Thanks to Leah Leitson and her students for a really wonderful Clay Club at Warren Wilson College!
Leah led a discussion based on several questions that her students proposed. A number of clubbers shared their experience and advice on making a living as a potter/ceramic artist. Leah told us about Warren Wilson College, including the history of the college and the ceramics program in particular. Leah has been teaching at Warren Wilson for 17 years. Under her leadership, students have the opportunity to participate in a ceramics-focused study abroad program at La Meridiana in Italy every other year. She also talked about how students participate in campus work crews and community service in addition to academics – she described it as Penland with academics, and it was easy to see that comparison.
Leah also told us about the college's new Critical Craft Studies graduate program. Here's a little about the program from the college's website:
Craft has received an unprecedented level of academic attention during the past two decades. This burst in scholarship, historical study, theoretical investigation, and curatorial attention connects to parallel interest in material, labor, and cultural practices in the visual arts.
The MA in Critical Craft Studies is the first program in the U.S. to focus its curriculum on craft history and theory, and brings together a rotating faculty from multiple disciplines and varied cultural and global locations to broaden understanding of craft as a field of study.
Students will investigate research methods from archives to oral histories, public modes of presenting craft from street fairs to museum exhibitions, forms of writing in the field from exhibition reviews to academic journal articles, and alternative forms of documenting and communicating history, such as podcasts, symposia, online platforms, and curricular development. The program challenges the boundaries of craft and spans media specific work to craft-like contemporary art, folk art to artisanal explorations. Research as an applied practice is the principle that will connect students’ project work in the Swannanoa/Asheville area to that in their own hometowns, offering training in primary and secondary source analysis and experience while studying and shaping a new field.
At the end of the evening, Leah gave us a tour of the facilities, including the studio and kiln pad (where a gas kiln firing was in progress), as well as Holden Art Center where the exhibit “Drawing Discourse” is currently on display. Here's a little about the exhibit from the college's website:
The Elizabeth Holden Gallery at Warren Wilson College is hosting UNC Asheville’s juried international exhibition, Drawing Discourse. The exhibition features 44 works of contemporary drawing selected from among more than 1,000 submissions by more than 300 artists in five nations. The exhibit opens with special events on Jan. 17-18, featuring renowned artists including juror William Beckman.
Also on display in Holden Art Center is the exhibit "Failed: A Senior Showcase" – I've included one photo of a ceramic piece (and artist narrative) from this exhibit but definitely recommend checking out both exhibits if you have the opportunity.
March Clay Club will be at Haywood Community College on Wednesday, March 11th from 5-7 pm (note the change from our usual meeting time). We'll have the opportunity to see "HCC Clay in Retrospect" – an exhibition featuring the work of 20 artists from the college’s 46 years of clay programming. (Leah's work is included in this exhibit; click this link to see a photo: https://ncclayclub.blogspot.com/2020/01/hcc-clay-in-retrospect-ceramic-art.html). Look for more details closer to the date.
Thanks again to Leah and her students, and to everyone who came!
February Clay Club will be at Warren Wilson College this Wednesday, February 12th, from 5:30-7:30 pm (note that the time is different from our usual schedule). Thanks again to Leah Leitson and everyone at Warren Wilson for hosting us!
Carpooling update: we've got a carpool going from Spruce Pine and Susan Whitington is interested in carpooling from Burnsville. If you’re interested in carpooling from either of these places, let me know. If you're interested in carpooling from anywhere else, you can let me know or leave a comment on that same blog post or on this facebook post.
On March 4 Matt Repsher will be giving a one-day demonstration workshop on the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN. The event is free and open to the public. Mark your calendars!
Joey Sheehan shared information about Woodfire NC 2020 - EnVision, happening this May in Star, NC with pre-conference events in the WNC mountains and in Seagrove. Joey especially wanted to encourage registration in the Mountain PreHeat - he says it is a great way to participate in wood firing in several kilns and the price is incredibly low. Learn more about the NC Mountains Pre-Conference here: http://www.woodfirenc.com/nc-mountains-preconference/
More about the conference and pre-conference events from the eventbrite page:
Woodfire NC 2020 - EnVision is an International Woodfire Conference at STARworks in Star, N.C. It is a collaboration between STARworks, the North Carolina Pottery Center, and the woodfire potters of North Carolina. The conference will be preceded by several firing workshops across the state.
Main Conference: May 28 - 31
The main conference includes a series of interviewers, panelists, lecturers and demonstrations that will explore all aspects of wood firing, beginning with a lively discussion of "Why Woodfire." An examination of the role clay has in the woodfire practice and other topics, including community, sculpture, glaze, kiln design and marketing will follow. Plenary lectures and keynote addresses from some of the field's most noted thinkers, as well as simultaneous demonstrations featuring sculptors and functional pottery makers will be interspersed throughout the proceedings. There will be an opening reception at the NC Pottery Center, May 28, 5pm.
NC Mountains Pre-Conference: May 21 - 27
Seven days filled with firings, exhibitions, demonstrations, studio tours, feasts, parties, music and the tango, featuring guest artists Neill Hoffmann, Henry Crissman and James Kasper. Participants will experience an array of different firing styles and see their own work fired with a variety of unique effects. Five kilns, each with a distinct style, will be fired at two kiln sites, featuring firings with Josh Copus and Joey Sheehan. The Penland Tour includes Michael Hunt, Naomi Dalglish, Courtney Martin and Shane Mickey. The Kiln South Tour includes David Vorhees, Dan Magie and Andrew Stephenson.
Seagrove Pre-Conference: May 23 - 27
Five days of exhibitions, pottery tours, wood kiln firings, special evening events and opportunities to participate in firing shifts, featuring guest artists Ken Matsuzaki, Randy Johnston, Chris Gustin, John Neely and Jari Vesterinen. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute pots to three of sx kilns being fired, including firings with Ben Owen III, Anne Pärtna, Fred Johnston, Michael and Levi Mahan, Sid and Matt Luck, and Takuro and Hitomi Shibata. Participants are welcome to visit all firings, but will only be allowed to put pots in three firings unless otherwise notified.
For more information, visit www.WoodfireNC.com. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (910) 428-9001.
February Clay Club will be at Warren Wilson College on Wednesday, February 12th from 5:30-7:30 pm (note that the time is different from our usual schedule). Thanks to Leah Leitson and everyone at Warren Wilson for hosting us!
Leah will give us a tour of the facilities and an overview of the program at Warren Wilson and we'll have a discussion with Leah's students. Some questions to think about to get the discussion started:
• How did you get started as a potter/ceramic artist?
• What do you do that makes your work unique to you?
• If you make a living at being a potter/ceramic artist, what is that like?
• What advice would you give to someone interested in making a living at it?
Leah will also set up a wheel for a demo for anyone interested in giving one.
We’ll have our usual potluck, so bring food to share. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed, so please bring drink to share, just nothing alcoholic.
Directions from Leah:
• Take exit 55 off of I 40, turn left and then turn rt. onto highway 70.
• At the stoplight, Shell gas station is on left at the light, turn left onto Warren Wilson Rd.
• Pass Silo on right and then count four driveways on the right, including the first one which is the service drive.
• Turn Rt. into the 4th driveway, just past Kitteridge Theatre, cinderblock bldg. on Right.
• The ceramic studio is the middle bldg. of three, called 3D Studio.
• Feel free to stop anyone to ask where the 3D Studio- Ceramics is.
• I will have my cell phone on just in case anyone is lost, 828-230-7676
Carpooling: Claudia Green, John Britt and I are planning on carpooling from Mitchell County – let us know if you want to join us. If you’re interested in carpooling from anywhere else, leave a comment here on this blog post or on this facebook post. You can also let me know and I will put folks in touch.
Don’t Know, We’ll See: The Work of Karen Karnes – Film Screening
Thursday, February 6th, 7pm
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
120 College Street in downtown Asheville
This documentary by award-winning filmmaker Lucy Massie Phenix is an intimate study of the work and life of master clay artist, Karen Karnes. It takes the viewer into her creative process, into the evolution of a single sculptural piece, and into Karnes’ body of work of over 60 years.
FREE for BMCM+AC members + students w/ID / $8 non-members
Clay Club meets at artist studios and other locations throughout Western North Carolina, usually on the second Wednesday of the month. All potters and ceramic artists are welcome! Look for details about the meetings here on the blog or contact Amy Waller at email@example.com for more info.