Ceramics News

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!"

Posted on Sunday, June 17, 2012 by Em Meine

Who's got the ugliest cup in America?


This project was a national search performed by Michael Swaine’s Intro to Ceramics: Journey to the Center of the Earth
course to find the ugliest cup ever made.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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."

Posted on Thursday, December 1, 2011 by Jim Norrena

This is the second installment in a series of artist profiles that depict CCA's connection to the Oakland Art Murmur -- in particular to 25th Street in downtown Oakland, where in almost any given gallery, shop, or studio, artists from California College of the Arts are making their living in the arts. Collectively, they are changing the cultural landscape of Oakland, elevating its reputation as one of today’s most talked-about art scenes.

About the Oakland Art Murmur

"If you craft it, they will come." That’s the going mantra in downtown Oakland, the heart of the East Bay’s newly exploding art scene. The recent surge in the city’s contribution to the wider Bay Area’s cultural arts scene is attributed, in large part, to the hipster-driven, Dionysian celebration known as the Oakland Art Murmur, a monthly nighttime gathering of art enthusiasts of all ages . . . and those who love them.

Posted on Saturday, November 26, 2011 by Molly Mitchell

Joe Kowalczyk (BFA 2009) is a cofounder of FM gallery located on 25th Avenue, in the heart of Oakland's Art Murmur.

Visit the websites of the following CCA Ceramics alumni to view their current work and projects as well as read about their past accomplishments and forthcoming adventures.

Where indicated, an CCA spotlight feature has been provided for you to learn how CCA shaped the artist's vision.

Read more Ceramics alumni featurettes »

Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Lisa Mishima and Yvonne Mouser turn food into art at Sam's Movie Night

From painter to pastry chef, ceramicist to wine cellar owner, innovative CCA alumni are shaping creative niches across the world of food and drink.

Twenty people stand around a long butcher-block table. The lights above cast a pale glow on its surface, illuminating the ingredients piled in its recessed trough -- lemons, lettuce, flour, eggplants, bell peppers -- without lighting the faces of the diners. They are here for Hands On, a food-making experience in which they use their hands rather than utensils to create a three-course meal.

"Cooking is very much a form of art," says Lisa Mishima (Graphic Design 2005), who concocted Hands On together with her boss, Randall Stowell of the creative production company Autofuss, and friend Yvonne Mouser (Furniture 2006). "Both cooking and art involve concepting, crafting, and presenting a piece. But there is something about consuming one's creation that feels even more personal, immediate, and honest."

Initially, the guests are nervous, even clumsy. Flour falls to the floor. Slowly, the experimental chefs grow more confident. There are giggles around the room, then nods of approval as the dishes take shape. The menu features Caesar salad, handmade pasta with pesto sauce, and tiramisu. Some diners shape vegetables into utensils and use those instead of spoons or spatulas. Maybe there will be a meal at the end of this.