The Month in Clay – April 2010

Ah, April, words can’t express how happy I am to see you approaching. This past winter just about did me in. After months of being trapped inside by absurd amounts of snow, I plan to walk everywhere this spring. One of my first stops will be our local gallery hop event because it has been ages since I have been there. If you too are interested in getting out of the house, I encourage you to check out your local art scene.

For today’s Month in Clay post, I am presenting a few clay exhibitions going on around the globe in April. One of my favorite picks is Paul Cummings Terra Cotta Army of Tulips in Derbyshire, England (shown at left). What better way to beat down winter than with an army of tulips! Ha! Take that, winter!

If you are lucky enough to live in proximity to any of these great shows, pick a nice evening and go check them out. If not, you can check the Ceramics Monthly Calendar for a more complete listing. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

P.S. For those of you in the southern hemisphere, I apologize for my gloating about the arrival of spring!

Paris, France
A group exhibition of works made by American artists who live in France is on view through April 17 at the Mona Bismarck Foundation ( in Paris, France. The exhibition features work by Daphne Corregan (shown here), Wayne Fischer, Jeffrey Haines, Jonathan Hammer, Patrick Loughran, Kristin McKirdy, Luisa Maisel, and Wade Saunders.

These eight “agitators” are stirring things up in French ceramics. Familiar with two cultures, they steered clear of the post-Modernism that dominated the French scene in the 1980s. Instead, they drew on their personal experience, their travels and their interest in other art forms to create works grounded in sincerity – which explains why their work is a bit isolated from the mainstream. Whether their style is rigorous or relaxed, whether they lean towards abstract or narrative figural work, all of these artists are experimenting and looking for ways to refresh their imagination in step with the world.

To learn about trends in ceramic sculpture, be sure to download your copy of
Contemporary Clay Sculpture: A Collection of Four of Our Favorite Articles on Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture, which is free to Ceramic Arts Daily Subscribers.


Pitcher, by Deborah Schwartzkopf.Port Chester, New York
The Clay Art Center ( will present NEW WORK, a solo exhibition featuring the colorful utilitarian pottery of emerging Seattle-based clay artist Deborah Schwartzkopf April 10 – May 1, 2010 with an opening reception on Saturday, April 10 from 6-8pm. Additionally, there will be pottery for sale by current Clay Art Center artists in the upstairs Henry’s Project space.The exhibition includes a plethora of whimsical and colorful thrown-and-altered functional forms – everything from pitchers and mugs to complex multi-part vases. About her work, Deborah states, “I find it rewarding and challenging to make pots people will use. In my home growing up, handmade objects held special value and were gestures of consideration and love. I enjoy the community that eating together builds, and I find it meaningful to make beautiful serving vessels. Pots are a place where I can combine abstraction of emotion, personal meaning, and relation to environment. In order to carry this metaphor, I work to create vessels that will live within the kitchen and celebrate life with practical beauty. I build porcelain forms whose defining lines and soft planes are both geometric and sensual. With elegant and animated form, I merge nature’s placement of hue to imply function, trigger associations, and to call for exploration.”
Gallery Images from The Dairy Barn Arts Center’s exhibition, Transcending the Figure curated by Tom Bartel. On view in Athens Ohio through April 25, 2010Athens, Ohio
“Transcending the Figure: Contemporary Ceramics,” and exhibition of figurative ceramics, is on display at The Dairy Barn Arts Center ( through April 25. Curated by Tom Bartel, Assistant Professor of Fine Art at Ohio University, Transcending the Figure will broaden the viewers idea of what the figure can be and features work by 22 renowned ceramic artists from across the country.Artists in the exhibition include Adrian Arleo, Mark Burns, Arthur Gonzalez, Sergei Isupov, Joe Bova, Thaddeus Erdahl, Jason Briggs, Pattie Chalmers (works in foreground of gallery shot shown here), Stan Welsh, Edith Garcia, Margaret Keelan, Benji Schulman, Chuck Aydlett, Wesley Andregg, Cristina Cordova, David Alban, Tanya Batura, Colleen Toledano, Andrea Keys-Connell, Erik Scollon, Hunter Stamps, and Terri Frame.
Paddington, Australia
“Shades of Mass and Form: Ceramics by Gail Nichols,” is on display at Sabbia Gallery ( in Paddington, Australia through April 3. Hurry in to see Nichols’ beautiful soda fired work before the exhibition comes down.”I am becoming increasingly interested in the relationships between mass, form and color,” states Nichols. “The soda vapor glazing process makes an ideal medium for exploring these elements and their effects on each other. The choice of form and its placement in the kiln acts to direct the soda vapor and hence, to create surface color and pattern. I am faced with the question: is it possible to draw with form? In addition, I am intrigued by the relationship between form and mass. My forms result from the manipulation of soft clay. There is an interesting contrast between the movement of a thin wall or slab, and that of a large mass. Some of my works are seemingly stretched like balloons and hence lighter than they appear. Other solid works have an attractive heftiness to them, despite a surface that might imply something lighter.”
Vessel form by Nick Joerling.Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
An exhibition showcasing the work of sixty experienced potters is on view through May 1 at B Square Gallery ( in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A show highlighting one of the most dynamic facets within the field of ceramics, utilitarian pottery; a facet of the ceramic arts that has a deep, rich history and is especially thriving and vibrant today.
Within the clay community we have a strong group of potters who have devoted many years to exploring the wealth of expression available in making utilitarian pottery. There is work that draws on pottery traditions and work breaking new ground. There is work rich with imagery and work with a strong commitment to exploring form and surface. There are traditional forming and glazing methods alongside new technologies. Over the centuries that the art of making pottery has been practiced there have been trends and fads, but making beautiful objects that serve a purpose is a timeless pursuit.All 60 potters represented in this show have at least 25 years of experience working with clay, adding up to 1,895 years of experience; the title is a celebration of that experience.
  • Mofeda M.

    your works is very butfull. thanks

  • Paul C.

    Hi it me Paul Cummins hop you all love wot i have made

  • Nanci M.

    I too, am on the west coast in las vegas and am interested in handbuilding slab structures… working now on outdoor mural and free standing trees… any suggestions, pictures, advice ?

    Thanks, Nanci

  • Jane E.

    Derbyshire is next door to, I’ll certainly pay a visit to see Paul Cumming’s work (with partner, child and choc lab in tow)! and look forward to spring flowers captured forever in ceramic.

  • Victoria British Columbia in Canada has a great winter, and a flowerful spring that begins in mid-February. Just saying.

  • Minnesota’s got a great underground scene.

  • Marguerite S.

    I think the east coast is a lot more active. I wanted to go to Atlanta, but it’s too far. Am I missing things on the west coast? ( I went to Minn.) I see there is a porcelin coming, but I’m interested in handbuilding.

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