It’s summer time and that means the deadline (June 30 – write it down!) is fast approaching for Ceramics Monthly’s Annual Undergraduate Showcase competition. The competition is open to all undergraduate students enrolled in ceramics classes at accredited post-secondary educational institutions, including 2009 graduates. The winners get their work featured in Ceramics Monthly. And heck, I might just feature them in the Daily too. Pretty cool eh? So as a reminder for that deadline and simply to show you some great work, I thought I would feature the showcased artists from last year’s inaugural competition in today’s post. Do you know a deserving undergraduate? Do they need a nudge? Pass this along and help them get the recognition they deserve! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor
I’m not sure the term undergraduate accurately reflects the nature of what it is to study ceramics at the post-secondary level. Really, it just says you haven’t graduated; it says nothing of the commitment you may have made to your chosen field of study, and it certainly doesn’t convey the level of achievement we see in the works submitted for this showcase. Perhaps we should have called it the “2008 Extremely Committed Post-Secondary Students with Tons of Ability and Potential Superstar Status Showcase,” but you can see how that’s problematic. I suppose we’ll leave it how it is, for clarity’s sake, on the condition that the reader understand that we feel the works presented here are not under much of anything, except perhaps the publicity radar.—Sherman Hall, Editor, Ceramics Monthly
University of Mississippi
Instructor: Matt Long
I am interested in how pots can be used every day to bring art into one’s life and to enhance one’s experience with food by providing a daily ritual to feed the soul as well as the body. I enjoy playing with form and seeing how far I can take it. But as always, form has to follow function. I think in order to have a successful piece you must have good form, composition and balance.
Ash Cup, 4 in. (10 cm) in height, Korean celadon with Boone slip porcelain, wood fired to cone 12, 2008.
|Leslie Plato Smith
Laney Community College
Instructor: Susannah Israel
A background in archaeology has shaped my world view. I try to bring a sense of universality, cultural diversity and timelessness to my pieces. I work quickly so the clay body influences the final form as much as my own ideas. Texture is more than just a surface; it changes the shape and feel of each piece. I try to invoke a gut response from the viewer; something that comes from deep inside the primitive part of the brain, rather than a refined, analytical assessment.
Ringed Tower, 99 in. (251 cm) in height, mixed clays, glazes, underglazes, washes, stains fired to either cone 6 in oxidation or cone 10 in reduction, installed on steel structure. Photo: Paul Parkus.
Australian National University, Canberra
Instructor: Janet DeBoos
I used to live in Bangkok, Thailand, and, despite the amazing contemporary and traditional ceramics tradition prevalent there, I was unable to avail myself of a ceramics education locally due to language restrictions. Self-tutoring wasn’t an efficient way to answer the ‘what if’ and ‘how do I’ questions that were plentiful. Around that time, Janet de Boos headed a Distance Ceramics Diploma program that proved perfect for my needs. We were required to attend classes on-campus twice a year for ten days, and I remember boarding the return flight from Canberra to Bangkok at the end of each semester with gratitude because this course justified every kilometer that I travelled for it.
Where Does the Fire Go When the Fire Goes Out? Objects of Contemplation, 1 ½ in. (4 cm) in height, Southern Ice porcelain ‘butter lamps,’ plaster intaglio, woodblock printing, copperplate etching, silk-screen tissue, laser transfers, water soluble salts, 2007.
|Stacy Jo Scott
University of Oregon
Instructors: Tom Rohr and Sana Krusoe
While I began college immediately after high school, I took time off in the middle to run a teaching and production ceramic studio at a retreat center. This allowed me the opportunity to explore the full range of ceramic processes and to gain experience in running a studio. After college, I plan to continue to maintain a studio, either through residencies or apprenticeships, where I will be able to further push my work in preparation for entering graduate school.
TopoMind, 24 in. (61 cm) in width, solid earhenware blocks, majolica, incised drawings, laser-cut stencils, slips, stains, 2008.
The Ohio State University
Instructors: Mary Jo Bole, Rebecca Harvey and Steve Thurston
I was initially drawn to OSU because of my family history. My grandfather and several aunts and uncles are Ohio State alumni, so it was natural for me to follow in their footsteps. The facilities, faculty and ceramic history at OSU were also deciding factors in my choice. Upon graduation, I plan on continuing to make work and expanding my portfolio while researching graduate schools with the hopes of attending next fall.
Grater, 32 in. (81 cm) in height, stoneware, silver platter, 2007.
Alberta College of Art and Design
Instructors: Greg Payce and Katrina Chaytor
Handmade pottery celebrates the simple activities of daily life. The forms are known and familiar, they are reinventions of objects that have been made to serve basic human necessities for thousands of years. Dishes make their way into our personal living spaces and become witnesses to the conversations, routines and experiences that occur there. Our most mundane daily routines have the capability to reveal the sensual potential of existence. Rather than a focus on speed, efficiency and homogenization, hand making as a method of manufacture in modern industrialized society is a social and political action valuing sustainability and embodiment.
Individual Serving Dish, 9 ½ in. (24 cm) in height, slips, stains, glazes, soda fired to cone 10, 2008.