The Month in Clay: May 2009

Works (such as the bowl above) by Stephen Mickey and his “buds” will be on view in Gresham, Oregon.

Wondering what the clay world is up to for the month of May 2009? Well, we’ve got answers. In this installment of the Month in Clay, we’re presenting a handful of exciting exhibitions, workshops and studio tours from around the globe. Just looking at the beautiful images below should be enough to get those creative juices flowing and tempt you to go out there and see some ceramic work in person. And, as always, if you don’t find anything in your area, you can get the full picture by visiting the Ceramics Monthly calendar. Enjoy! – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


Ann Arbor, Michigan
Works by studio potter John Glick will be on view through May 29 at Clay Gallery (”My glaze room accommodates some sixty glazes, and my process of glazing is a kind of ballet,” states Glick. “I move in and out of the aisles of glaze buckets, then to the wax resist work station, back to the glazes, and finally to the decorative overglaze wash area arrayed with legions of brushes. This spirited, spontaneous dance requires a concentration that energizes me – a kind of focused, moving meditation.
St. Paul, Minnesota
A group exhibition of functional ceramic work by Jason Bohnert, Heather Mae Ericson and Peter Jadoonath and printed monotypes by Jon Neuse is on view May 8- June 14 at The Grand Hand Gallery ( The annual exhibition is held in cooperation with the Minnesota Potters of the Upper St. Croix River Pottery Studio Tour, which takes place May 8-10. For more information on the studio tour, visit Bohnert is especially interested in the vessel forms and rituals of Chinese tea culture, which he studied during extended stays at China’s Jingdezhen Ceramic College. “The exploration of form and surface within the tradition of functional pottery continue to inspire my ceramic art,” he states. “My experiences in nature and my travels have given me endless inspiration.”
South Bend, Indiana
Fire Arts, Inc. is hosting “Thrown and Altered Functional Forms: Finding Your Voice in Clay,” a workshop with master potter Dick Lehman May 16 – 17th. In addition to the workshop, an exhibition of Lehman’s work will be on view from May 10th – June 25 at Fire Arts. Plus, a Meet-and-Greet with the artist, will take place on May 22, from 5-7 pm. For more information, visit

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Phoenix, Arizona
A group exhibition of ceramic artists, organized by Susan Filley, is on view through May 31 at the Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology (”‘Simply Formal’ is unique in its elegance and sophistication,” according to Catherine Nichols, Curatorial Specialist at the museum. “The artists have been thoughtfully selected for the legacy of their work over many years. Their enduring attention to the effect of form in balance with other attributes speaks to their extraordinary understanding of the sense of presence that beautiful form embodies.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
New works by Wietske van Leeuwen is on display through May 16 at Gallery Carla Koch (”Van Leeuwen creates strikingly baroque objects, made up of many small replicas of shells and fruit, reminiscent of curio cabinets, which were in fashion in the 17th century. It was in vogue among the wealthy merchants of that era to collect new types of fruit and shells that were brought back by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) ships, in such cabinets. Van Leeuwen uses shells and fruit to make plaster press moulds, which are then used for producing large quantities of repeated shapes. From these, she creates her objects, always using the pot or dish shape as a basis.
Gresham, Oregon
A group exhibition of wood-fired works by 20 potters who were instrumental in building and creating the firing technique for the the kiln named Soulgama is on viewMa7 1-22 on view at the Mount Hood Community College Visual Arts Gallery ( 20 foot long wood-fueled tunnel kiln was built in 1999 by Mickey, ten students and Donovan Palmquiest of Master Kiln Builders of Minneapolis at Mickey’s home studio in Washington.
Los Angeles, California
“Boolean Valley,” an installation by ceramic artist Adam Silverman and architect Nader Tehrani is on view through July 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (”The exhibition is the first in the museum’s new series of exhibitions, Craft and Computation, which explore the convergence of digital technology and handcraft techniques in contemporary design practice, explains Jessica Youn, Media Contact at MOCA. “Boolean Valley is a sculptural landscape of nearly 400 cut clay objects glazed in cobalt and black with silicon carbide added. It is the result of an extensive collaboration between potter Adam Silverman and architect Nader Tehrani, who met as undergraduate architecture students at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
London, England
New works by Chun Liao will be on display May 9-June 20 at Barrett Marsden Gallery ( Liao’s vessels are generically similar in shape, but never identical. Instead she develops a seemingly limitless range of possibilities through subtle nuances of form, colour and detail. Her aim is ‘… to achieve an intermingling of glaze and clay body … to express the moment of spontaneity of the material, and of the time’.
Frechen, Germany
An exhibition of works by Gilbert Portanier is on display at Keramion ( May 16 – July 26, as part of the Topfermarkt (pottery market) on Frechen’s Rathausplatz (town hall square).Portanier is one of the best-known French ceramic artists in Germany. Initially, Portanier studied architecture and turned to abstract painting. During a visit to Picasso in the ceramic centre of Vallauris in Southern France in 1948 he discovered his fascination for the material clay. Since then, he has been painting his receptacles and objects with colourful, even surrealist drawings and paintings of unbounded imagination and inventiveness.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
New works in porcelain by Dorothy Feibleman are on display May 2 – May 30 at Mobilia Gallery ( Feibleman is an American artist who lives in London and spends part of the year in Japan. Her delicate, intricately patterned ceramic forms only hint at the complex and highly technical work that produces them. Using her own technique of nerikomi, she laminates together porcelain in different colors, or different porcelain bodies, and allows their chemical and structural properties to determine the ultimate design. In these extraordinary translucent forms, surface and structure are one. Feilbleman has also used her deep understanding of clays and other firing processes to develop porcelain and other products for industry. “I am constantly making tests and find understanding my craft and materials exciting and necessary to allow myself mental freedom, similar to improvisation in music and dance. I feel that without good craft skills and material understanding, you cannot be free to create what you want to make.”

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