As an artist, it is always special when you are able to work with fellow artists that you admire. It is even more special as an educator to share with others your appreciation for a particular artist. As the manager of education at Pewabic, I have started Pewabic’s very own “Visiting Artist Series” to highlight working artists making significant contributions with their practice.

The artists in this series were chosen because of their fresh approaches to clay. They include Emily Duke, College For Creative Studies (CCS) graduate and Ceramic Monthly’s 2013 Emerging Artist; Israel Davis, assistant professor of Sculptural and Functional art at Kendall college; and Nathan Tonning, Oxbow resident artist, CCS adjunct and graduate of University of Montana. Each will teach a two-day workshop to share their knowledge of ceramics and personal approach to the craft.

Emily Duke creates objects reminiscent of things found in an industrial yard. What I like most is that her source of inspiration can be applied to both sculptural and functional work. Duke’s workshop will focus on the technique of slab construction with conceptual exploration of the neighborhood elements that surround Pewabic.

Israel Davis combines fantasies of childhood play and toy like objects to blur the boundaries of two and three-dimensions. Davis’ narratives are informed by his unique techniques to create imagery full of depth and freedom of restraint. Workshop participants should expect to learn how to impact surface and form to express their own personal story without being literal – always a challenge!

Finally, Nathan Tonning, a teacher at Pewabic this past winter, uses household found objects as tools in his studio and teaching practice. Not the most traditional of ceramic artists, Nathan will demonstrate how there are alternatives to the usual clay tools. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the everyday ceramic tools Nathan uses because I’m fond of stating that, “my hands are my best tools”, although Nathan is turning me around on the cheap!

The ceramic tradition has always been a laboratory-like compromise between chemistry, engineering, and the visual arts. Ceramicists are crafts persons and use the discipline as a way to explore new possibilities in function, form, aesthetic and the like. Pewabic’s Education Department exists as an educational resource for the ceramic arts. This summer’s visiting artist series is another step in Pewabic’s 110-year commitment to ceramic education. Join us for the newest part of the journey.

Chrys Lewis, Manager of Education

Workshop Schedule

Emily Duke, From the Ground Up: Ceramics and the Urban Landscape
July 11th from 6-9pm and July 12th from 10am-1pm

Israel Davis, Clay Slabs
July 13 and 14 from 10am-4pm

Nathan Tonning, Re-Tooling Clay
July 27 10am-1pm, July 28 12-3pm