In a way, each issue of Ceramics Monthly is about recognition, calling out artists for their achievements and ability, looking at the work and techniques, tools, and research that influence our field today.
This issue focuses in on recognizing the achievements and skills of a narrower group within the field, that of our annual group of emerging artists.
Choosing the artists is an immensely difficult but gratifying task. After all of the submissions are opened and processed, we bring them into a conference room in mail bins for the first round of selections. Each editor grabs a few bins, and sorts through the files, looking at images, and selecting submissions to consider further. We pass the bins around the table so that all submissions are seen and considered for the first round by everyone. As the pile of selected artists’ folders in the middle of the table grows, so does my curiosity and anticipation.
Next, we lay out the selected artists’ images on a long table, and look at all of the images together. Discussions, arm twisting, research, and debates all inform our decisions as to which submissions then get set aside as semi-finalists. We consider both technical and conceptual aspects of the work, the formal qualities of shape, scale, technique used, and the level of skill shown in finishing the work; the contextual qualities like historical or contemporary influence; and the subjective qualities including how successfully the piece communicates the intended ideas, how engaging the pieces are, and why.
For the semi-finalist round, we look at the group as a whole, assessing the comparative quality as well as the balance of the kinds of work shown (1).
In this issue’s Spotlight, we catch up with Martina Lantin, who was one of our emerging artists in 2002. Her work can also be seen below (2), in the Exposure section on page 15, and her emerging artist work is included in the digital edition.
While attending the 2015 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference in Providence, Rhode Island, a week before we sent this issue to press, Holly Goring and I had the opportunity to give awards to students showing work in the Eighteenth Annual National K–12 Ceramic Exhibition. One of the artists was Ian Hine (3), a high-school senior who studies with Marko Biddle. Hine has logged over a thousand extra hours in the studio during high school, and his effort and dedication have paid off and are worthy of recognition.
– Jessica Knapp, Ceramics Monthly Editor