Massachusetts Call for Entry and Residency Opportunities for Emerging Artists

The mission of Mud Flat Studio is to promote and expand the appreciation of and participation in the ceramic arts. In 1998, Mudflat began offering a one-year residency position to clay artists.

Residency dates:

September 1 – August 31

Residency includes:

  • Private 90 sq. foot studio space
  • 24 hour access
  • A monthly stipend of $50, to be applied to clay materials and firing costs.
  • Opportunities to teach in our educational programs and for retail sales at our Open Studio events and at Mudflat Gallery
  • Solo exhibition and reception at Mudflat in August to showcase work created during the residency year

Residency requirements:

  • Artists are expected to spend a minimum of 20 hours per week in their studio
  • Artists are required to work 5 hours per week for Mudflat, assisting with technical jobs
  • 2 public presentations during the residency. The first, in September, is a slide show of the artist’s work.
  • Applicants should have knowledge of a variety of clay techniques and some kiln firing experience, the ability to work independently, and enthusiasm and willingness to be part of an urban clay community.

Application:

Applications for the 2012-13 residency must be postmarked by April 16, 2012. Selection notification will be made by May 31. Application form (PDF format) Mudflat Pottery Studio, Inc.
81 Broadway
Somerville, MA 02145 Phone: (617)628-0589
FAX: (617)628-2082
email: info@mudflat.org

Call for Entries Flash Point-An International Juried Wood Fire Exhibition


Purpose
Plinth Gallery, in collaboration with The Boulder Pottery Lab, present, “Flash Point – An International Wood Fire Exhibition”. This juried exhibition is designed to bring together artists who work within this age-old tradition of wood-fired ceramics. The slow, methodical process, the historical link, and the unique finish all celebrate the path of the flame and the illumination of clay in its most elemental state. Flash Point will celebrate the surfaces and forms that are adorned by the dance of fire and showcase the diversity of wood fired ceramics.

Juror
John Balistreri

Deadline to receive submission materials: August 3, 2012

Full details here.

Red Brick Black Mountain White Clay by Christopher Benfey


Lately it seems pretty rare that I get a chance to sit and enjoy the beauty and escapism of good literature. With a new baby in the house and a four year old on the loose, the days of sunny afternoons huddled with a book or staying up all night to finish just one more chapter are by-gone’s. Even further out of reach are the days of getting absorbed in some rich critical and theoretical writing. (I know my brain could once compute that language, but lately it seems more aligned with the language of superheros and motorbike noises). So I was pleasantly intrigued when contacted by TLC Book Tours to do a review of Red Brick Black Mountain White Clay by Christopher Benfey. I thought to myself, “Here I have an excuse to force myself to steal away some moments for reading. It’ll be work therefore I can hide away under a cozy blanket with my book and ignore my kids for a bit, guilt free.” Alas the reality was far more akin to 3am reading sessions while I rocked a disgruntled child back to sleep, less than idyllic, but a reality I love regardless.

So in the wee hours of the morning I was swept away on a journey of discovery of the lineage of a family, jumping around from place to place – japan, mexico, germany, small town here and there USA. Just as the potters Benfey writes about who seek to carve out the pure vein of coveted clay, Benfey carves out for the reader a family’s past and the many influences upon it which create character and perspective. Reading somewhat as a who’s who list of famous and noteworthy people that were either part of his family or family friends makes the story at times seem almost like someone at a cocktail party showing off – I mean really your grandmother’s cousins played with Walter Benjamin?! But I guess if my family history was equally as rich in history and noteworthy characters, I’d have written a book as well.

So why would this book be of interest to review on a ceramic blog like musing? Well much of the book is a reflection upon the lives of artists and potters. Benfey has a way of speaking about makers and the objects that they create in a manner that any maker can relate to: the knowledge of skill, of tradition, detail, value, intrinsic to a pot. The romanticism of the maker and their relationship to the land. There were moments in the book where I was left with a pang of guilt for my “weakness” of use of purchased clay, rather than dirtying my hands digging and working from scratch in the wilderness, finding my own clay and having it create the unique marks only such clay can inscribe on an object.

I was also compelled by the book to think about my own past and experiences in education, academic and otherwise and to try to view my own past in a new light of how certain circumstances led me down the creative path I’m on today. By taking a step back, could a see a broader picture of influence? How were events and the people/artists I’ve meet intertwined in my own life and work.

When it comes to reading, a book needs to grab me within a chapter or two, or it gets put away to collect dust. Life to me is too short for books that don’t speak to you. For me a good book isn’t always about great writing either; a good book makes me think, and Benfey’s accomplished that. There were times when I felt like I was being taken off on an unrelated tangent which frustrated me, but overall the book was compelling and filled with interesting people and stories. At one point one such tangent breaks from telling us about Black Mountain College, Bauhaus aesthetics, and Anni and Josef Albers, to talk about the meander pattern, Greek Mythology of Homer, and the story of the Labyrinth and Daedalus. I found this section and the idea of the labyrinth or meandering to be a perfect metaphor for the book itself. There is a meandering to Benfey’s story telling. But in the end he carves out a path and leads you out of the labyrinth.

If you have an interest in such things as Black Mountain College, Japanese ceramics, Wedgewood and the quest for porcelain in the United States, American potters like Mark Hewitt, or love insight into family histories I would suggest that this book would be of interest. I’d love to hear from others what they think of this book, their likes and dislikes or the questions it posed to them.

In the meantime you can read a few other reviews of the book by checking out the TLC Book Tours website or following the links below:

Travel Spot Iwriteinbooks’s blog Twisting the LensAvery Pottery and TileworksWhynot PotteryBookstack

Call for artists: Sugarloaf Craft Festivals

Maryland
Deadline: May 31, 2012
Sugarloaf Craft Festivals, one of the nation’s most prominent and popular juried shows of fine art and crafts, is now accepting applications from artists and craftspeople in all media for its Fall 2012 shows.

Exhibition space is available at every show in all categories, including fiber and fashion, photography, fine art, furniture, ceramics and pottery, blown and leaded glass, jewelry, metal, leather, and functional and decorative wood. Jurying for the Fall 2012 shows begins in January 2012.

Shows for the Fall 2012 season of Sugarloaf Craft Festivals include:
October 5-7, 2012, Timonium, MD (outside Baltimore), Maryland State Fairgrounds
October 12-14, 2012, Gaithersburg, MD (outside Washington, D.C.), Montgomery County Fairgrounds
October 26-28, 2012, Somerset, NJ, Garden State Exhibition Center
November 2-4, 2012, Oaks, PA (outside Philadelphia), Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
November 16-18, 2012, Gaithersburg, MD (outside Washington, D.C.), Montgomery County Fairgrounds
December 7-9, 2012, Chantilly, VA (Northern Virginia), Dulles Expo Center

Now in its 37th year, attendance at Sugarloaf’s 11 shows increased by 6% in the past year, and at some shows by as much as 20%. Artist sales increased by an average of 3% from the previous year, with artists selling over $14.6 million in handmade items to more than 165,000 customers.

In 2011, nine of Sugarloaf’s shows were ranked in the “100 Best Classic and Contemporary Craft Shows” nationally by Sunshine Artist Magazine. Craft industry publications regularly rank Sugarloaf Craft Festivals among the top fine arts and crafts festivals in the country. Sugarloaf’s jury-selected artists are represented in the nation’s finest galleries, private collections, and museums.

Sugarloaf Craft Festivals supports its artists with an aggressive marketing and advertising program, the Sugarloaf “Caravan” which transports artists’ products and booths between shows, free VIP tickets for artists to distribute to their best customers, and discounts for artists at hotels convenient to show venues. Artists can receive discounts on booth fees with flexible payment options.

Artists can apply online at www.zapplication.org using the search term “Sugarloaf.” A paper application can be downloaded at www.sugarloafcrafts.com/becomeex.html. For information about Sugarloaf Craft Festivals, visit www.sugarloafcrafts.com.