Scott Weaver wanted to do something special for Pewabic Pottery and for Detroit, to honor where he got his start and the city’s current vibe of revitalization.
An artist in Pewabic’s Gallery of North American Artists, Weaver releases his new 6 x 12 inch Detroit Skyline Welcome tile featuring the city skyline above an Arts & Crafts style welcome. The release includes a chance to meet Weaver as the first in Pewabic’s visiting artist series Saturday, April 29th, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
“With the revitalization of Detroit I thought it was a good fit,” says Weaver, adding that his history with the pottery inspired him. “I’ve had this relationship with Pewabic and that’s where I started, of course. I wanted to do something for Pewabic.”
After years as a stonemason, Weaver started taking classes at Pewabic when his chiropractor made the suggestion in 1996. He stayed with it four consecutive winters and by 2000 established Weaver Tile, where he creates high-fired decorative tiles in his distinctive naturalistic style.
It’s not entirely unlike stonemasonry, says Weaver, adding that he still works with a lot of fireplace surrounds. A lifelong nature-lover, Weaver’s tiles often include designs of herbs, wildflowers, animals and bugs, as well as a series that reflects on people enjoying the outdoors.
“I’ve spent my entire life out in the fields in the nature and the fields,” he says, describing a childhood of birdwatching and foraging, raising butterflies and moths. He and his wife currently live on 80 acres on a prairie fen at the headwaters of the Grand River in Horton, southwest of Jackson “We have lots of inspiration.”
His studio is in an 1870s post-and-beam barn that he purchased, tagged, dismantled and reassembled two miles away on his property.
“I was looking for a studio with ambiance,” he says. “It’s a cool building. I have parts of ten different barns in here to get the pieces I needed.”
This is the third in a series of posts highlighting artists from Dysfunctional, curated by Roberto Lugo, on display at Pewabic through May 14, 2017.
Betty’s Delight, Brown, Red and White, Arrangement No. 1, 2017
“The domestic object as souvenir” is how Margaret Kinkeade sums up her work, which often reflects upon the nature of collections.
In Betty’s Delight, Brown, Red and White, Arrangement No. 1, Kinkeade translates fiber art quilt patterns and the concept of transmitting familial traditions, well wishes and meaningful heritage patterns into an arrangement of 40-some 6 x 6 inch mid-range stoneware, red stoneware and porcelain with underglaze plates with which visitors interacted at the exhibit’s opening.
“The quilt arrangements in my most recent body of work only come into being as a result of their use. As the participants engage in the breaking of the bread with strangers and friends alike they became active participants in the shaping of the ‘quilt’ comprised of the plates from which they eat,” Kinkeade says.
Kinkeade’s concept is for participants to select the position to hang each plate on the gallery’s wall, thus creating, according to Kinkeade, “a fingerprint of the moment, the ritual, and the gathering with no two arrangements alike.” Of the 42 plates in Pewabic’s gallery, several remain unhung.
Kinkeade focuses on American folk art and traditional craft, particularly those historically created by women. She also explores human nature’s draw to collect objects of personal or sentimental value.
“In my experience, collecting acts as an attempt to combat the temporality of a moment and the souvenir acts as a surrogate to re-experience. Even though the event inevitably falls victim to time, and it’s fluid effect on our recollection, the souvenir acts as a tangible connection to something intangible. These items are not documentation of the events themselves, as exists in a photograph, but shells which hold the memory of the moment within its walls,” Kinkeade explains.
Kinkeade earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from Pennsylvania State University. She has exhibited at the Epsten Gallery, Overland Park, Kan.; The Clay Studio in Philadelphia; and at Burlington City Arts, Burlington, Vt., among others. She teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute’s School for Continuing and Professional Studies in Kansas City, Mo.
This is the second in a series of posts highlighting artists from Dysfunctional, curated by Roberto Lugo, on display at Pewabic through May 14, 2017.
T-Shirt, detail 2016
Sebra Debrecht uses “tile fabrics” — interlaced porcelain, polyester string, jump rings and clasps — to encourage viewers to consider ceramic’s typically immoveable identity in her artwork T-Shirt.
“I wanted to produce art that was active and changeable to its location, either through preexisting architecture or human interaction. The malleability of these pieces allows the work to dwell in most settings by warping to any site while also manipulating the space,” says Debrecht, whose interest centers on how her pieces will influence a viewer’s connection to the space around it.
Debrecht’s work is influenced by traditional Islamic tile ornamentation and the complexity created by its repetitive simple forms. She developed her techniques working with Herend porcelain, founded in 1826, while studying abroad at the International Ceramics Studio (ICS) in Kecskemét, Hungary.
“Identifying this complexity, my work deconstructs and simplifies these patterns into my own personal interpretation,” she says.
The Dallas native received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics and art history from the Kansas City Art Institute before joining The Clay Studio in Philadelphia.
This is the first in a series of posts highlighting artists from Dysfunctional, curated by Roberto Lugo, on display at Pewabic through May 14, 2017.
Utilizing playfulness and wit, Shalene Valenzuela’s work salutes an idealized era through hand-painted retro images on ceramic sculptures of common household items and a shiny veneer finish.
In Potholder: Red Hot #2 and Potholder: Red Hot #3, Valenzuela’s porcelain potholder sculptures feature likenesses of women in lighter ads, making an ironic play on words and materials. Exploring issues often connected with women resonates with Valenzuela.
Exploring women’s issues in her art is important to Valenzuela, who has said that this study resonates with how her perceptions of herself are changing along with how other women are perceiving themselves and how society views them.
“I see my exploration of these issues addressing self perception and expectations reaching beyond just purely feminist concerns. It’s a question of how we all strive to attain impossible ideals based on what others define we should be,” Valenzuela shares.
Valenzuela’s response to anyone wondering why she uses clay, rather than the actual objects — such as a blender in the case of Blending in: Some Cookies — is to create a “trompe l’oeil with a twist,” displaying something that is not as it seems.
The Santa Barbara, Calif., native received her Bachelor of Arts in art practice at the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from the California College of Arts and Crafts. In 2007, she relocated to Missoula, Mon., to participate in a long-term residency at The Clay Studio of Missoula, where she serves as Executive Director.
Valenzuela has taught at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Mon.; University of Montana; Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Ore.; The Clay Studio of Missoula; Missoula Art Museum; Richmond Art Center in Richmond, Calif.; ASUC Studios at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif. and California College of the Arts Extended Education in Oakland, Calif. She has also participated in summer artist residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Mon.,(2006) and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine (2004, 2011).
CELEBRATING 150 YEARS | THE LIFE & LEGACY OF MARY CHASE PERRY STRATTON
Pewabic’s cofounder, Mary Chase Perry Stratton,was born on this day in 1867 in the small mining town of Hancock, MI. An active artist and entrepreneur at a time when women didn’t even have the right to vote, Mary had a profound impact on Detroit’s artistic and cultural life. She was a founding member of the Detroit Arts & Crafts Society and later served as a trustee of what is now the Detroit Institute of Arts. She established the ceramics department at the University of Michigan, taught at Wayne State University, and was awarded honorary degrees from both schools. Most of all, she was an artist and passionate advocate for beautiful work crafted by hand.
With Pewabic, she created a vibrant pottery that helped shape the architectural fabric of Detroit. We are proud to be continuing the remarkable legacy of craftsmanship she began more than a century ago. In honor of her milestone anniversary, we will be celebrating her creative spirit throughout the year. We’ll be introducing new glazes, revisiting some of her original designs, and showcasing her history in an exhibition of work from our archives.
Pewabic Pottery’s online store is currently being upgraded to better serve you! The new web store will feature larger images, mobile responsiveness, and other features to improve your shopping experience.
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