Let me preface this by admitting I have a weakness for clay.
I majored in ceramics for a while before deciding my aspirations were to teach as opposed to becoming an independent artist. So I was excited about this show.
The Meadville Council on the Arts has a gallery on the 2nd floor of the Meadville Market House. They hold shows all year.
The current exhibit is called “Clay and Fiber Partner.” It features 2 ceramic artists and 4 fiber artists.
I was fortunate to make it to the opening despite a layer of slush and low visibility. And I must say that I really do enjoy being able to attend art openings. Its an opportunity to chat with artists, sample new finger foods, and quite often enjoy some music.
This night, set up in the corner were 2 individuals playing a good variety of mellow music. The pair was called “The Klackers.” I also found out that they often play Wednesdays and Fridays at the Creative Crust. I had no idea that there were many opportunities for live music around Meadville. I would love to find more.
Jacquelin Felix was speaking to some people about her needle felting. So I nosed in a bit to find out more. She was kind enough to really explain it to me.
Needle felting uses loose wool fibers and a 3 inch needle with barbs. She told me that the needle is shaped a bit like an Allen wrench. The wool is held in one hand while it is poked over and over again into the fiber. This makes the fibers tighter and tighter. I asked if it was like teasing your hair in the 90s.
She keeps this up, adding different colors as needed, until it forms the shape she’s after. Its an interesting art medium. This dragonfly is just a detail of the whole piece. You really should see it in person if you get a chance.
Take a look at a couple of the other fabric pieces, like this wearable piece.
I also liked the colors on this quilted crow piece.
Let me say I enjoyed many of the pieces at the Clay and Fiber show but what really stood out to me was the clay.
I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed clay. I’ve missed the feel of it as it spins around the wheel. I’ve missed the shiny glazes. I’ve missed the beautiful forms. I’ve missed clay.
This show and talking to these artists really brought it back to me. Someday I will get back to it.
So I’ll introduce you to Neil Simak. He’s a graduate student at Edinboro working with wood-fired porcelain. Wood-fired means that the piece is brought up to temperature (fired) using wood as opposed to gas or electric.
Do you notice the earth tones?
Neil likes to hike every weekend with his girlfriend. Nature influences his work which has transitioned from sculptural to functional since arriving at Edinboro.
He enjoys experimenting with glazes. Especially the anticipation of opening up an wood-fired kiln and not knowing exactly how it will come out.
Even the same glaze can come out very differently in a wood-fired kiln. So when the firing is finished its a surprise.
Next up is Jason Piccoli. He’s also a ceramics major at Edinboro who works in porcelain.
He uses glazes and underglazes. Notice how some of the surface is shiny and some is duller. The shiny is a glaze that is very fluid when fired. The dull sections are an underglaze. He has more control over this which allows him to make the detailed paintings. Though some of the underglazes will change a bit and lose some detail, he is able to do a lot with it.
Check out the landscape on this pitcher. His interests such as sci-fi and space influence his work.
What I found most fascinating were the sphere forms on his vases. He’s tricky with these. He throws (as in on a potter’s wheel) them as one piece. Almost as if there is a cup inside a cup then closes them up separately, carving out of them later. Jason told me that for everyone that is successful he has about 5 that were not.
Can you imagine the intricacies in making a piece like this.
Gee can you tell I like clay?
I hope you get a chance to see this show before it’s done. Stop by before December 12th. If you have kids, this is a very clean show. A good one to expose kids to an art gallery. The gallery is open Wednesday and Friday 12-4 and Saturday 10-2.