Ceramics

The Role of an Artist and Teacher

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MullerA great strength of Hood College lies in its faculty. With professors who are knowledgeable and experienced in their fields, students get more than just basic information. One such accomplished professor is Kristin Müller, adjunct instructor in the Ceramics program. Müller has lived around the globe, worked as a professor and a curator, helped start a group that works to promote craft schools, and is the author of several books. A Master of Fine Arts graduate from Hood in 2014, she became an instructor after graduation. As she explains, “I thoroughly enjoy my teaching at Hood because the students are committed, intelligent and talented and the new facilities are world class”.

Müller was born in Panama and moved back and forth between the United States, Argentina, and Chile. After completing high school in Chile and Connecticut, she got her undergraduate degree in studio arts from Southern Connecticut State University, where one of her professors, Ruth Crespi, was a Hood alumna. Crespi introduced her Joyce Michaud, who had just developed the Hood Ceramics program from a certificate program to the MFA. Müller was able to complete the MFA while working several jobs as a single mother.

As an instructor, Müller explains her philosophy as “(being) committed to nurturing every student’s potential…The most rewarding is helping individuals to connect their own specific human experience to their work, beyond the body knowledge they develop through the process of making works in clay. I have a deep interest in facilitating people to connect to their ‘inner voice’ as it relates to our greater human experience, to develop their body of work while developing their critical thinking”

Müller specializes in wood fired ceramics and maintains a studio with an Anagama hybrid kiln in Pennsylvania. She exhibits her work nationally and is the Executive Director of Peters Valley School of Craft in Layton, New Jersey. Prior to her tenure at Peters Valley she taught ceramics at two colleges, was education director of Brookfield Craft Center and also served as curator and ceramics instructor of the Bignell Exhibition Gallery. Kristin is also a writer who contributes to ceramics and fine craft publications and blogs. She authored “The Potter’s Studio Handbook: A Guide to Hand Built and Wheel-Thrown Ceramics” (2007) and is co-author of both “The Potter’s Complete Studio Handbook: The Essential, Start-to-Finish Guide for Ceramic Artists” with Jeff Zamek (2011), and most recently “Making Good: An Inspirational Guide to Being an Artist Craftsman,” with Hood Studio Arts Manager Jacklyn Scott and Tommy Simpson

. We are proud to have such an experienced instructor in our program!

 

A Hood Legacy

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scottFor Jackie Scott, coming to Hood College for her MFA in Ceramics was following a family tradition.  “My mother is a Hood alum and I was aware of the amazing education and facilities here. I knew that Joyce Michaud had a strong program and that she could teach me technical skills that others could not.” Jackie’s mother got her MFA from Hood in 2014 and Jackie is currently working on her own degree, which included a personal exhibition at Hood last summer. She also works as the school’s Studio Arts Manager.

 

Growing up, Jackie volunteered at a craft school in exchange for classes and has since worked in sculpture, printmaking, glass, wood, metal, and clay. She earned her B.A. in Studio Arts from Temple University in 2014, and shares a studio with her mother, who provides lots of “consistent feedback”.  scott work

 

Jackie praises the Hood community, where “students are motivated and excited about learning.” She appreciates how students work together and share information, leading to great discussions and practical applications. As a Hood student, she is grateful for important experiences, such as getting to attend the National Clay Conference yearly, building a ceramic 3D printer and working with artists from around the world.

 

More Than Just Molding Clay!

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Participants in Hood College’s Graduate Ceramics Arts programs have several degree options, but all students are working with both theory and practice in ceramics. Whether they are working towards a Ceramic Arts Certificate, Masters of Arts (M.A.), or Masters of Fine Arts (MFA), students develop their own style and point of view. Several exhibited over the summer, each showing different techniques.

IMG_0196 smallJanet Greer earned an M.A. this summer, and created an exhibition called “Mudpies and Monsters”. A grandmother, Greer chose to feature ideas from her imagination and from the work of six of her grandchildren. She created both functional and decorative pieces using mostly porcelain clay in electric, wood, soda, and Raku firings.

IMG_0250 small“Surviving Fire” by Ryan McGlone showed ceramic canteens faced with images of war. An art teacher who works with disabled children, McGlone chose to “show the survival and emotion of war in the mind, heart, and soul” in this exhibition, moving to a more serious and emotional perspective.

MFA recipient Joseph Delphia’s exhibition was titled “A Tactile Vision.” Joe is a functional artist and ceramics teacher who “hopes that his pots become objects that spend more time in a hand than on a shelf”. His work is fired in a wood-burning kiln, which creates color and texture through marks of the ash and flame.

Dawn Lovell’s exhibition was titled “Glazes, You Rock!”. As the title suggests, Lovell used a variety of glazes to create pieces with different textures and colors to show a variety of natural-looking works.

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Ceramics Program Intensive Summer Seminars

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Hood College Ceramics students haven’t just been relaxing this summer! They have had the option of taking several short but intensive seminar classes. Two of these 5-day classes included Throwing Large Forms (ARTS 509) and Salt/Soda Surfaces and Firing (ARTS 599MM).

Taught by visiting artist Kevin Crowe, Throwing Large Farms explored creating large-scale pots using “method…not machismo”, as explained by the instructor. Requiring throwing skills, imagination, and sense of humor, participants were able to explore using techniques to create pieces on a grand scale!

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Salt/Soda Surfaces and Firing, taught by visiting artist Cathi Jefferson, gave students the uncommon opportunity to explore ways to create variations in the surfaces and firing of their work using these techniques. Experimenting, they were able to create beautiful effects in a variety of ways!    

Photographs by Steven Luttrell and Emily Bernstein

Outstanding Student- Ceramic Arts

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i-ZhsxXcR-L Janet is a member of the Potters Guild of Frederick and sells her work
in their Frederick Gallery. A notable Frederick artist, she exemplifies what it means to be a successful ceramic artist. She has explored form and image transfer with a variety of firing methods including electric, gas reduction, soda, wood and raku. Although her emphasis at this time is wheel thrown, functional pottery, she continues to explore new methods and techniques that enable many possibilities.  As she explores new directions in her personal work, Janet demonstrates proficiency and caring in working with students. She is always available in the studio or the kiln yard to assist any student who is struggling. She maintains the glaze lab, mixing glazes in advance of need and providing current samples of glaze interactions. She loads, fires and unloads kilns, always open to questions and sharing information. She works to perfect her skills in order to share the knowledge.

ARTS 507- Plates and Platters

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One of the course offerings from the Hood College Ceramic Arts graduate program is entitled Plates and Platters. The college catalog states “Plates and Platters is an in-depth study of the throwing and finishing of plates and large platters, including structural strength concepts for low open forms, methods for centering, a variety of throwing techniques, information on trimming, finishing, firing and composition.”

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Plates and platters are a difficult form to create successfully, with many problems showing up in the final firing. Students learn to use a variety of procedures for throwing, shaping and trimming plates, platters and low open forms, with specific emphasis on problem solving and aesthetics. The focus of the one credit class is skill building and problem solving, which resulted in the creation of beautiful forms, which now line the shelves in the wheel studio.

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Spring 2017 saw thirteen students enroll in the course with instructor Kristin Muller, an MFA graduate of Hood. Kristin is a wood fire potter who well versed in the creation of platters that survive wood fire.

One of the participants, Jafar Alhamar, expressed his desire to learn to create large platters due to the tradition of meals served from a large platter in the center of the table in his home country, Kuwait. Proof of his success in the class is the large platter he created.

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Professor Muller adds, “It is always a pleasure to teach such a dedicated and focused group of students.  The keys to successful skill building are developing excellent basic core skills through repetition upon which more advanced skills can developed.  The program at Hood has clearly articulated techniques and concepts coupled with high-level design principles that are the foundation for every course. This allows students to build their skills incrementally and instructors to point out specific areas for improvement. The immersive 3-day course format facilitates this growth to happen rather quickly because everyone is focused for several days at a time.  It was a joy to see so many examples of their success!”

Donor Gives $30,000 to Ceramic Arts Graduate Scholarship

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Matthew Gaddie, Tea Bowls, MFA ‘16

Matthew Gaddie, Tea Bowls, MFA ‘16

Fleur Bresler, a long-time collector and supporter of the arts, recently made a generous contribution of $30, 000 to Hood College’s Ceramic Arts and Technology Graduate Scholarship, launched to attract talented students to the school’s Master of Fine Arts program.  One $10,000 award will be made for each of the next three years, which will enable one new MFA candidate to fund their first year of full-time enrollment.

The application deadline is July 15, 2017 and the recipient will be announced at the end of July.  To qualify for this award, applicants must be accepted as a full time MFA candidate, submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to Hood’s Office of  Financial Aid.

For a scholarship application or information on the MFA program, contact the Hood College Graduate School at 301-696-3600 or gofurther@hood.edu.

Hood College Ceramic Arts students join with collectors in campus art exhibition

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Graduate students in Hood College’s ceramic arts programs recently participated in a campus exhibition, “Collectors’ Voices in Ceramic Art: A Leading Edge Exhibition.”  The students were enrolled in ARTS 543, History of Ceramic Arts and completed the exhibition as part of the class.  Students were paired with a regional art collector to research and present on collected ceramic artwork.

Professor Joyce Michaud, Hood’s Program Director for Ceramic Arts, had this to say about the exhibition.

How did you decide to stage this exhibition? 

Eric Serritella Tea potMarc Grainer, a member of our advisory proposed the exhibition and the advisory council voted in favor of its staging. The exhibition and the accompanying lectures are a part of our yearlong colloquium and is sponsored by the Humanities Council and Ceramic Arts Program.  ARTS 543 places special emphasis on broadening the knowledge and experience of students through personal involvement in researching and encountering historic work.  This exhibition brought together a breadth of ceramic history, especially in the up close and personal experience provided by our collectors, who welcomed students into their homes to talk about their collections and the motivations behind their collecting.  These people have knowledge and passion for ceramics, both contemporary and historic.

 

 

How did you decide on which pieces to display? 

Jenna Gianni, Director of the Galleries, and I, along with members of the advisory council, visited collector’s homes.  The collectors then honed in on a unique piece that they were willing to loan to Hood College for the month long exhibition.

How did the collections in this exhibition differ from the works showcased at prior exhibitions? 

The value of this exhibition was extremely high.  Being able to see these pieces in the beautiful Hood College Whitaker Gallery was a real treat.  The intermingling of historic and contemporary work in one gallery/exhibition was a rare experience.  The ages intermingling provided an eclectic conversation both human and ceramic.

What were the high points of the exhibition?

Collector and former Advisory Council member David Rehfuss wrote to a friend after attending the exhibition opening reception.  “I visited the Hood College Collectors Voices in Ceramic Arts: A Leading Edge Exhibition yesterday and was impressed. The array and diversity of the 22 ceramics there made for good viewing and good conversation between the visitors”.

 

What were the outcomes for the students that participated in this exhibition?

The students were exposed to a wide range of historic and contemporary ceramic art to which many had not yet been exposed.  Additionally, they developed personal relationships with the collectors, learning more about building and maintaining a collection, as well as the periods in the history of ceramic art with an emphasis on how ceramic arts fit into the contemporary art world.

Also, the students were brought into the real world of their own passions and career choices that may rely on the collectors to provide and support, including primary research and integrating the history of the work, the stories of the collecting, and the legacy that will last beyond the collectors themselves.

Are there plans to hold a similar exhibition soon? 

The 2018-2019 gallery calendar offers great opportunities for another exciting exhibition and the conversations have already begun!

Hood College Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics candidate featured in campus exhibition

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PR PicMeg Lau is a Hood College Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics candidate who will be exhibiting on campus this April as part of her thesis.  “The Past is Present” will run from April 12 to 30 at the Whitaker Campus Center Gallery. Meg will also present a gallery talk and host an opening reception scheduled April 14from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The on display at the exhibition include large smoke fired urns ranging from sixteen to thirty-two inches tall and smaller urn forms ranging from six to twelve inches, all created for the containment of personal and communal memories of loved ones. They all have the physical potential to contain relics, memorabilia, or cremation ashes for one or more family members.  The urns celebrate the past and, will be cherished in the future. The exhibition speaks to the history of ceramics and the relationships that have existed between women, family, spirituality and the vessel. The urns in this exhibit represent life, both past and present.

Meg shares her Hood experience with us below.

Background

Meg is from Strasburg, Pennsylvania and teaches high school ceramics in the Lampeter-Strasburg School District.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Millersville University and her Master’s in Art Education from Kutztown University. She will complete her Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramic Arts this spring at Hood.

Hood College experience

My experience at Hood has been amazing.  The MFA Ceramic Arts program is very holistic, as it offers students a very strong foundation for technique, aesthetics, history, critical analysis, as well as marketing strategies for the artist.  Additionally, this program has allowed me to meet other artists/students from all over the country.  We have been able to work with one another collaboratively using Hood’s fabulous facilities.

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Impact of the MFA program on your career

As a teacher I have had the opportunity to bring to my students everything that this program has given to me. Professor Joyce Michaud and all of the teachers at Hood have modeled such dedication to their students, which has allowed me to bring an abundant amount of technical, historical and critical knowledge directly back to my classroom.

Sources of inspiration

I am inspired by the history of ceramics as well as by my family.

Hood college graduate school students featured in ceramic arts exhibit

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Students from Hood College Graduate School programs in ceramic arts are featured in an exhibit on campus.

“Collectors’ Voices in Ceramic Art: A Leading Edge Exhibition,” runs from March 2-April 2 in the Whitaker Campus Center Gallery. Collectors have loaned pieces of their personal collections to Hood for a show that features historical and contemporary ceramics from 19 major regional collectors, many affiliated with the James Renwick Alliance, a nonprofit organization that celebrates America’s craft artists. The pieces are from around the globe.

Ceramic arts graduate students were paired with a collector and researched the collected ceramic artwork and interviewed the collectors, researching the history of the work and the stories surrounding the acquisition of the pieces. During the exhibition, two presentations, “History and Legacy: A Conversation with Collectors,” will feature the students and the collectors as they present their research. The presentations will take place March 11 and March 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Whitaker Campus Center Commons.

The Whitaker Gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The opening reception is March 5 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Whitaker Commons. The project is co-sponsored by the Hood College Humanities Council’s 2016-17 NEH colloquium series, “Narrative at the Edge of the World,” and the Ceramic Arts graduate program. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jenna Gianni at gianni@hood.edu or 301-696-3285.