1, 1999 “Six Villages Study
Tour,” overview of indigenous Oaxacan pottery.
Limited to 6 participants. Fee: $670, includes
materials, lodging and most meals. December 14—
19 or January 11-16, 1999 “Oaxacan Pottery
Workshop” focusing on the San Marcos, Zapotec
handbuilding techniques. Includes visits to
Coyotepec and Atzompa. Limited to 6 partici­
pants. Fee: $540, includes materials, lodging and
most meals. For further information, contact Eric
Mindling, Manos de Oaxaca, fax (952) 141-86 or
[email protected]
Netherlands, Amsterdam through November 7
“Millennia,” ceramics by Joseph Roschar; at
JBK(gallery), Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 159-157.
through November 18 Saturo Hoshino and
November 21-December 16
Setsuko Nagasawa; at Galerie de Witte Voet,
Kerkstraat 135.
Netherlands, Arnhem November 14—January 31,
1999“Theepotten Steengoed”; at the Historisch
Museum het Burgerweeshuis, Bovenbeekstraat 21.
Netherlands, Deventer through November 7W%x\&built ceramics by David Roberts and Tina
Vlassopulos. November 15-December 19 Woodfired stoneware by Claude Champy; at Loes and
Reinier, Korte Assenstraat 15.
Netherlands, Leeuwarden through January 10,
1999“ The Incas: Rulers of the Andes,” exhibition
of over 200 ceramic objects plus some gold and
silver; at Keramiekmuseum het Princessehof, Grote
Kerkstraat 11.
Netherlands, Oosterbeek through November 8
Porcelain by Arne Ase and Paula Bastiaansen.
Teapots by 12 ceramists. November22—December
21 Porcelain by Judith deVries and Henk Wolvers;
at Galerie Amphora, van Oudenallenstraat 3.
Spain, Agost June 3-26, 1999 Workshop with
Marcia Selsor, includes raku, soda, wood and
electric kilns, plus visits to Barcelona, Granada
and Cordoba. Fee: $2000; deposits due in De­
cember. Contact Marcia Selsor, (406) 259-7244
or e-mail [email protected]
November 1998
Answered by the CM Technical Staff
Q I have been working with burnished terra
sigillata on earthenware, sawdust fired in a
trash-can kiln. However, I would like to handbuild a saggar with coils andfire the pieces in my
electric kiln. To make the saggar, I would like
to use a local commercial stoneware body to
which I will add grog. Can you provide some
guidance on the following:
1. Thickness of the walls of the saggar?
2. Should the bottom of the saggar have a foot
ring, as well as a lid?
3. How big should the saggar be (I can accom­
modate a 15-inch-diameter piece inside the
4. How far from the elements should the walls
of the saggar be?
5. What temperature is needed in order to burn
the sawdust?
6. Will there be lots of smoke or any at all?
7. Would this damage the kiln in any way?
Anything else I should know?—L.R.
I will address your last few questions first:
Saggar firing can be done in an electric kiln,
but there are several things that have to be
considered. Usually, saggar firing is done in
fuel-fired kilns because they are already
configured to exhaust the resultant gas and
smoke. In an electric kiln, you will likely have
some smoke because the saggar will not be
sealed perfectly.
In fact, it is wot advised to seal the saggar,
as there is an atmospheric expansion on heat­
ing it, and the saggar will crack open anyway.
Therefore, fire the kiln out-of-doors or have
an exhaust system that is capable of removing
the resultant smoke.
Reduction atmospheres will damage and
shorten the life of electric elements unless
you take the proper precautions to protect
them. I coat all unheated metal, including
elements and thermocouples, with a zirco­
nium silicate product (ITC 213).This pro­
tects the alumina oxides on elements from
the reducing effects of CO (carbon monox­
ide) and extends their life significantly. If you
plan to saggar fire (or reduce) in your electric
kiln, I would advise that you coat the ele­
ments with this or a similar product.
It is important to remember that the heat
produced in an electric kiln is primarily by
radiation. There is little convection (heated
air movement), and conduction will be by
the saggar heating to a temperature high
enough to ignite the sawdust inside. There­
fore, the saggar walls should not be too thick—
½ inch (8 millimeters) is as thick as you
should make it.
I would construct the saggar in three
parts: a platelike bottom with a flange that
allows lifting, a cylinder and a lid. With a lid
and separate bottom, the caked sawdust can
be easily removed. The space between the
elements and the saggar should be no closer
than 2½ inches (5 centimeters); this should
allow enough room for both of your hands to
position the saggar properly. The tempera­
ture you reach is not critical, except that you
want the sawdust (dry) to ignite and smolder,
so at least Cone 010—1650°F (900°C).
Higher shouldn’t make a big difference.
Nils Lou
Linfield College
McMinnville, Oregon
Q I am using a commercially prepared stone­
ware clay body with a firing range of Cone 4 to
Cone 10. Most of my glazes are Cone 6, but
sometimes I fire to Cone 5 to get the best color for
certain glazes.
When I fire the following glaze to Cone 5, it
looks mature, with no apparent defects. How­
ever, if I allow water to remain in a fired vessel
overnight, I notice some migration will occur,
resulting in the unglazed bottom of the pot
being damp. This does not occur if Ifire to one
cone higher, but the color changes in a way I
don’tparticularly like.
Floating Blue
the abuse a dishwasher can give. The dish­ customers to not put this ware in the dish­
(Cone 5—6)
washer may be the parent’s friend, but it’s a washer, though they might question the wis­
Gerstley Borate................................... 27.0 %
glaze’s worst nightmare. There are few worsedom of buying tableware that has to be
Nepheline Syenite................................ 47.3
things we can do to a glaze than subject it to washed by hand.
Kaolin................................................. 5.4
dishwasher detergent on a daily basis. The
Having said all this, there are a couple of
Flint .................................................. 20.3
most durable glazes will remain unchanged glaze adj ustments you can try. The first would
100.0% over the years, but high-alkali, high-boron, be to add more silica to the glaze. This will
low-silica glazes, such as this one, usually do both lower the thermal expansion (that is,
Add: Cobalt Carbonate.................... 1.5%
not last as long.
make the glaze more craze resistant) and
Red Iron Oxide........................ 2.0%
The answer may not be to change the might raise the maturing temperature enough
Powdered Rutile....................... 4.0%
glaze or clay body, but to change the way in that it will still look the way you want at Cone
Is there any long-range problem associated which you now use Floating Blue. You could6 or 7.
with using Floating Blue-glazed tablewarefired attempt using the glaze only on the outside of Here is your recipe with the silica adj usted
to Cone 5 as described?—V.M.
your pots, while using a more durable glaze upward to a 9 to 1 Si02 to A1203 ratio (on a
Crazing is not always apparent, especially on the inside. You could also try asking your unity basis):
with glazes that have such high-color density
like this one. You may be better able to see the
crazing in very bright light; another trick is to
place a little food coloring on the pot to stain
the crazing. I’m almost certain that this glaze
is crazing, and there are several reasons why
it’s doing that.
The first problem that leaps out is the
“range” of your clay. While most clay bodies
do work over a range, I’m skeptical of one
working well from Cone 4 to 10. From your
description of the problem, it sounds as if the
clay is immature at Cone 5.
One of the problems of an immature clay
body is that it will exhibit excessive moisture
expansion. What this means is that the pot
will swell a little from water that it absorbs
from the air or from washing (the same way
that a dry sponge will expand when it is
placed in water). The result of this swelling is
that a glaze that might otherwise fit will tend
to develop crazing because it is “stretched” by
the clay itself.
You may not be seeing any crazing on the
pieces that are fired to Cone 6 because the
body is mature enough at the slightly higher
temperature. On the other hand, the glaze
may still be crazed, but the body may be
mature enough to prevent water from leaking
through. My guess is that the glaze is crazed
at this temperature as well and that it would
craze on most clay bodies also, regardless of
the temperature to which it is fired.
This glaze is high in alkali (sodium and
potassium) and low in silica—both charac­
teristics that would contribute to crazing. It’s
also pretty high in boron for a Cone 5-6
glaze, which can have a negative effect on
both durability and glaze fit.
We could change the glaze formula to fix
these “flaws,” but you would probably find
that the glaze would no longer look the way
you want it to. Most potters like glazes that
“do things,” and in order to get these interest­
ing effects, we tend to push the envelope of
what a glaze chemist might consider the
practical limits. What we gain by this practice
is much more visually interesting surfaces;
what we lose are things like durability and
glaze fit.
I seriously doubt that this glaze would
hold up well over the long term, especially to
November 1998
Your work can be placed on these plaster
in progress. Often, areas are reworked several
times. I am told these are the reasons the pieces shelves and kept workable for indefinite peri­
break in firing. They do not explode; various ods of time, with careful monitoring.
Floating Blue
I suspect from your description of the way
parts simply make a clean break. They can be
(Cone 6?)
glued, filled, stained and waxed, but never your work breaks, the problem could also be
Gerstley Borate................................ 22.9%
the way you dry the work. You might con­
glazed, nor conscionably sold.
Nepheline Syenite........................... 40.1
sider building a second damp box, complete
Since I make molds of the pieces for repro­
Kaolin................................................ 4.6
duction, it makes sense to me to eliminate a lot with plaster shelves, to help add moisture to
Flint .................................................. 32.4
of hassle by making a matrix ofPlastilina, and the air, to dry the work very slowly. Drying of
thick work can take as much as a month.
forgetting firing an original.
Remember, as the work dries, it will shrink.
Add: Cobalt Carbonate................ 1.5%
mixing dry clay with oil. There must be more to You might want to place the piece on 1 xlARed Iron Oxide.................... 2.0%
inch dowel rods to allow shrinkage move­
it than that. Words can V describe my experi­
Powdered Rutile................... 4.0%
mental messes! Td like to know the ingredients ment when drying.
As an aside, this glaze doesn’t need any and process for making plasticine, if there is a
I have made plasticine for my beginning
bentonite (because of the Gerstley borate), practical way.—C.B.
sculpture students here at the University of
but it might apply more easily if it were
Working clay over a long period of time Alabama. We used the following recipe, sup­
flocculated with a little Epsom salts—0.25% often allows the surface to dry, which will plied by Sloss Furnace, a National Historic
or so.
cause the cracking problems you have de­ Iron Foundry in Birmingham, Alabama:
The other thing that you might want to scribed. Let me make a few suggestions be­
Melt 8 pounds microcrystalline sculpture
try is a more mature clay body. Look for one fore I give you the information on plasticine.wax (medium hardness) in a small barrel set
that the manufacturer says is good for Cone From your description of the work, and the on bricks and heated with a small propane
4 to 7. That lower limit would usually indi­ fact that you are firing the originals, you burner, being careful to keep it below the
cate it really is reaching maturity in the might want to consider using a damp box. point of smoking. Add 1 pint nondetergent
middle cone range.
An old refrigerator makes an excellent motor oil and 2h pound lithium grease, then
Peter Pinnell damp box. You can also build a damp box toslowly stir in 5 pounds ball clay and 5 pounds
Assistant Professor of Art your specifications with marine plywood kaolin. Once the clay is totally blended, add
University of Nebraska, Lincoln painted with a high-quality waterproof paint. 10-20 pounds portland cement, until mix­
Plaster shelves are often used in damp boxes.ture is the proper consistency. Remove small
Q I do detailed, time-consuming sculpture. They can be soaked in water and placed in thesamples and allow it to cool to test for the
This necessitates many rehydrations of the work box to add moisture to the air.
desired plasticity. When the mix is to your
liking, dump the batch onto a thick plastic
sheet to cool.
Easily stored in plastic buckets (available
at most hardware or paint stores), this
plasticine mix can be reused over and over
again. If the mix becomes too sticky, you can
wedge in more clay to make it firmer; if it
becomes too hard, you can heat the mixture
to make it more pliable or re-cook the mix­
ture to add more oil.
I think you will find it easy to use, and
good for making originals from which to
make molds. Be careful to clean your hands
thoroughly before handling bisqued ware.
Any oil deposited on clay surfaces will cause
glazes to crawl.
W. Lowell Baker
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Q Td like to know more about the possible
toxicity of black copper oxide in glazes. The
following are two glaze recipes that especially
interest me:
Black Matt Glaze
(Cone 9—10, reduction)
Whiting.............................................. 21.0%
Nepheline Syenite................................ 43.0
Kaolin............................................... 12.0
Flint.................................................... 24.0
Add: Bentonite.................................... 1.5%
Copper Carbonate....................... 0.5%
Copper Oxide............................. 2.5%
Green Glaze
(Cone 04)
High-alkali Frit................................. 75.0%
Kaolin................................................. 15.0
Flint.................................................... 10.0
Add: Copper Oxide............................ 1.5%
Red Iron Oxide........................... 6.0%
One of my supply catalogs states that black
copper oxide “should not be used on food or
beverage containers. ” I know that copper oxide
and copper carbonate are considered toxic when
in the raw state, but this is the first time I have
encountered a warning about toxicity in a fired
glaze. Can you clarify this for me?—A.J.
First, all copper in glazes winds up in the
same state—CuO. There is some sense to
using the carbonate because of the finer par­
ticle size it has. Using copper oxide can also
result in specks of color. The carbonate is less
strong than the oxide, so you would need to
use a greater amount to get the color you are
trying to achieve. To convert the amount of
copper oxide to copper carbonate (to get the
same amount of CuO), you need to multiply
by 1.55.
There is always a limit to the amount of a
coloring oxide that can be held in solution as
a glaze cools. When that limit is exceeded,
November 1998
then the oxide will condense on the surface of
the glaze, where it will be easily dissolved by
some foods.
What you are asking has to do with the
amount of copper in the glaze and how
“durable” the glaze is. The durability of the
glaze is a crucial factor. If the glaze is not a
“good” glass, then no matter how little cop­
per is present, it is liable to leach out under
certain conditions.
The other side of this coin is that no
matter how durable the glaze is, if you put in
too much of a coloring oxide, it will end up
on the surface of the piece and combine with
some foods.
Metallic oxides: we need small amounts
of many, but an oversupply can be harmful.
The question is, how much is too much? As
a potter who makes some functional work
(see Ceramics Monthly, JunelJulylAugust
1994), I am concerned about this aspect of
producing ware that will be in contact with
many foods under many conditions.
My philosophy is be careful. There is so
much disagreement about toxicity, I usually
come to the conclusion that I just don’t have
enough information to be sure, so I err on the
safe side. I certainly do not think that it is my
job to be prescribing trace elements for any
person’s diet.
The Cone 10 glaze looks like a durable
glaze to me; however, the black is probably
pure copper oxide. This is certainly not the
kind of glaze I want to eat off of, because the
copper cannot be held in solution (some­
times you can rub it off). At any rate, it will
react with acids and may even discolor in use.
My advice is to lower the copper content as
much as possible.
When I calculate the Cone 04 glaze using
Ferro Frit 3110 and Edgar Plastic Kaolin
(EPK), I see that it is an unbalanced glaze—
high in sodium and silica.
Sodium often makes glazes soluble; cop­
per has the same reputation. That, combined
with the fact that low-fire glazes are more
difficult to make durable, makes me think
that lowering the copper oxide as much as
you possibly can would be the best course
here, too.
Ron Roy
Ceramics Consultant
Scarborough, Ontario
are welcome, and those of interest to the
ceramics community in general will be an­
swered in this column. Due to volume,
letters may not be answered personally.
Mail to Ceramics Monthly, PO Box 6102,
[email protected]
(614) 891-8960.
November 1998
engineering field, the phases are designated and 240, 220 or 208 volts will be derived
by the letters and colors: A or LI (black), B between any two hot legs, depending on
Continued from page 8
or L2 (red) and C or L3 (blue). A six-elementwhat the utility company transformer out in
three-phase kiln should be wired as follows: the street is supplying. There is no system
that provides 240 volts from one hot leg
kiln, motor or any other type of equipment elements 1 and 2 will have phase A (Lll
can be wired with three wires, three hot legs black) and B (L21red) connected; elements 3 referenced to neutral or ground except a 277/
and the metal conduit acting as a groundl and 4 will have phase B (L2!red) and C (L3/ 480 volt system, which is found only in
neutral; four wires, three hot legs and the blue) connected; and elements 5 and 6 will modern industrial plant use. In that particu­
have A (LUblack) and C (L3/blue) con­
lar system, each hot leg is 277 volts refer­
metal conduit acting as a ground; or five
wires, three hot legs, a neutral and a dedi­ nected. Elements 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 andenced to neutral or ground and 480 volts
between any two hot legs.
cated ground wire. The color coding for a 6 can be wired either in series or parallel,
Finally, the utility company charges by
three-, four- or five-wire system is: the three depending on their specifications.
the kilowatt, $0.09 to $0.13 per kilowatt
hot legs are black, red and blue; neutral is In a three-phase configuration, each leg
hour, depending on location, so three-phase
referenced to neutral or ground is 120 volts,
white; and green is ground. In the electrical
and one-phase equipment with the same
wattage cost the same to run.
Joseph Catanzaro, Kiln-Ray Services
Warwick, New York
Individual Style
As a ceramics student, I have found this
magazine most helpful for information and
ideas. However, in the Letters section I find
that people want more information on the
how-to process. I see CM as a source for ideas
in all areas. I do not expect the magazine to
be a how-to publication. Each person needs
to seek his or her own individual style, and
from this comes many abstract and diverse
ideas that reflect the experiences of the artist’s
reaction to the clay.
In Ceramics Monthly, I see a variety in
style and composition that gives my creativity
a spark of enthusiasm. It is good to see func­
tional, nonfunctional and abstract works in
the same magazine.
Sometimes I think people want ideas
handed to them, but that is not the
magazine’s job. Don’t worry about the mis­
takes that are sometimes made. It’s okay to
lose a pot or two in the kiln.
Alford Wayman, Scranton, Pa.
New Tricks
For years I have been enjoying Ceramics
Monthly, so much so that I decided to try my
hand at ceramics. I registered at a small
university here called Nicholls State Univer­
sity. My intention was to just try it for one
semester, but I got hooked.
I have just completed my third semester
and am planning to register again in the fall.
It feels so good that at my age I can get ex­
cited about a new career—never did believe
you could not teach an old dog new tricks.
Come December, I will be 74 years
young. I feel so good about this that I wanted
to let CM know it is largely responsible.
Please accept my sincere thanks.
Floyd Toups, Thibodaux, La.
Fueling the Dream Machine
I just came in from playing “let’s pretend
I’m a pug mill.” So believe me when I tell
people I work in clay, I have complete affir­
mation in what I do! Half a decade ago, I
encountered my first Ceramics Monthly in an backgrounds are now working together to resources in a cooperative way that benefits
out-of-town library. I pulled the subscriptioncollect the clay from every country of the not only themselves, but also future genera­
card and waited. I am the emaciated of the world, and the project has an official associa­tions, other cultures and the planet at large.
starving artists, so I knew I would have to tion with the United Nations.
In 2000, this “world clay” will be used to
wait to subscribe. I also felt (at the time) I
This is an excellent opportunity for the create a sculpture at the United Nations
readers of CM to help advance the field of Headquarters in New York City. Through
would be too easily influenced by others,
work and could not allow the bright colors ceramics in the eyes of the world. This globalinternational communication and joint
and mesmerizing shapes to “trip me up” in effort will put clay in a public context, free effort, a world mandala will be created, sym­
my work. Then last summer I ordered CM asfrom the old craft-versus-art dilemma. All ofbolizing the cooperation and respect for the
a birthday gift for myself.
us who work in clay will benefit from this environment that is possible among the
This magazine is like super octane fuel to collective effort.
diverse people of the world.
keep my dream machine movin’! I have read The United Nations will use CGWP to
All potters interested in collecting clay for
every word of every issue countless times. Myfocus attention on the concept of sustainablethis project should contact CGWP to register.
pitiful summer issue is hanging by a thread development: the idea that the diverse peopleYou will be sent forms to be returned with
since it must survive three times the use and of the world must share the earth’s finite
the clay. Write to Clay Collection, CGWP,
adoration. I have renewed my “gift” subscrip­
tion and have learned some things do get
better with age. Older and wiser, I know now
not to limit my influences. Because in our
art, when we are true to our work, our souls
show a little.
CM is such a fascinating and beautiful
window for artists willing to share a peek at
their souls. Thanks a gazillion!
Jenn I. West, Decatur, Ala.
Positive and Progressive
CM strikes a great balance between the
pragmatic side of ceramics and aesthetic
theory. Each issue is a lifeline for me! Thanks
for the positive and progressive vision.
Anne L. Bullock, Walla Walla, Wash.
Diverse Viewpoint
Even though there are some issues of the
magazine when there’s very little of what I see
that I like, I’m tired of all the letters from
people grumping and groaning “too much of
this, not enough of that.” Get over it! Diver­
sity is what makes the clay world go ’round.
Judi Tordo, Guilford, Conn.
Just a quick message to congratulate the
Ceramics Monthly team for the consistently
great quality of the magazine. I am only an
enthusiastic beginner in the world of pottery,
but I find the CM articles extremely interest­
ing, particularly the ones more on the techni­
cal side (I am keeping out of the form/
function debate) and potters reminiscing
about their lives/experiences.
Roberta Capogna Bateman, Cambridge, U.K.
Common Ground
Several years ago, I wrote the following in
my journal:
“It would be fascinating to take clay from
every country of the world and create a
‘world clay body,’ make a symbol, a meta­
phor, of the world as we know it....”
This recurring idea seemed to be just
another wild fantasy, far too complicated and
costly to actualize. However, a year ago, the
Common Ground World Project (CGWP)
was born. People of diverse cultures, ages and
November 1998
432 West 19th Street, New York, New York
10011; e-mail [email protected] or telephone
(212) 266-1850.
For further information, visit the website
at WP.html
Neil Tetkowski, New York City
More Tricks of the Trade
I would like to see more on potters’ triclcs
of the trade in lieu of the far-out, kind of
weird things that fill so many pages now. I
suspect CM has a fair percentage of readers
who don’t have the time or skill to make
similar examples of the far-outs. Put another
way, potters who sit down for three hours
weeldy want to produce five or six pots, not
just one-quarter of one pot.
Richard De Grey, Flintridge, Calif.
Treasure Trove
I used to read Ceramics Monthly infre­
quently in the ’70s, as a hobbyist, and now
that I am a self-employed commercial artist
with more time to devote to volume sales
from some slab work and stoneware sculp­
ture, it’s an inspiration. CM has evolved into
a trove of information and delights. Hooray!
Maurea Sleesman, Weeki Wachee, Fla.
CM is my MM (main motivator). When
I have artist’s block and can’t get myself
going, all I have to do is pick up my CM and
get excited about something. I read every
issue from cover to cover and never fail to
learn something new.
Rachel Bates, Ft. Worth, Tex.
As a recent subscriber to your publication,
I want to say how thrilled I am with the
issues I have received so far. The variety of
topics, the quality of the paper and photo­
graphs, the information about workshops,
exhibits, sales, etc., and even the advertise­
ments provide such a wealth of information.
I read each issue from cover to cover and
revisit them often. Thanks for providing such
a high-quality resource.
Judith Brunell, North Dartmouth, Mass.
Ceramics Monthly is my soul food!
Pege Cogswell, Folsom, La.
Source for Inspiration
CM is a great source for inspiration. I
soak up the juicy photos of pots and use the
technical information every day. I’d like to
see an article on using recycled materials, i.e.,
ground glass and other ways to make
clayworking more “earth friendly.”
Chris Moench, Bellingham, Wash.
November 1998
November 1998
In the Coil: The Collectors Urge by Delia Robinson
After courtship by a number of other
On the window sill, glowing in the morn­
ing light, sat a long row of miniature, institutions, the family sent the bulk of
unglazed, red clay pitchers. They were all the collection to the George R. Gardiner
identical, each with a perky little spout Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto,
Canada. They felt this museum was ex­
and a strap handle. “Aren’t they charm­
ing?” my friend said with enthusiasm. emplary. Willing to display (not just store)
“They’re water whistles! I got them in the porcelain, the museum is also de­
Cordova.” She had just returned from voted to teaching. A lobby full of clayvacationing in Spain, first escaping, but smeared children attending a workshop
was highly influential on the decision.
then returning to deep snow and inces­
Such enthusiasm, the family believed,
sant storms.
While enjoying the novelty of bright meshed with Syzs vision. Using his col­
sun and a vivid landscape, she had lection as a teaching tool had always been
a driving force
searched for me­
in the acquisi­
mentos to bring
Most of us prefer picturing ourselves as tion of new
friends and neigh­
works, and had
bors. Discovering a
world-wise and not easily fooled.
increasingly di­
potter, she bought
But show us the object we collect> and rected his pur­
a small clay water
chases as he
whistle. Thrown
we grow weak and pliable.
sought to reveal
on a wheel, it cost
relationships in
about $2. Later, in
her hotel room, she realized this was the elements of ceramic style, manufacture
perfect gift for everyone on her list— and technical development.
endearing, inexpensive, handmade, liter­
Why had Syz collected so much? He
ally singing of the sun-baked land and was a man of broad interests who could
shaped from actual Spanish earth. She be described as a “Grand Scheme” collec­
went back and bought 20. Once home, tor. If a piece revealed some feature that
she wished she had gotten more. She was fit his overall design, in it came. But what
had converted him from a person with
finding it hard to let go of them.
Owning more than one of something an eye for beauty into a collector with an
can get to you. It can flip an unsuspect­
acquisitional zeal analogous to that of a
ing person into a “collector” mode. This little boy scooping up baseball cards?
can lead to insatiable yearnings. Ulti­
He had been hooked by a misfortune
mately, judgment and caution are thrown of war. Exquisite examples of European
away in the lust to acquire more, more, ceramics reached the marketplace at rea­
more of the desired item. When asked sonable prices. In rescuing these lovely
how much money was enough, a great pieces—often not appreciated for their
historical and artistic interest—Syz be­
tycoon (who could be considered a col­
lector of money), replied, “Just a little came a collector with an unquenchable
thirst for porcelain.
more than you already have.”
When people are bitten by the collect­
Collectors of pottery feel the same way.
The best find is the next find. The late ing bug, there is not much they can do
about it. Though some are propelled by
Hans Syz had amassed hundreds of ex­
amples of 18th-century porcelain, yet compulsion and others by the pleasure of
never lost his passion for the quest. On the chase, the collecting urge is a de­
his death, his children, not collectors manding one. One voracious collector
themselves, were left with the task of find­ says he is a “self-appointed keeper of the
ing a place to display his immense, now past,” yet he admits the elation he feels
priceless, survey of fine porcelain. The when he adds to his collection is more
compelling than the archival satisfaction.
Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Mu­
seum of Art took portions of this monu­
Unlike Hans Syz, who maintained in­
tellectual control over his selections, this
mental assemblage.
November 1998
“self-appointed keeper” has an insatiable
yen for all kinds of things, including piles
of clay marbles, doorknobs and pottery
oddments. His major interest is in quan­
tity not quality; he wants lots of these
things. One clay marble is just one clay
marble. A bagful is gratifying. A box full
is thrilling.
Whatever the idiosyncratic fixation, it
often represents the window out which
judgment flies. Most of us prefer pictur­
ing ourselves as world-wise and not easily
fooled. But show us the object we collect,
and we grow weak and pliable. We have
all seen people struggle under collecting
compulsions. A frog egg cup? “I collect
frogs and by gum, there’s not a frog egg
cup in the lot!” one might say, and out
comes the wallet as if pulled from a pocket
by strings. Friends will groan and roll
their eyes, but nothing can be done.
This mysterious urge can sweep a per­
son into somewhat dangerous territory.
Craving pottery by famous potters, a
friend of mine will nearly bankrupt him­
self when the compulsion strikes. He has
a small collection of pots carrying power­
ful names like Leach and Hamada, but
he cannot rest. These pots seem to re­
quire further companionship. He help­
lessly gets clobbered by the bills this little
collection engenders.
Happily, his starvation for “Pots of the
Great” solved a problem I had. If I hadn’t
myself experienced the hunger a collector
feels (I will trample and grab to get any­
thing that is made of clay that whistles), I
might not have acted as I did.
I had been given an unusually homely
little pot made by Beatrice Wood, a pot­
ter whose work I generally adore. This
was not one of her celestial golden chal­
ices, just a small vase with a dull glaze
that had failed to bloom. The faintest
shadows of violet and blue lurked in the
dry surface, hinting at the loveliness the
potter had dreamed of. Every time I
looked at it, I would feel sad. “Anyone
can make a mistake” the sorrowful little
pot seemed to say, and hearing that, I
would feel ashamed and guilty. I felt I
should love this little pot, but I couldn’t.
Finally, I packed it up and sent it to
my friend with the famous-name collec­
tion. Others scolded me. “That was a
valuable pot! How could you just give it
November 1998
Compton has begun decorously collect­
ing examples of work by other potters
and has them attractively displayed
around his house. As of yet, there is no
away?” But it could never approach its
suggestion of a grand scheme or of hoard­
highest value until it was in the right
ing, rather, a thoughtful process of choos­
hands. In my hands, it was sorry and
ing a piece of work that represents
apologetic. In my friends hands, it is a
someone he wants to remember. On re­
radiant and lovely work, glowing with
cent trips, he has returned with wonder­
the wonder of “The Name.”
ful pieces by potters he visited. Even better
The late Beatrice Wood was a remark­
than snapshots, they hold the memory of
able woman, who at mid-life (when many
the potter’s hands, the in­
of us start thinking of fold­
tention of his or her mind,
ing our tents) embarked on
If you are lucky enough to have customers who are collec­
and the clay of the place.
a stellar pottery career. For
As a novice collector, he
my friend, the little pot
tors, treat them tenderly and sell them your best pieces.
is happily gathering new
signed “Beato” says “cour­
Whatever enhances their collection, they must have. You pieces, unaware that even the
age!” and other brave words.
It is a perfect adjunct to his
get the unusual assurance that your work will be treated most polite collection might
someday rear up and throw
collection. I wished I could
with reverential care, as if placed in a shrine.
its clay coils around him. He
have seen it as he does, but I
will be insatiably squeezed,
just wanted it to whistle.
desired object. For those not up to the pressed to “round out” the collection in
If you are lucky enough to have cus­
tomers who are collectors, treat them ten­ tussle, there are other options. One some way. Then decorum will end. He
derly and sell them your best pieces. woman has a website for the sole purpose will have no choice but to submit, to
Whatever enhances their collection, they of locating a ceramic Donald Duck pie become a procuring agent for his ambi­
tious collection. The good part is he will
must have. You get the unusual assurance bird, without which her collection is in­
have the time of his life.
that your work will be treated with rever­ complete and her life unfulfilled.
Of course, the impulse isn’t always
ential care, as if placed in a shrine.
To collectors, the items amassed are desperate or frenetic. Many of us are quite The author A frequent contributor to CM,
Delia Robinson maintains a studio in Mont­
sacred in some curious way. Carefully dignified in our collecting (I can’t hon­
documented and kept in a protected estly include myself). Vermont potter Bob pelier, Vermont.
place, with handling by others discour­
aged, they are usually encircled by the
hope that the collection will never be
broken up. Your work could not find
better homes. Plus, they might submit to
further cravings and come rushing back
for more.
The collectors’ temerity in seeking “it”
can be remarkable. In a showroom, their
excitement can be contagious, sparking
sales frenzies in their effort to secure the
Index to Advertisers
A.R.T. Studio..............................81
Amaco ....................................... 75
American Ceramic Society........ 85
Amherst Potters......................... 94
Anderson Ranch...................... 109
Axner.......................................... 79
Bailey................... 1,24,25,30,87
Bracker’s.................................. 107
Brickyard................................... 82
Brown Tool ............................. 100
Ceramic Design....................... 108
Ceramics Monthly................... Ill
China Cultural Exchange........110
Clark Art.....................................94
Clay Art Center.......................... 94
Clay Factory...............................94
Clay Times.................................88
Clayworks Supplies..................110
Contemporary Kiln.................. 110
Continental Clay...............................28
Corey............................................... 104
Creative Industries......................... 103
Crosscraft Enterprises.................... 110
Davens.............................................. 91
Dedell.............................................. 110
Del Val............................................ 100
Derek Marshall.................................90
Dolan ............................................... 94
Duralite........................................... 110
Dwyer Estate.................................... 99
Falcon............................................. 110
Flourish........................................... 104
Kickwheel............................................ 2
L&L .....................................................9
Laguna Clay..................................... 102
Lark Books.........................................97
Lockerbie........................................... 91
Miami Clay........................................ 99
Mid-South.......................................... 13
Mile Hi...............................................80
Minnesota Clay USA........................105
Miracle Underglazes........................ 107
Modern Postcard.............................. 101
Geil................................................... 77
Georgies.......................................... 100
Great Lakes Clay............................ 101
NCECA................................... Cover 3
New Mexico Clay.............................100
New Orleans Clay............................ 104
Nidec-Shimpo........................ Cover 2
North Star...................................7, 105
Highwater Clays.............................. 96
Hood................................................ 94
Olsen.................................................. Ill
Olympic............................................. 89
ITC................................................... 93
Jamark............................................. Ill
Jepson........................... 11,21,29, 83
Peter Pugger.....................................104
Philadelphia Pottery........................ 100
Potters Guide..............................98
Potters Shop.............................108
Pottery Maldng Illustrated.........78
Pure & Simple..........................104
Rosen.......................................... 17
Scott Creek................................. 86
Skutt.................................. Cover 4
Spectrum ................................... 76
Standard..................................... 95
Studio Potter...............................82
U. S. Pigment........................... 109
Ward........................................... 74
West Coast Kilns......................107
Whistle Press.............................107
Wise............................................ 94
Wolfe......................................... 100
Worcester Center........................ 91
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