Jacob Meudt, a student in ceramics at KCAI, began a trip abroad last summer with George Timock and seven other students. Little did he know that this study abroad trip would expand from a 36 day endeavor to a six (?) month adventure across the eastern world. While on the annual trip to the International Ceramics Studio (ICS) in Kecskemet, Hungary, Jacob was able to meet and spend time with the renowned porcelain artist, Ilona Romule. Ilsona works at the ICS each summer to create molds and work with the famous Hungarian porcelain. Jacob was invited to join her at a 2 month residency at Gaochun Ceramics in Nanjing City, China. A great opportunity, Jacob agreed, and they left Hungary a month before the residency to travel other areas of China. Starting in Beijing, they visited many monuments, museums, and ceramic villages. They stopped in Jingdezhen, where Paul Donnelly has planned his faculty led study abroad trip with Jan Kennedy, and saw the Clay Studio and Kiln museum, as well as a community outside the city using kaolin they mined and pounded out themselves. After the residency, the pair traveled down to southeast Asia, through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, before returning to China and, for Jacob, back home to the US. Jacob recalled many of the amazing experiences he had throughout the trip: He mentioned that one of the biggest inspirations he found for his work was in the caves in Vietnam, and was amazed at the different techniques used in China to create ceramic and porcelain works. Explaining the vast amount of educational experiences, he stated that anyone who has the chance to explore a new culture should take it and run with it. You never know what an adventure might yield in terms of influence, inspiration, and life altering experiences.
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Recently, the ceramics department welcomed another guest: ceramic artist A. Blair Clemo. His work is made with a combination of wheel thrown and press molded elements, which speak to the utilitarian use of ceramics, its history, and questions the value of hand made works versus industrialized serial production.
Blair visited the department on Thursday, February 19th, for an inspiring round of critiques with a selection of junior and senior student. Friday morning the department enjoyed an informational demo from Blair about how he makes his work. He produced two jars, a teapot, and a cup in just over three hours! After the studio’s lunch break, Blair gave a presentation about his practice, current work, and recent travels to students and local professionals: ending his visit with a fantastic question and answer session that left us all ready to jump into our work head on!
Its the spring semester again, and seniors are preparing to give the annual presentations over their work from their time here at KCAI. This year we have the pleasure of welcoming Margaret Kinkeade to assist the seniors with their preparation. Margaret received her BFA in printmaking from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK, and recently received her MFA in ceramics from Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. Her work contains, “impressions of time, trace, and memory explored through the use of clay and the object as vessel,” and as a maker she uses clay, “which has a memory all its own, to create objects that while referencing everyday objects are imbued with specific memories that live within each of us.” (Quote from Margaret’s Artist statement, found on http://www.margaretkinkeade.com/#!about/c66t). She has already begun her work with the seniors, who will be giving their presentations on March 11th and March 13th. Here’s good luck to these hard working students, and many thanks to Margaret for seeing them through this project!
Lauren Mabry, alumni of KCAI ceramics and recipient of an MFA from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, was in town the weekend of the 6th for her show opening at the Belger Crane Yard Gallery entitled “Passages.” Currently working and living in Philadelphia, PA, as a long term resident artist at The Clay Studio, her work is very process oriented. The cylindrical and curved forms she creates act as canvases for her abstract glaze paintings. Her glazes flow and undulate in a seductive dance across the forms, while traces of the processes provide a tension between beauty and grime. She lectured here at KCAI on the 6th, passing on her experiences with current KCAI ceramics majors. That evening her show opened with an excellent turnout, and even more excellent work. Thank you Lauren!
While Cary Esser, professor and chair of ceramics, is on her sabbatical at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena Montana, we have the pleasure of welcoming back Casey Whittier as her sabbatical replacement! Casey graduated from KCAI in 2008 with her BFA and a concentration in ceramics, and in 2011 received her MFA in ceramics at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO. She has exhibited work at venues such as the LUX Center for the Arts in Lincoln, NE, as well as the Vulpes Bastille and the Belger Arts Center here in Kansas City, MO. In the fall semester she had joined us as an adjunct professor, teaching a course entitled This is Place (more information on this course in this post: ), and has performed as and adjunct at many other institutions. Her work “explores the intersections between nature and imagination, desire and destruction and the overriding issue of mortality. Through intimate sculptures and large-scale installations, her work often addresses issues of scale and space in relationship to the human body,” (quote from http://www.kcai.edu). We are lucky to have her working with students from the junior and senior classes this spring.
The weather is still cold, but winter break is over and the ceramics department here at KCAI is back in swing! Seniors are preparing to finish strong with the 2015 BFA exhibition at H&R Block Space and 2015 Spring Exhibition for the department. George Timock is back from sabbatical and Cary Esser is now enjoying her’s, working up at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. George Timock is serving as the department chair in her absence. Be sure to keep up with us as we finish out another productive year here at KCAI!
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