call for entry: The Clay Studio National

The Clay Studio announces a call for entries to clay artists nationwide.

2016 marks the second iteration of The Clay Studio National, a
biannual exhibition showcasing the best contemporary ceramic art being
made in the United States now. Through this juried exhibition we will
highlight a diverse range of work, from functional to sculptural – and
from traditional production techniques to cutting edge manufacturing
technology. The jury will consist of Clay Studio Curator of Artistic
Programs, Jennifer Zwilling, and two guest jurors. The Clay Studio
National will be on display in our Harrison and Reed+Smith Galleries
from May 6 to June 19, 2016.

Artwork selected for the exhibition must arrive at The Clay Studio no
later than April 25, 2016. All artwork must be for sale, The Clay Studio
retains a 50% commission on all sales. Costs of shipping to The Clay
Studio are the responsibility of the artist, return shipping to the
origin of the work will be covered by The Clay Studio.

Send us functional pots, figurative sculpture, process-based art,
digital clay… or even videos of performance-based work. Whether your
references are historical, functional, alchemical or pure science
fiction, show us what you’ve got!

Applications are due no later than April 1, 2016. Application Fee $35.
Artists will be informed of the jury’s decisions on April 6, 2016.

Apply through SlideRoom HERE.

guest post: Ceramic Research Center Makes A Move by Tom Budzak

The exhibition space at the CRC Brickyard

Ceramic Research Center Makes A Move
by Tom Budzak (
photos by Melissa Budzak


The exhibition space at the CRC Brickyard

The exhibition space at the CRC Brickyard

A view of the display cases and works by Jun Kaneko

With over 3,500 pieces from the 1950s to the present, the ASU Art
Museum’s Ceramic Research Center houses one of the most significant
collections of contemporary ceramics in the U.S.  As you can imagine,
when the center needed to relocate a mile down the road due to
construction near campus it was no small feat. The new location, know as
the Brickyard, provides the same access for students, scholars and the
public for research and inspiration.  There is open storage of the
permanent collection and a exhibition space for curated shows.  There is
something for everyone in the CRC’s collection; hours can be lost
looking through the cabinets at the truly impressive mixture of ceramic
pieces.  The new, larger space allowed for the addition of a retail shop
that showcases talented local and national ceramic artists. 

Polka-Dot Mushroom. Allan Widenhofer, 1967, glazed stoneware 19×13 inches

Discover America. Erik Gronborg, 1972, glazed earthenware, lusters, 3 ¼ x 13 ¼ x 15 3/8 inches

 In addition to a change in location, there will soon be a change in
curator.  In his final show as curator prior to his retirement after 11
years, Peter Held pulled together a fantastic show centered on the idea
of  the passion and compulsion in people to collect.  The show, These
Are Some of My Favorite Things, features permanent collection pieces
alongside eight collections on loan from private collectors.  The show
highlights cabinets of curiosities, knickknacks, and creative tableaus
from local artists, designers and the public-at-large. There are kitschy
pieces, wood, watercolors, found objects and, of course, ceramic
works.  The eight collections on loan include: Cyndi Coon (small white
objects); Emily Long (vintage Arizona objects); Gretchen Freeman (folk
and naïve art); Mark Klett (sunrise sticks); Randall and Katherine
Schmidt (military trench art); Joe Willie Smith (African folk and naïve
art); Kathleen Vanesian (Mexican folk art) and Kurt Weiser (childhood
and travel memorabilia).  All of the collections have their own appeal,
but Kurt Weiser’s collection of odds and ends is delightful and a great
incite into possible inspiration in the studio.

One of Kurt Weiser’s cabinets from his studio show the items from childhood and travel memorabilia that serve as inspiration.

One of Kurt Weiser’s cabinets from his studio show the items from childhood and travel memorabilia that serve as inspiration.
Cyndi Coon’s collection of small white objects evoke a peaceful nostalgia and show her eye for design.

Cyndi Coon’s collection of small white objects evoke a peaceful nostalgia and show her eye for design.

  The pieces that were chosen by Peter Held from the permanent collection
focused on the Funk Movement of ceramics.  The Funk Movement is one of
Held’s favorite time periods in the growth in the American studio
ceramics. Robert Arneson at the University of California-Davis
influenced the Funk Movement greatly, guiding students to explore new
areas in the medium. Fittingly, one of the stand out pieces was Robert
Arneson’s “House Box” from 1966 (Stoneware, Luster that measures 8 ½ x 8
x 5 ¾ inches).  Other artists included in the show are Fred Bauer,
David Gilhooly, Erik Gronborg, Peter VandenBerge and Patti Warashina.

Firey. Sergei Isupov, 2009, stoneware, stain, glaze, 25 ¾ x 19 ½ x18 inches

The cases at the CRC are currently organized by the decade, so viewers can take a tour of ceramics from 1950 to the present.

Firey. Sergei Isupov, 2009, stoneware, stain, glaze, 25 ¾ x 19 ½ x18 inches

The Museum Store showcases talented local and national ceramic artists.

A view of one of the display cabinets featuring present day ceramics.

The show opened on July 19th and the closing reception is on October 4th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

ASU Art Museum Brickyard

699 South Mill Ave, Suite 108, Tempe, AZ

The ASU Art Museum is part of the Herberger 
Institute for Design and the Arts at
 Arizona State University.

Rest in Peace – Paul Soldner

The following is via

“Paul Soldner, artist and innovator in the field of ceramic art, passed away at the age of 89, at his winter home in Claremont, California, on January 3rd, 2011. His life was one of vision, inspiration and teaching. As a professor at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate University, and through workshops he conducted around the world, he influenced generations of ceramic art students who found in Soldner an artist who was both internationally acclaimed and personally accessible, a teacher who taught not by rule, but by example.

There are those artists who are born into a solid, well-ordered artistic tradition, and create entirely within it. Others deny tradition and work as idiosyncratically as they please. A few, the giants, go on to dominate the tradition they helped bring into being. Paul Soldner was one of these.

Accepted as a major force in the evolution of contemporary ceramic art, Soldner’s career was punctuated by important innovations since the mid 1950s. He is best known as the father of “American Raku” and for his innovation of “low-temperature salt fuming.”

It was Soldner’s openness to the creative accident that led him to the “discovery” of American Raku. “He was invited to demonstrate at a crafts fair in 1960. Using Bernard Leach’s A Potter’s Book, as a guide for traditional Raku, a Japanese technique developed in the 16th century, he set up a simple kiln and improvised a few lead-based glazes. The initial results were disappointing but his fascination with Raku persisted, and Soldner continued to experiment [originating post-fire smoking artwork, now known as American Raku]. He gradually discovered he was more interested in Raku as an aesthetic than as a tradition. This attitude resulted in a much more playful approach to form, scale, function, and material.” (Garth Clark)

As Paul often said, “In the spirit of Raku, there is the necessity to embrace the element of surprise. There can be no fear of losing what was once planned and there must be an urge to grow along with the discovery of the unknown. Make no demands, expect nothing, follow no absolute plan, be secure in change, learn to accept another solution and, finally, prefer to gamble on your own intuition.”

Born in Summerfield, Illinois on April 24, 1921, Soldner hadn’t planned to be an artist: he started out as a pre-med student, then enlisted into the Army Medical Corps as a conscientious objector, serving with Patton’s 3rd Army at the Battle of the Bulge. His unit was one of the first to encounter concentration camp survivors fleeing the infamous Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria as the camp was liberated. Confronting the horror of the Holocaust face-to-face eventually ignited in Soldner a passion to create beauty through art. He started with an interest in photography, but at the age of 33, Soldner decided to become a potter. He headed for the Los Angeles County Art Institute, and became Peter Voulkos’s first student, earning an MFA in 1956.

At Otis, Soldner explored creating monumental “floor pots,” or sculptures, which stood up to eight feet in height, often with expressionistically painted areas on the forms. It was also at Otis that he designed and ultimately began the manufacture of the Soldner potters wheels and clay mixers that became Soldner Pottery Equipment Inc.

In 1957, Soldner began teaching at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate University, in addition to curating the now famous Scripps Ceramic Annual exhibition for 37 years.

Throughout his career, Soldner’s artwork often mirrored contemporary issues and ideas expressed by using culturally familiar shapes impressed on three-dimensional sculptures or on two-dimensional wallpieces. Soldner’s artwork has been collected by major museums worldwide and exhibited in the United States, Europe, Canada, Latvia, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Australia.

In 1957, Soldner and his wife, Ginny, began building their home and studio by hand in Aspen, Colorado. The principle that architecture should improve with age directed his designs. To that end, he used rocks and wood native to the area. The Soldner compound was one of the first in the area to acknowledge environmental concerns by using the sun’s energy with solar power for heating. In the 1960s, while living in Aspen, he co-founded Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado.

Paul had a passion for life and enjoyed the pleasures of living, including making his own wine and jewelry, growing bonsai, and designing hot tubs for himself and friends.

He wrote numerous articles and two books, Nothing to Hide, and Kilns and Their Construction. Soldner has been the subject of three documentary films and is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in America, American Art, and the World.

Paul Soldner leaves behind his daughter Stephanie Soldner Sullivan, his son-in-law Garrett Sullivan, grandchildren Colin and Madelyn Sullivan; and his sister Louise Farling. “

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to:

The Paul Soldner Endowment at Scripps College
1030 Columbia Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
Paul and Ginny Soldner Scholarship Fund at Anderson Ranch Art Center
PO Box 5598
Snowmass, CO 81615

For more information on Paul Soldner and his work visit his website here.