The MFA Ceramics Program at LSU: See What We’ve Been Doing
The LSU School of Art MFA ceramics program is currently ranked ninth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. With such a robust program and motivated students, it’s no wonder why. Here is a glimpse at what some of our current MFA ceramics candidates did this summer.
Naomi Clement was invited by session leaders Martina Lantin and Joshua Hebbert to Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine. The Watershed experience encourages and nurtures the exchange of ideas, collaboration, experimentation, exploration, and self-inquiry. “To be invited by artists I respect and admire was an honor,” said Naomi. “The amount that one is able to learn and grow as an artist when you have two entire weeks of ‘play’ time in the studio is amazing. It was a fantastic experience, and I know that the benefits will continue for years to come.”
Over the summer Naomi also presented a visiting artist workshop at the London Clay Arts Centre in Ontario, Canada. Referred to as “one of the jewels in London’s arts crown,” the London Clay Arts Centre is an organization of more than 100 enthusiastic members. “It was a wonderful experience to present a workshop to a group of enthusiastic makers as teaching is something I am interested in after graduation,” Naomi added. “It was a fantastic opportunity to get hands-on experience.”
Naomi’s work is currently on view in the Medalta International Tool Show at the Medalta Yuill Family Gallery in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, September 3–November 30, 2015. The international show is juried by Martina Lantin.
Jenni Lombardi spent summer 2015 studying abroad in the Burren through the LSU School of Art’s Art in Ireland summer intersession program based at the Burren College of Art, a cutting-edge facility built in the courtyard of 16th-century Newton Castle. “Not only were the location and views breathtaking and inspiring,” said Jenni, “the opportunity to experiment with materials directly harvested from the Burren both encouraged and challenged me.”
Jenni created large-scale sculptures made from branches and stone collected from the Irish forest surrounding the school. “My work took on a completely new dimension. The month-long experience of living and working in the Burren was incredible for my personal growth as well as my artistic practice.”
This summer Jodie Masterman was a festival assistant at the International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth, Wales, where she assisted Joe Finch and David Frith in building a wood kiln that was fired during a demonstration at the festival. “I was able to build connections with ceramic artists and gain information on various opportunities in Europe and, specifically, the United Kingdom,” said Jodie.
Adam Meistrell attended the Clay National X: Ceramic Color exhibition at the Carbondale Clay Center in Colorado. The exhibition was focused on artwork that uses color in unexpected ways—color that enhances the narrative, challenges the form, conveys meaning, or evokes strong visual and physical reactions from viewers. “I had the opportunity to visit this show with my family and build relationships with field-related peers as well as further my children’s education in the arts through first-hand experience and discussion of the artwork,” said Adam.
In addition, over the summer Adam’s work was exhibited at the Tabletop exhibition at the Art League Gallery in Arlington, Virginia, June 4–6, 2015.
Adam Meistrell and Naomi Clement are invited artists at the 2nd Annual Arrowmont Pentaculum at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. The Arrowmont Pentaculum is a weeklong invitational artist residency and retreat experience in the heart of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The five participating studios—thus pentaculum—are clay, metal, textiles, 2D, and a rotational studio and/or guest. “This will be a valuable experience to collaborate and learn from other artists across many disciplines,” Adam said. “Arrowmont is an encouraging atmosphere intended to improve our work and our relationships within our artistic field.”
Bri Ozanne received a technical assistant grant for ceramic artist Tip Toland’s figure sculpting workshop at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine. Bri met Tip Toland through the LSU School of Art’s Visiting Artists & Scholars Program, and the opportunity arose from there. Haystack is an international, non-profit, studio program in the arts, offering six one- and two-week studio workshop sessions to craft-makers and visual artists of all skill levels, led by prominent faculty artists.
“I gained experience presenting my work in a formal setting,” said Bri. “At other workshops, I experimented with new media that I had never been exposed to, and I am already planning to incorporate into my work. I learned invaluable new skills in the workshop I was assisting and gained teaching experience in a non-academic setting. I have found a true mentor in Tip Toland.
“I met other graduate students and professional artists working in disciplines other than my own,” Bri added. Living and working in close quarters allowed us to connect with each other quickly and genuinely, and I know that several will become long-term friends and colleagues.”
Melodie Reay spent the summer at the Archipelago Artist Residency in Korpo, Finland (AARK.fi). The residency program offers professional contemporary artists/art professionals from all disciplines the space to think and time to develop a new idea or to continue a work in progress. Residents are immersed in the unique setting of the archipelago, with the national parks and biosphere area, frozen seas, light summer nights, rich bird life, and amazing starry nights. The residency offers a quiet retreat to artists interested in nature and the surrounding seaside as themes for their work.
“This was my first open residency where I was essentially given the time and space to use as I needed but with distance from my usual ways of working,” said Melodie. “I was also lucky to be able to interact with other artists whose backgrounds and approaches to making were vastly different from my own. It shifted my way of taking in and processing information and pushed me to work with my surroundings in new and unfamiliar ways. The experience was invaluable—its impact on my work profound—and I will be drawing on it for years to come.”
On top of his research in irradiated glazes (see “Radiation and Pottery” article here) this summer, Mike Stumbras won first prize—$1,000!—for his Skull and Flowers Coffee Pot in the Tabletop exhibition at the Art League Gallery in Arlington, Virginia. He also helped LSU College of Art & Design Dean Alkis Tsolakis lead a three-day ceramics workshop for rising 10th–12th graders in LSU’s Upward Bound six-week summer program. View the Facebook photo album.
Ransome Little—Special Student
A mug by Ransome Little, a special student in the one-year post-baccalaureate ceramics program at LSU, was accepted into the 2015 Strictly Functional Pottery National exhibition at Kevin Lehman’s Pottery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “This is my first piece to be accepted into a national juried show,” said Ransome, “and I find it especially encouraging because the juror, Matt Long, is an artist whom I look up to enourmously.” Ransome’s work is also featured in local Baton Rouge gallery Studio C. “This is a very exciting opportunity for me to develop a relationship with a local gallery, especially since my career will keep me in the area for the foreseeable future,” said Ransome. Read more about the post-baccalaureate program.