Staff Showcase: Kelly Haehl

By Marisa Miller

This post is part of a series of features on various Pewabic employees.

Ceramics is the true passion of Kelly Haehl, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Whether she’s mixing glazes, applying glazes to pottery, painting pottery, or sculpting, she enjoys every aspect of the creative ceramic process.

Haehl attended Michigan State University for studio art. She graduated in 2009 with a BFA concentrated in ceramics and a minor in photography. Haehl learned about Pewabic and its career opportunities for artists when a former professor of hers, who used to work at Pewabic, mentioned it to her. She then started working at Pewabic in September of 2010.

 

Haehl hand painting an Eastern Market Tile, 2016

Presently, Haehl’s official title at Pewabic is Glaze Technician. In this role, she mixes and applies glazes and paints to various pieces of pottery. Haehl also sculpts her own pottery.

“I love glazing different components different colors, it’s really interesting to see how it all comes together,” said Haehl.

Carved slip mugs, 2016

Haehl has a passion for everything about pottery. At Pewabic, this passion is manifested in many different ways, and in everything she does.

“I really like working on architectural stuff,” said Haehl. “It’s really cool to see how all the little pieces build up to make a big installation.”

Assortment of Haehl’s vessels, including her unique glazes.

Outside of Pewabic, Haehl creates items including Michigan mugs, carved ceramic pieces, and works with ceramicist Ryan Lack in creating small ceramic vessels (mostly used as necklaces). Haehl’s personal work can be seen and purchased at art fairs, galleries, and on clayfirewater.com.

Haehl Michigan Mugs and Lack mini vessels glazed and waiting to be fired.
Haehl Michigan Mugs and Lack mini vessels glazed and waiting to be fired.

No matter if she is working inside Pewabic or out, pottery is a passion that has been engrained into Haehl for life.

“Ceramics is a lifelong love of mine,” said Haehl. “I’ll probably always be doing it in some capacity.”

 

Staff Showcase: Neil Laperriere

 

By Marisa Miller

This post is part of a series of features on various Pewabic employees.

A silversmith by trade turned ceramicist, Neil Laperriere has a unique perspective on art and what has led him to where he is today.

Laperriere attended Rochester Institute of Technology in New York to study metal and jewelry design before graduating in 2007.

by Neil Laperriere
Canopic Jar for Church of Philadelphia (Lid Detail), 2005

Though Laperriere still enjoys the craft of silversmithing, he says he does so less and less every day. Having the proper facilities to practice one’s craft is crucial to maintaining a relationship with it, he says, and this is what led him away from metal and toward other forms of art.

“So much of what you can do artistically is contingent on your facilities,” Lapierre said. “[Due to not having proper facilities for working with metal], I did a lot of different 2D art commissions for bands, and I did a lot of collage art and multimedia work.”

by Neil Laperriere
Gemüsemann, 2015

When his former college roommate moved to California to work with his own craft of photography, Laperriere realized he too needed a change.

After applying for a job in the fabrication department at Pewabic, he got the job, and started working in May of 2008. Even though working with clay was somewhat of a new realm for Laperriere, he jumped in and started learning.

Now, having been at Pewabic for eight years, Laperriere holds the title of Quality Control Specialist for the pottery. In addition to this, Laperriere works on executing final architectural tile layouts and their packaging, and he assists in the kiln room with the firing of pottery. He’s seen and done a lot in his time spent working with Pewabic.

Fireplace Tile final layout confirmation
Neil laying out architectural tile on the kiln room floor.

I like pretty much everything that happens here,” said Laperriere. “It’s a wonderful annex of history. Everything that makes it legendary is what drew me here, and is what keeps me here. It’s been my family.”

Laperriere says he’s seen more positive change in the past two years than the other six, as he’s seen more efforts to preserve and celebrate Pewabic’s rich and storied past.

“Things are definitely shaking up in a good way,” said Laperriere. “As we move forward, we are still reaching back in history.”

While working with clay wasn’t Laperierre’s original plan, over the past eight years spent at Pewabic, he’s found his true calling.

 

 

 

Vitrified Curator Tom Phardel Reflects On Show, Looks To Future

by:  Marisa Miller

tom-phardel-vitrified-opening
Guests at the Vitrified Opening Reception talk with Phardel.

Tom Phardel wears many hats – educator, artist, curator – and ceramics play a role in nearly all of them.

Phardel graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and then from the University of Michigan with a Masters of Fine Arts. He’s been the Ceramics Chairperson at the College for Creative Studies for 32 years and counting. Phardel also has a long history with Pewabic.

Having taught in Pewabic’s education department in the 1980s before moving on to teach at colleges, he has a long history with Pewabic, and he knows a thing or two about his craft.

tom-phardel-smile-raku-2015
Phardel smiles during a conversation with participants at Pewabic’s 2015 Raku Party.

More recently, Phardel curated Pewabic’s Vitrified exhibition, which premiered to the public on September 16 and is now wrapping up. For this latest exhibit, Phardel said his vision was to focus on Michigan artists, including two established artists and two younger ones to watch.

14435295_1140947232608547_3487038406162085196_o
Guests and artists spend time at the Vitrified Opening Reception.

“Often the ‘homies’ are overlooked and taken for granted. I felt the show [Vitrified] demonstrated their commitment to their work.”

Phardel explained that he felt the artists he chose to show in Vitrified represent a diverse vision of what clay can be.

“Each artist has developed a visual vocabulary that sets them apart,” Phardel said. “All excel at both the craft of making as well as a developed artistic vision.”

exhibitions_vitrified_opening_14
Some of the visitors at the Vitrified Opening Reception.

Curating a smaller exhibition like Vitrified is no different than curating a larger-scale one. Phardel said that curation is just picking the work [the curator] feels strongly about.

Now that Vitrified at Pewabic is coming to an end, Phardel is looking toward upcoming shows and more opportunities to curate.

Education Studio Open House

Are you curious about the magic of ceramics? Do you want to be part of a unique Detroit community?

Join us at our Education Studio Open House to meet the incredible people that keep our adult and youth education programs vibrant and exciting. Staff and current students will be in our studio to share information about our classes, workshops and other special programs.

Pewabic staff will give wheel-throwing demonstrations. Students will be selling their art and ceramic wares made in classes. We will also have two drop-in workshops, GARDEN POT, $20 per/piece (all ages) and TOTEM POLE, $30 per/piece (youth). Expect a hands-on experience!

Free docent tours of our pottery and education studio will be at 12pm, 1:30pm and 3pm.

STAY TUNED FOR AN ANNOUNCEMNET ABOUT A SPECIAL CLAY COMPETITION!

Our event is free and open to the public.

EXPLORE! YOUTH CERAMIC CAMPS

Are you looking for an exciting and educational experience for your child during the summer months?
Our summer camps are designed with age-appropriate projects to accommodate students age 6-12. Your child will explore several classic children’s books through basic clay hand building techniques and mixed media arts projects. Students will create uniquely fired ceramic pieces and other crafts that explore classic and contemporary children’s stories. We will complete each week of camp with a special art showcase for students and parents!

Half Day and Full Day camp options available. Camp is not offered the week of July 4. 

EXPLORE! YOUTH CERAMIC CAMPS

Are you looking for an exciting and educational experience for your child during the summer months?
Our summer camps are designed with age-appropriate projects to accommodate students age 6-12. Your child will explore several classic children’s books through basic clay hand building techniques and mixed media arts projects. Students will create uniquely fired ceramic pieces and other crafts that explore classic and contemporary children’s stories. We will complete each week of camp with a special art showcase for students and parents!

Half Day and Full Day camp options available. Camp is not offered the week of July 4.