Ceramics News

Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012 by Jim Norrena

The next time you butter your bread or pinch some salt or add crème fraîche to your coffee while dining at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, the world-renowned eatery known for using local, organic foods and credited as the inspiration for the style of cooking known as California cuisine, you'll likely be holding a piece of art made by CCA ceramicist Travis McFlynn (Sculpture 2013).

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Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 by Erin Wheeler

On December 15 and 16, four CCA students and one recent alumna will showcase and sell their work at the 4th Annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market in San Francisco.

Inspired by the students who took part in the American Craft Council exhibition and the CCA coursework linking craft to entrepreneurship, CCA’s Career Development Office offered students a free shared booth.

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Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

(photo by Zach McCaffree)

A year ago Derek Weisberg (Ceramics 2005) moved to New York to take a full-time job at Greenwich House Pottery, where he is a studio technician and teacher. His art has been included in recent exhibitions at POW WOW Hawaii in Honolulu, the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, and Greenwich House Pottery.

Having recently returned from completing the Fountainhead Residency in Miami, he took a moment to give us the scoop on his current projects, life after graduation, and exactly how many jobs you should expect to work when you call yourself a full-time artist!

(Derek Weisberg on Flickr)

What is Greenwich House, and what exactly is your job there?

My job involves teaching a hand-building sculpture class and helping the ceramic studio function smoothly and properly. Greenwich House was founded in 1902 as a settlement house to help New York's immigrant population adjust to life in the U.S. Today they have various programs in social services, arts, and education that are open to the public.

What are you working on now in your personal work?

One current project is a group of canopic jars. The idea comes from ancient Egyptian burial practices and beliefs about the afterlife. I am taking this very old ritual and bringing it into the present by replacing the gods with portraits of rappers who have passed away. This series tests my "chops" as a sculptor, and deals with themes I am interested in such as life, death, the afterlife. It is also about a culture I have been involved in almost my whole life.

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Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012 by Ace Lehner

From August 3 to 5, approximately 30 students will present their work at CCA's "School to Market" booth at the American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

With more than 230 of the top contemporary jewelry, clothing, furniture, and home-decor artists from across the country, this is the largest juried craft show west of the Rockies, providing an unparalleled opportunity for students to exhibit their fine art and functional craft works in a high-profile venue.

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Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 by Allison Byers

East Bay ceramicist Brük Dunbar explores ecological catastrophe of the Southwest in her new show.

A few years ago, when East Bay ceramic sculptor Brük Dunbar was on a trip with her mother through her homeland, deep in the badlands of New Mexico near El Malpais National Monument, she encountered a sheepherder. "This guy was totally off the grid — well, there is no grid out there," Dunbar recalled. "We met him standing under a sign that read, 'I'm an attorney. Were you a miner in the 1960s? I can help you.' The whole place is ruined by uranium mining!"

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Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Ceramics and the Human Figure
A&C Black, 2012
Paperback, 176 pages, $40

Edith Garcia (MFA 2004) is a ceramic sculptor and researcher. Her work has been exhibited throughout North America, Mexico, and Europe, and is included in the permanent Sculpture Garden of the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana, and other public and private collections across the USA and UK. She authored this book of profiles on an international range of ceramic artists, all practicing within the fields of installation and sculpture. Divided by broad themes, each chapter explores a variety of different expressive works. The book explores the role of figurative ceramics through history and in contemporary contexts. It also reveals the methods of six key artists, using how-to images to illustrate their techniques.

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Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer

Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat

On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.

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Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012 by Jim Norrena

Production stills from CCA's newest "drama queens": Candacy Taylor, Greacian Goeke, Susan Sobeloff, and Jennifer Roberts

"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." -- Oscar Wilde

In the last year a growing number of CCA graduates -- each representing a unique program of study -- has tapped into the Bay Area's richly diverse and proliferating performing arts scene to have a full-scale world premiere of their work brought to fruition. Among these impressive alumnae are:

Candacy Taylor (MFA Visual Criticism 2002)

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Posted on Friday, January 27, 2012 by Molly Mitchell

A CCA student greets visitors to the School to Market booth at the 2012 American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason.

California College of the Arts and the American Craft Council have in common a passion for furthering craft education and mentoring young makers.

It’s no surprise that CCA and the ACC have over the past years joined forces to produce a number of programs geared toward the practice and business of making and selling craft.

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Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

When Ceramics professor Arthur Gonzalez was told about his upcoming retrospective at the CU Art Museum at the University of Colorado, Boulder, his first reaction was, "Wow, that's exciting!"

Then, his second thought: "Oh boy, am I really old enough for a retrospective?"

The exhibition will take place in 2015. "By the time the show opens, I'll be 60. We're planning it so far out because we have to locate a lot of the work. My pieces are spread across collections in the United States, Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Canada, Belgium, and Australia. It'll be a kind of detective-investigation situation. Each piece has its own history -- its provenance -- and some have changed hands two or three times. And then when I find out who owns an artwork, I have to ask them if they'd be willing to part with it for a while. A retrospective tells a story; you've got to have a beginning, a middle, and an end . . . although hopefully I've got a couple more decades to go before it's really The End!"

Gonzalez grew up in a rural neighborhood outside Sacramento. His mother was a seamstress, and his father was a carpenter. Both came from large families; his mother was one of seven, and his father was one of 23 (!) children born to a Nebraska sharecropper. "Since they both worked, I had to find ways as a child to keep myself occupied. I always loved to draw -- I can't remember a time when I didn't draw. My father was literally a Sunday painter. He would do an oil painting at the kitchen table on the weekends. One day, my mom enrolled herself and my dad in a night class in oil painting. He liked to paint, but only having a third-grade education, he was intimidated by the idea of doing it in a school-type situation. So I went with my mother in his place. I was seven years old. I still have a painting that I made in that class. Also, my uncle worked for the state printing plant and would bring home books that were stitched together, with no images, and they'd be my sketchbooks. I'd go through them like water, filling every corner with drawings and cartoons."

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