Thursday, February 13, 2020

Recap: February Clay Club at Warren Wilson College



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.

One thing that came up during the discussion was John Britt's collection of videos, including a number of videos of demos by clubbers. Check them out on his youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/johnbrittpottery/videos (Sarah Wells Rolland's Cut Bowl demo from 2012 – with 98,000+ views! – was mentioned in particular; check that video out here: https://youtu.be/LdijkG0lM5A)

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.


Learn more about the program at the above link and here: https://www.warren-wilson.edu/academics/ma-in-craft/

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.

"Drawing Discourse" is on exhibit until February 21st; read more about it here: https://my.warren-wilson.edu/ICS/Portal_Homepage.jnz?portlet=Blog&screen=View+Post&screenType=next&&Id=13b269d9-6670-4f5c-bff4-4f74d6d22a84

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!












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