Celebrate Pewabic artisans — staff and students — at the Maker/Mentor artists’ reception, 6-9 p.m. Friday, July 21, and at the exhibit itself in Pewabic’s galleries through August 15.
“It’s a great feeling to be recognized, and to have my work appreciated in this way,” shares Thullen, glaze development specialist and glaze instructor. The pair also selected Thullen’s soda-fired porcelain Vase, 2017, for the show. “This exhibition is one that most of us look forward to all year. It’s a chance to highlight the very best that Pewabic has to offer, and to celebrate the amazing community of creative people that make Pewabic what it is.”
Henry James Haver Crissman, wheel throwing instructor, took first place for staff with A Platter of Demands, 2017. Chris Mayse, fabrication supervisor/kiln technician and sculptural wheel throwing instructor, received second place for his Bud Vase with Plinth, 2016. Instructor Kirsten Helmer received third for Science & Traditions, 2015, porcelain-cast installation.
Hand-building student June Mabarak took first place in the student category for her ceramic Family, 2017. Also in the exhibit is Mabarak’s ceramic Fish for All, 2017. Leonard Haden took second place for his stoneware Scattered, 2017, and Jim Dalton received third for his Ode to Kemp, 2017, in porcelain. Both are wheel throwing students. Dalton’s stoneware entry First Soda, 2017, also appears in the exhibit.
Staff member Marcia Hovland and students Gina Bekkula, Susan Hipsley, Birgit Hutteman-Holz and Aislinn Scofield each received honorable mentions.
As the blind jury, Ryan and Kaitlyn Lawless accepted fewer than half the submissions for consideration in the exhibition and did not know which pieces belonged to staff or students until after choosing best in show.
“The minimalist selection should be no surprise for anyone familiar with Corbé,” says Darlene Carroll, exhibitions curator at Pewabic, adding that any jury process is highly subjective and reflects individual jurors’ taste and values.
Handcrafted porcelain company Corbé began as a 2013 Kickstarter campaign to make porcelain ware in state shapes, beginning with Wisconsin, where they were based before moving to Detroit. It was a hit.
“A light went off: there are 50 states,” recalls Ryan Lawless, with a smile. Now each state is available as part of Fifty United Plates — if you’re wondering, Alaska is the most difficult to make — along with several countries. Corbé since branched out by adding the thrown pottery lines Canteen, Charlevoix, Homesteader and Lapidary.
“We don’t really make anything that we wouldn’t use or like in our own house,” says Kaitlyn Lawless.
Maker/Mentor runs through Aug. 15. To see more of Alex Thullen’s work, his porcelain Lidded Jar is currently on exhibit in “For The Table” at the Ohio Craft Museum in Columbus, Ohio, and other work is about to appear in “Never Static” at the Schaller Gallery in Saint Joseph, Mich.