Ceramics at Grand Valley State University consists of a wide-ranging program emphasizing traditional through contemporary methods of working with clay. From introduction through advanced level, students engage in clay making, hand-building, wheel-throwing, slip-casting, raw material study & glaze calculation, and kiln loading & firing. Students strengthen technical and conceptual skills through courses that focus on the rigorous development of concept with the goal of pursuing an individual approach to a full integration of idea, material and process. Furthermore, students are encouraged, supported and challenged to explore various approaches to clay while drawing from other art & design disciplines and experiment with different strategies of ceramic art as; function, design, sculpture, mixed-media and installation & performance.

Art 275 Introduction to Ceramics

In this class students will learn a basic knowledge of ceramics. This course is an introduction to the elements and principles of hand-building ceramics through idea, material, process and concept, including the use of a variety of ceramic materials and techniques. Students are encouraged to pursue an individual conceptual direction in completing course assignments and are required to develop the critical and technical command essential for creating finished works. Students will develop a working understanding of the visual/tactile vocabulary of ceramics to use in conceiving (idea), comprehending (material), making (process), and assessing (concept) ceramic art. Through exploring the expressive potential of clay, Students will address the relationship between art and craft, and the relationship between the human body and the object, using both additive and reductive forming methods to find unique solutions to various assigned projects.

Art 376 Intermediate Ceramics I

This course offers students the opportunity to learn how to use the potter's wheel to produce functional ware and how to use the wheel as a tool to produce basic forms. Students in the course will learn how to throw cylinders, bowls, plates, vases, cups, mugs, and steins, goblets, lidded containers, and other functional vessels using a range of different clay bodies from stonewares and porcelains to low-fire, earthenware bodies. Students are exposed to a more expanded glaze pallet since the introductory course and will utilize high-fire reduction, oxidation, low-fire glazes, under-glazes, and over-glazes as well as raku fired finishes on their wares. After students learn how to use the wheel to produce basic forms, they are required to combine multiple thrown parts together to produce a finished piece that departs from the functional vessel.

Art 377 Intermediate Ceramics II

This course may either be taken in sequence of Intermediate Ceramics I, the wheel-throwing course, or immediately after introduction to Ceramics for students who are not interested in learning how to use the potter's wheel to develop functional forms. This course focuses on concepts, series, and the personal development of a voice in a young artist's work. Students may work with any forming techniques they so choose and may also incorporate mixed media and other materials to best suit their ideas. Students are advised to work through producing portfolio works in several groups of small series as they begin to develop a cohesive body of work. Work is not assigned, but students are expected to produce work on their own with approximately 15 to 30 works completed by the end of the semester depending on the nature and difficulty involved in the production. Academically, students will learn firing theory through personally firing both gas and electric kilns to high and low-fire temperatures and are also required to stay current with contemporary ceramic work and artists through research in books, journals, periodicals, and Internet sources.

Art 477 Advanced Ceramics I

Art & Craft / Ceramics & Aesthetics / Function & Non-Function
History & Research

Material & Studio Safety
Clay as Function
Clay as Design
Clay as Sculpture
Clay as Mixed Media
Clay as Concept

Artist Statements
Presentation & Project Critiques

Art 478 Advanced Ceramics II

Toward Excellence

as an idea
as a material
as a process
as a concept
as an individual in society

The Studio:
Material & Studio Safety
Individual Conferences on Major Project Proposal & Discussions
Visiting Artists' and Guests' Lectures
Non-Profit Art Center, Art Organization & Art Gallery
Mid-Term & Final Critique

The World of Art

Art in Text: Beyond Studio
Artist’s Statement
Curriculum Vitae
Portfolio/Slide Descriptions
Terms to Define
Show/Grant Proposal

Art in Context: Research and Creative Artistic Projects
Art Gallery (Solo/Group/Non-Profit Exhibitions)
Non-Profit Art Center (Artist-In-Residence Programs)
Non-Profit Art Organization (Grant/Fellowship Programs)

Affect The World
Application Process
Feed Back

Art 479 Glaze Calculation

This class is offered to provide students with the basic concepts of technical ceramics and familiarity with ceramic materials, basic clay body formulations and glaze calculations. The usual sequence for this course is one hour of lecture and two hours of lab time, which may include demonstrations, work on lab assignments, reporting of experiment results, class discussions, and exams. Technical reports are required for the tests of clay bodies and glazes, including calculations, as well as the oral presentation of experiment results. Outside time is required both for the lab assignments and for the technical reports. Advanced Ceramics course with emphasis placed on comprehensive study of ceramics materials and processes, designed to provide avenues for acquisition and development of:

Understanding glaze chemistry and glaze application in relation to clay body, oxidation or reduction firing and final visual and physical characteristics of fired glaze as well as their relation to the integration of form, surface, color, structure, function and expression.

Obtaining technical experience in glaze making, application, and firing at low and high temperature and in oxidation and reduction firings.

Developing the ability to synthesize theories of glaze chemistry with technical study and relate this to studio ceramic production.

Art 498 Senior Project

This course is the final work toward the B.F.A. Senior Exhibition and must be taken in the semester in which students hang their degree shows. Students will work closely with their major professor in their emphasis area, and may have an additional course assigned from their Junior Review. Students must seek the advice of their major professor for the selection of works for their exhibition. They may also seek advice of any other faculty members with whom they have worked or from whom they would like additional feedback. Offered fall and winter semesters.

Art 499 Independent Study

Granted upon submission and approval of a detailed proposal by advanced level ceramics students. Up to 3 Credit Hours, determined in response to the proposal.



Calder Art Center 1422

8,300 sq. ft. State of The Art Facilities
Ceramics Emphasis Student Private Studio with 24/7 Access
Hand-Building Studio
Wheel-Throwing Studio
Clay Mixing Room
Glaze Lab
Indoor & Outdoor Kiln Room
Individual Critique & Student Show Space
Computer & Periodical Room


Hand-Building Studio
1 MAC Computer & Video projector Station
1 Brent Hand Extruder
2 Bailey Standard Extruder
1 Brent Slab Roller

Wheel-Throwing Studio
10 Pacifica Electric Potters Wheel
2 Brent Slab Roller
1 Damp Room
1 Heat/Dry Box

Clay Mixing Room
2 Solder Profession Model Clay Mixer
3000 cfm Dust Collector with 2 Snorkel
1 Slip Mixer & Casting Station
1450 RPM Milwaukee Mixing Gun with Jiffy Mixer Blade
1 Porter Cable Tile Cutter

Glaze Lab
2 Stainless Glazing Table with Raw Material Storage
2 Underglaze & Commercial Glaze Cabinet
1000 cfm Dust Collector with 2 Snorkel
2 Paasche Spray Booth

Indoor Kiln Room
1 Front Load “Freddy” Kiln with Kiln Sitter and Programmable Bartlett Controller: NEW
4 Aim 88 Test Kiln
2 Aim 1110 Test Kiln
1 Aim 2318 with Kiln Sitter
4 Bailey 2327-10 with Kiln Sitter and Programmable Bartlett Controller
1 Bailey Production FL 40 - 40 cu. ft.
1 Bailey Studio Deluxe FL 28/18 - 18 cu. ft.

Outdoor Kiln Room: Newly Expanded
1 Bailey Studio Deluxe FL 13/8 - 8 cu. ft.
1 Wood Kiln (Student-Built)

Computer Room
1 MAC & 1 PC Computers
1 Video Camcorder & 1 Digital Camera
2 Printer

Other Studio Equipments
1 Maca Stationary Belt Sander
1 Regal Lifter 1000 lbs. Capacity

Periodical Subscriptions
American Ceramics
American Craft
Ceramic Art and Perception
Ceramics Monthly
Ceramics Technical
Clay Times
Crafts Report
Kerameiki Techni
The Studio Potter


Cranbrook Academy of Art, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago & Grand Valley State University
Ceramics Student Exhibition & Panel Discussion
The Stuart & Barbara Padnos Student Gallery
Alexander Calder Fine Art Center
Grand Valley State University


With Clay, With Friendship, With World: International Ceramic Art Web Exhibition

• Organizer: Dept. Ceramic Art & Design, Seoul National University of Technology, Design Innovation Center
• Exhibitor: Grand Valley State University (USA), Montclair State University (USA), University of Otago (New Zealand), Rochester Institute of Technology (USA), Seoul National University of Technology (Korea) & University of Hawaii at Manoa (USA) Ceramics Program


The 5th World Ceramic Biennale 2009 Korea: World Ceramic Art Jamboree - ISCAEE Members Exhibition
April 25 – June 21, 2009
Special Gallery, Yeoju World Ceramic Livingware gallery, Korea

Grand Valley State University Art & Design: Dean Foster, Meghan Kelly, Nora Hipshear & Rebecca Hagler

2009 GVSU CERAMICS FASA (Faculty Accompanying Students Abroad) PROGRAM

Hoon Lee: Ceramics Program Coordinator, Assistant Professor
Department of Art & Design, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Grand Valley State University


As the GVSU Ceramics program coordinator, I am organizing the GVSU Ceramics FASA (Faculty Accompanying Students Abroad) Program in Korea (April 23 – May 11, 2009). The ISCAEE (International Society for Ceramic Art Education and Exchange) Symposium and The 5th World Ceramic Biennale Conference are events that the GVSU Ceramics FASA Program will participate in while in Korea. Additional venues include GVSU & SNUT (Seoul National University of Technology) Ceramics Collaborative Project(s), GVSU & SWU (Seoul Women’s University) Ceramics Forum and Ceramic Artist Studio & Museum Visits.


• ISCAEE Symposium 2009 Korea (April 24 – May 1, 2009): The GVSU Ceramics FASA Program has been invited to participate in the ISCAEE Symposium 2009 Korea. The GVSU Ceramics FASA Program will contribute to both the Student Ceramic Art Project Workshop and ISCAEE Ceramic Exhibition.

• Title: ISCAEE Symposium 2009 Korea - World Ceramic Art Jamboree
• Date: April 25, 2009 – May 1, 2009
• Venue: Yeoju World Livingware Gallery, Yeoju (April 25 – 29)
• Sponsor: Icheon World Ceramic Center, Icheon (April 30 - May 1)
• Organizer: World Ceramic Exposition Foundation (WOCEF)
• Supporters: Curatorial Department, WOCEF
• ISCAEE Symposium 2009 Korea Executive Committee: Kangnam University, Seoul National University of Technology

• The 5th World Ceramic Biennale 2009 Korea Conference (May 1 – May 3, 2009): The GVSU Ceramics FASA Program will attend this conference. World Ceramic Exposition Foundation initiated the World Ceramic Biennale Korea in 2001. There are multifarious biennales in the world, but there are not many biennales being held under the theme of Ceramics. Amongst Ceramic Biennale being held all around the world, World Ceramic Biennale Korea deeply put down its root as one of outstanding ceramic biennales in terms of its quality and size.

• Title: The 5th World Ceramic Biennale 2009 Korea
• Theme: Adventures of the Fire
• Period: April 25 - May 24, 2009 (exhibition: April 25-June 21)
• Venue: Icheon World Ceramic Center, Yeoju World Ceramic Livingware Gallery, Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum
• Organized by: World Ceramic Exposition Foundation
• Supported by: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Ministry of Public Administration and Security, Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Ministry of Foreign of Foreign Affairs and Trade, International Academy of Ceramics (IAC), National Council on Education for the Ceramic Art (NCECA)
• Main Event: Exhibitions, Conference, Education Programs, Workshops, Performances, Events, Regional Ceramic Festivals

• GVSU & SNUT (Seoul National University of Technology) Ceramics Collaborative Project (May 4 – May 10, 2009): I am working with Professor Myungah Lee (Dept. of Ceramic Culture Design, SNUT) as well as the SNUT Center for International Exchanges regarding collaborative project(s) between the two Ceramics programs.
• GVSU & SWU (Seoul Women’s University) Ceramics Forum (May 4 – May 10, 2009): Professor Jongin Kim (Dept. of Art & Craft, Seoul Women’s University) invited The GVSU Ceramics FASA Program for a slide talk & panel discussion with her ceramics students during our visit to Korea. I am discussing scheduling possibilities with Professor Kim.

• Ceramic Artist Studios & Museums (May 4 – May 10, 2009): The GVSU Ceramics FASA Program will visit Soonjung Hong & Eunmee Lee’s Studio in Heyri Art Village. Hong & Lee were GVSU visiting artists during the GVSU Fall Art Celebration in Fall 2008. There are many ceramic artists studios in the village as well as Korean contemporary ceramics museums.

• During the grant, I, as the GVSU ceramics program coordinator and as a liaison with the Korean ceramics community, will engage in the following activities: 1) Participate in and attend international ceramics conferences, including The ISCAEE Symposium 2009 Korea & The 5th World Ceramic Biennale 2009 Korea Conference. 2) Research further student exchange program possibilities between GVSU and SNUT (Seoul National University of Technology). 3) Seek possibilities for International Summer Workshops with SWU (Seoul Women’s University). 4) Visit prominent contemporary art galleries, private artists’ studios, and ceramics programs in universities. 5) Explore new pedagogical possibilities for application within the GVSU ceramics program. 5) Further establish GVSU’s relationship within the international ceramics community.


The students who will be participating in the symposium and the conference are Ceramics students in Art & Design. As an ISCAEE member who has attended the conferences in the past, I have confidence that the GVSU Ceramics FASA (Faculty Accompanying Students Abroad) Program in Korea will provide ample opportunity for my students to fulfill the following objectives:

ISCAEE Symposium / The 5th World Ceramic Biennale Conference / Ceramic Artist Studios & Museums: Through participating in the ISCAEE symposium, attending the World Ceramic Biennale Conference, and visiting various ceramic artists’ studios and museums, students will gain a better understanding of what international contemporary ceramic art is. They will also become aware of the role of ceramics within the contemporary art world, the craft community, and in societies of diverse cultures. The students will be exposed to a variety of new materials and techniques in ceramic art. Students will gain a broader knowledge of materials that support ceramic art production including but not limited to clay bodies, glazes, kilns, tools, etc. Students will learn new techniques/methods of ceramic art making from demonstrations, exhibitions, etc. which will compliment their current means of creation. GVSU & SNUT (Seoul National University of Technology) Ceramics Collaborative Project & GVSU & SWU (Seoul Women’s University) Ceramics Forum: Resources & Networks: Students will foster new ceramic directions by making acquaintances with established international ceramic artists as well as prominent representatives of international ceramics university programs. Students will find and accumulate information about potential career opportunities, at the international level, to pursue upon graduation. These may include but are not limited to Graduate programs, Artist in Residency positions, Apprenticeships, Internships, Special Student positions, Gallery work, etc. Through participating in the collaborative projects with different universities, students will gain an understanding of where they and their work fit within the realm of international contemporary ceramics. They will also have a better understanding of the role of a ceramic artist within the contemporary art world. Lastly, the students will determine what their responsibilities are as a ceramic artist within their respective community.

The primary benefit of the GVSU Ceramics FASA program is that the students will be able to observe, converse and collaborate with established international artists as well as diverse international students as they process ideas from conception to completion. In order to provide the most comprehensive and effective ceramics education, I am always looking for ways to augment my current program. By visiting various university ceramics programs and the ceramic conferences I am certain to learn of technological, methodological, and pedagogical means of enhancing the current Ceramics program in the Art & Design department at GVSU. This experience will also aid in the Ceramics program development as well as allow me to conduct further research regarding the GVSU Ceramics Visiting Artist-In-Residency Program (CAIR) and Michigan Ceramic Art Association (MCAA) “Michigan Mud” conference. The CAIR Program is designed to edify students’ intellectual curiosity, aesthetics, professionalism and social conscience. The CAIR program was approved by the provost and the dean of CLAS and will start at national level in the Fall of 2009. Also, the GVSU Ceramics program will host 2009 MCAA Michigan Mud conference in the Fall of 2009.

In my role as ceramics program coordinator at GVSU, I have been researching the student exchange program possibility between Seoul National University of Technology (SNUT) and GVSU for the past eight semesters. I received positive feedback from SNUT during my past visits and as a result, in Summer 2007, Dae-Jin Kim, Director of the International Program from SNUT visited GVSU and signed a Memorandum of Understanding. Though establishing an international student exchange program has proven difficult to negotiate due to systemic differences, in Fall 2008 a SNUT’s English major student came to GVSU as an exchange student. Recently, SNUT and SWU encouraged the GVSU Ceramics program to collaborate as well as discuss future projects. I believe that GVSU Ceramics FASA program will enhance and sustain the relationships between GVSU & SNUT/SWU. One of the most dramatic contributions to a society comes from visual enrichment, which often leads to a new understanding and questioning of our role in society. The GVSU Ceramics FASA program cultivates cultural diversity within the community at large. It also offers an opportunity for collaboration with the GVSU Interdisciplinary Study Program.



Dean Foster: Art & Design (BFA in Ceramics)

Over the course of the three weeks I spent in South Korea, many things, people and places impacted me and this has opened my eyes to new things. All of which has made me think about my work as an artist and my place with in the community of Grand Valley State University.

My experience at the ISCAEE, International Society for Ceramic Art Education and Exchange, conference and World Ceramics Biennale in Yeoju has sparked a new fire with myself. I was amazed and in awe by the amount of ceramic artists in one place, working simultaneously with students, other artists and anyone willing to get dirty. The first days of the workshops were hosted by the schools with in Korea, and included demonstrations on process, firing, and all other aspects of the ceramic arts. In watching all of the students working together I could tell there was a bond between them and that bond was able to cross the barrier of language with anyone participating. This bond was the ceramics, the clay became a universal wither you spoke Korean, Chinese, Japanese, English or any language. Clay linked us all and this is something that only was affirmed time and time again in my experiences in Korea. I learned that everything I strive for here at GVSU, is present in the world of ceramics. Working on ones own work with vigor and enthusiasm, and simultaneously working together when ever there is a need for extra hands is only a few of the things I saw happening at the Yeoju ISCAEE conference.

The students from the Korean schools were very proficient in their techniques that they used, and also very knowledgeable. Coming from a culture where ceramics is so young it was interesting to see that it still holds strong in a culture where ceramics is at its core. All of the workshops the first two days in Yeoju were very motivating, the students were working the whole time and answering any questions anyone had, and invited other students, artists and professors to join in what they were doing. This continued for two intense days, until it was time for the professor’s and practicing artists to do their workshop demonstrations. This part of the conference offered a new perspective on how people work in the studio. Everyone participating had a work ethic that was beyond anything I have seen. It was quite nice to see how he or she worked and in talking with them, how and where their inspiration comes from. This trip would have been worth every penny just to see all of the Korean school’s and artists, our project was icing on the cake.

The project that we as a group did was in my opinion more successful than any one could have hoped for. Through our interaction with the clay we were able to open conversations between many different people. Our project was as follows:

Art is an individual endeavor. However, if one expresses oneself in another language, one should re-consider whether one is qualified to do so or limited in expression. It is necessary to have a process of signification for art to exist as art. Otherwise, art could merely be a "visual archeology" demanding academic verification. We are interested in exploring multiples and the relationships they hold to a space. Clay itself is a material that relates closely with humans in many ways. This closeness allows for a parallel relationship to occur, as well as, questions to arise that call attention to relationships between the space, clay and us. This offers parallel communication between the clay/space and clay/human exchanges. This is a performative installation project that a simple pretense becomes an Idea & Concept through Material & Process. As a performance, we will attempt to create the space with 2000 lbs. (900 Kg) of clay for 24 hours and the residue in the space will become an installation itself.

This provided us with a great tool for getting to know another culture and allowed us to have a greater respect for the material that we hold so close, and for the power it holds as a material. Our project offered a meeting point for people to communicate in a comfortable situation in which each party knew at a deeper level, the clay. Every person that participated in the project came in to a situation where the presenters and audience had a deep-rooted connection in the material. This allowed anyone to come and have a conversation with us and through the clay we were able to communicate our ideas, relations and emotion to many people despite any spoken language barrier.

After the project days we were off to Icheon to the stage for the World Ceramics Biennale. Here we were able to see two days of lectures by many ceramists form all over the world. This was extremely interesting, every person interacted with the material in a different way, in process alone: from earth materials, to clay, to ceramics. Everyone had their own way however there was never “the best way” it was all ceramics, and that was all that mattered. An artist from the UK whom I became friends with over the course of the trip gave one that had the most impact for me. Gareth Mason’s lecture was about the primal drive for fire deep inside of his soul and how this all influences his ceramic process and experience. This lecture had the most impact because, as of current, I have been having difficulty in expressing my own drive with relation to the clay and my statements about my work. It offered an approach to expression that I had never thought of, and it was done with such a passion that I found so inspirational. At the ISCAEE conference everyone was accepting of everyone else regardless of their position in school or the ceramic world, I didn’t feel like an undergraduate student for the US, I was a ceramic artist among ceramic artists.

The World Ceramics Biennale in Icheon was the next stop on our world wind tour of ceramics in Korea. Here we were able to meet many of the world’s top ceramic artist as well as bare witness to some amazing exhibitions. The international competition was an amazing exhibition containing the biggest names in ceramics, some of who were participating artists. We were able to participate in Nina Hole’s firing, which offered us a chance to work with students from Japan, China, and Korea all at the same time, joining together to accomplish an amazing firing experience. Icheon offered so much in the way of ceramic culture it is hard to pin down anyone thing as the best or even contemplate the lasting effects it will have on me. The stimulation of seeing all of the art, artists, and the beauty of the whole place could be describes as total euphoria. If you have ceramics at the core of your being, then this place is the ultimate place to be. It was here in Icheon that I started to realize that ceramics is where I belong. I saw first hand the cooperation and willingness to work together that makes up the greater world of ceramics. Everything I have been learning at GVSU in the ceramics community was shown to me here at the World Ceramics Biennale. Helping out where ever you can, firing a kiln together, making your work in the most transparent way and being willing to talk about your work with anyone, were just some of the things that I took note of. I would later find out that the studios ran the same way in the universities in Seoul.

Our next several stops were in Seoul, and included 3 universities as well as many famous sites and local cultural areas. We were able to stay on the campus of Seoul National University of Technology (SNUT), this was a beautiful campus in the city. In our tours of the schools we gave a presentation of the ceramics program at GVSU and our work as well as many other students work. This offered a chance for us to see what other studios are like and what type of work they are producing. In giving a lecture at every school, the students there had an opportunity to see our work and ask questions about GVSU and the ceramics program more specifically. The first school we toured was Sookmyung Woman’s University, their school was very nice and the works was quite impressive as well. Through this tour and lecture we were able to then have dinner and tea with the students and their professors. Our next day we went to Seoul Woman’s University, where we had lunch at their university with the students and professor after the lecture and tour. Our last university lecture and tour happened at SNUT where we were staying. In staying at SNUT, getting a tour and giving a lecture, we were able to see many different aspects of the student life there. Wail in Seoul we had the opportunity to visit the studio of two artists that cam to GVSU in the Fall of 2008.

Soon Jung Hong and Eun Mee Lee’s studio was one of the most amazing place I have seen. Their studio was located in an arts community called Heyri, and was also where they lived. It was so eye opening to see two artists living in this amazing area making a living as artists. At the same time they were making their work in a studio where they live, in a unique community, with people passionate about the arts. This whole trip was full of new experiences and ideas that my life, attitudes, and studio practices here have been impacted greatly with out question.

Overall I have realized that staying true to you remains at the front of success in ceramics. Also having a group mind set helps tremendously. Returning to the liberal arts atmosphere at GVSU, I plan on continuing my work with more vigor and enthusiasm, along with continuing the group effort of the studio including the firing of kilns and making of clay. Anything that I can do to help out others in the studio or for that matter anyone in general I will do.

Through this experience I can bring the knowledge of the material, work ethic, sense of community and overall attitude that I felt in Korea to the ceramics studio at GVSU. This will show everyone how much the little things matter including hard work, and working as a team. Also a willingness to help out fellow students when ever possible was something I experienced first hand though our project and the artist demonstrations in Icheon, and also in studio visits in Seoul.

Nora Hipshear: Art & Design (BFA & BA in Ceramics & Art Ed.)

The workshop that I attended during my faculty-let study abroad program consisted of a workshop with the International Society for Ceramic Art Education (ISCAEE) in conjunction with the World Ceramic Art Jamboree (WOCEF). Both organizations hold a conference every two years and this year teamed up for the “Adventures of the Fire” theme in the cities of Yeoju and Icheon. ISCAEE provided housing for the participants, of whom were international students, Korean students and all respective professors accompanying the various schools. The booths that were assigned to the different schools showcased students demonstrating techniques in the ceramic arts as well as their professors and master potters. The workshops were five days, the first two days were all the participating Korean schools, the middle Wednesday was for professor demonstrations, and the final two days were for international student workshops.

The different techniques ranged from traditional throwing (on a potter’s wheel) to contemporary performance art involving the concept of making and working with clay. The various schools were genuinely interested in the goings on of other schools, students and professors from all over the world were given a venue to share and learn about one another. During the Korean student workshops, I had the opportunity to browse and experience some of these new and old techniques. One technique I found very relevant to my own artwork was that of Kim Sun, a student at Seoul Women’s University. The women there were demonstrating the technique of weaving fibers into pottery. I met the girls and they invited me to help them drill holes in the leather-dry pottery. After the holes are drilled, the pots are fired and glazed, and then the fibers are woven into them as the last step of the process. During their demonstration, I was able to inquire about the concept of this artwork. The artist who was utilizing this technique was named Kim Sun, and she explained to me that the fiber made the pots warmer, more welcoming. Kim Sun said pottery can be cold and rigid, but when fibers are woven in, they soften the feeling of the piece and you might be more attracted to it. I was very excited about this concept, and explained that I worked in almost the opposite way, by taking qualities of fabrics and imitating them with clay so they are less welcoming, making the clothing we wear into almost a kind of armor that protects us from the world. The women at Seoul National University became good friends of the Grand Valley State University students, and our friendship was made stronger throughout the duration of our trip. The play between fiber and ceramic is something I have been interested in all through my ceramic artwork, and I have been in contact with Kim Sun since we left. Another student that I was so fortunate to meet was Gin, a student attending Seoul National University of Technology. We had a deep conversation about the basic concepts that drive our artwork and found that we have a lot in common. We both deal with the social pressures on males and females to be gender specific, to adhere to the social norms of society becomes a huge stress. By making artwork that expresses our frustration with this pressure, we are allowed an outlet. Our mutual interest led us to exchange favorite artists' names and ideas for future art projects. Gin has become a great contact both personally and professionally.

I and the rest of the Grand Valley State University students decided to base our workshop in the central characteristic traits that make clay so unique to all other mediums, and that is the malleability, memory, and human touch required with clay to create a work of art. Our focus lay in the touch that clay can capture; the spontaneous can be recorded with it. We decided to build three structures by squeezing and essentially touching the clay once. With one squeeze we make a small unit, with that unit we build a space to live in. Our spaces ended up becoming our “temporary homes” symbolic of our time in Korea, and the small units became symbolic of all the experiences we had that made up that time. As the workshop progressed, we had many interested bystanders, who soon became participants in the building of our temporary homes. The original intention was a reaction and interaction with the space we were given, but our product produced something a little unexpected. By allowing the viewers to become engaged in such a direct way by touching and building alongside us, we produced a meaningful and lasting impression that had almost nothing to do with any product that we might keep. By making a temporary structure, we enriched the preciousness of the experience, which was our goal from the beginning—the experience was the concept, the clay was the medium, and our humanity was the tool.

The collaboration of our workshop was a huge success for our overall experience of Korea. We were able to create something without the stress of trying to “finish” the work or have it become something spectacular. The beauty lay in the experience of working with new people, getting to talk and know who they were, and understand that ceramic professionals everywhere are very similar people. As we moved onto our next city, Icheon, we were now impressed with the size and public interest of the WOCEF Biennial. Some of the Korean culture that I long for now is the rich history and tradition that Koreans will always possess, especially within the ceramic world. The development of ceramic technique is essentially Korean, and this honor is evident in the culture. The public interest and respect was obvious in the numbers of everyday people attending the WOCEF Biennial. There were children all the time, everywhere excited about ceramics, anxious to get to the front of the workshop lines. Along with my Bachelor of Fine Arts, I am also pursuing my Bachelors of Arts in Art Education to teach this to our American children, and I hope to inspire such awe and excitement in my own community.

In Icheon, our professor, Hoon Lee was participating in an international professional workshop. There we were able to watch him work on his performance as well as meet and interact with other professional artists. The variety of work was great, but some of the most impressionable to me were of Nina Hole. She is an artist who works on large, (around 20 feet), architectural sculptures built on site and transformed into their own wood kilns because of their immense size. The project she worked on while at the workshop was spectacular and required teams of people to help build and especially fire this work. Constantly feeding the fire for three days and monitoring the progression was an experience I was most interested in. The teamwork required and knowledge of the process was impressive. While we were assisting part of this process, we were able to interact with other student assistants, mostly graduate levels that were there to assist all the workshop artists. I learned many things from these students, things like how the Korean school system works and the different kinds of classes required for ceramic students. We were quite similar in our education, and even though communication was not always easy, it was always worthwhile. They were able to teach us many things about simple Korean traditions, everyday living and what the Korean words were for certain things.

Our last city was Seoul, and we were hosted in the dormitory on Seoul National University of Technology’s campus. We were able to see the undergraduate campus of our professor, and meet again with some students we had befriended in Yeoju. We had individual rooms which ended up being a relief from the constant companionship that we had been experiencing the entire trip. I found that the privacy helped my companions and I be more at ease and peaceful when we were together during the day. Seoul the city was overwhelming at times, and always interesting. The best way I found to describe Seoul was that everywhere was the same, yet a little different from the large cities of the United States. This dichotomy was in the way that people were a little more friendly and genuinely hospitable, yet the customs leaned towards conservancy in things that were discussable with new acquaintances. Another example was the delightful surprise in architecture, with finding traditional Korean homes tucked in among the modern skyscrapers.

Living with and working with the people of Korea was an experience I can hardly begin to explain. I know that I have improved my skills for meeting, relating to and working with people from all over the world. My understanding of the world has deepened; I do not just know about the rich history of Korea by reading about it in books, but rather I have felt it under my own feet, seen it in the contemporary life, tasted it at every meal, and loved it. I was particularly impressed with this genuine interest and honest hospitality that we were all shown by our hosts. Working and sharing provided an opportunity to relate and befriend many people in my profession, make lasting memories and begin to build my professional international network.

Mackenzie Whims: Art & Design (BFA in Ceramics)
There are no real words for the amount of educational enrichment that I received when I surrendered my mind and previous convictions to an unfamiliar country and culture. In a place where I had no home, no knowledge and no voice, I found myself strangely comfortable and oddly at ease. Traveling to somewhere on the other side of the world when you have never so much as left the continent was an out of body experience for me as well as for the four other students who accompanied me. Boarding the plane that would land in Tokyo, Japan was when the first concept of culture shock became a reality. I was no longer the majority but instead one of very few Caucasians in a crowded area, which was something very different from what I have experienced. I am in no way regretful by any means, yet quickly became very aware of the situation. This is the moment when the adventure that changed my life began.

Upon arriving in the small city of Yeoju we were greeted at our condominium by one of the head directors of the ISCAEE conference. Thus the language barrier began. It was a difficult position to be put in when not only do Koreans speak a different language, but their language is made up of characters instead of letters which made for any type of easy translation to go straight out the window. Throughout the entire trip we were faced with struggles because of this barrier especially when ordering food since we were unfamiliar with anything that was traditionally eaten there. Being an American in Korea was different to say the least. People would stare at us no matter what city we were in because we looked different and clearly were not from there. It got to the point where already being very self-conscious was amplified to much higher extremes.

The younger generations would tend to look at us with an interested and curious expression as the older generations glared in our direction giving us a sense that we did not belong. Many of the teenagers or students that were our age wanted pictures with us, which became a regular occurrence. Although it was an act of affection I do not believe it to be something I shall miss. It was a taste of fame in a sense, which seems glorious when observing it but is soon realized to be invading and overrated. The kindness of the Koreans was seen right away. While walking up and down the strips of vendors at any of the ceramic areas that we visited, we were given gifts or free meals simply out of pure generosity. Korea is a very accommodating country and I only wish that America could be just as inviting to visitors to return the favor.

To say that my outlook on our piece that we were going to be making at the workshop was wrong is a complete understatement. I could not say that I was fully unaware that our project was important but I was definitely not expecting what was to come. I was under the assumption that we were just making our piece for everyone to look at and then leaving. When we started on our work everyone that walked by seemed interested and asked questions about our concept and what the forms were to look like when finished. Many of the observers wanted to help and sat down with us and helped the process progress. Conversations were had, emails exchanged and friends were made. Astonishingly most of the people that we met spoke little to no English. This is when our piece became successful. The whole concept behind it was the process and the experience of us being in Korea where we would only be there temporarily but would make memories that would stay with us forever. That is exactly what we accomplished, in a different way than we imagined. This was the first time that I had been genuinely proud of piece of work.

Walking around and looking at the work of other schools is what changed my perspective on ceramics as an art and the meaning of being an artist. Each school worked in completely different ways with distinctive techniques, tools, clay bodies and concepts but they all shared one thing. Concentration and work ethic was a skill and discipline that they did not in any way lack. I envied their ability to work with a serious attitude towards art yet with a playful and fun atmosphere. Balancing the two is not something I am familiar with nor did I think that it was able to be done. The thing that made me anxious to get back to the studio to make my own work was the different techniques. Schools used slip in ways that I never even thought was possible and could open up so many different doors as to what kind of work I want to do. Color and multiples were used as installation and sculptural pieces, which does not come out a lot in the Grand Valley Art Department. It was then that I realized that art does not have to be specific. It does not have to illustrate a direct and obvious meaning. These pieces were about the viewer. About not only what you felt when you saw it but even how you watched it being made. I am at a loss of which is more important, the process or the product but after seeing both I am convinced that they both serve equal importance and should be treated as such.

I have found that looking at art as an artist is not the same as looking at it from strictly a viewers stand point because you are never just a viewer. You are a critic, a careful observer, an analyzer, a fellow artist and you are inspired by every little thing you see in the world whether you realize it or not. It is important especially for a young artist to take in everything you see and experience and use it to experiment until you find one thing that to you is perfect because until then you cannot be limited to a single thing. Being at Grand Valley I have found myself contained to what I think art is and not what it could be. Once I find something I think I am interested in I stop. I make more thinking that this is my passion when in reality it is just a stepping-stone to getting where I need to go. This trip has helped me realize that I need to test the limits. I need to step over the line until I have pushed something as far as I can and then and only then do I need to step back and walk in a different direction.

A liberal education is about not having one idea of the world. By starting off with a closed mind you are limiting your life to what you already know and believe. There is no right way or one way of thinking about things and that is why a liberal education becomes so important. In the art world you must be open or else you art will suffer. The world is an ever-changing place. With new experiences comes new outlooks and hopefully it will open up more possibilities for your artwork and your life.

I have high hopes for “the next step”. I believe that we have been given an amazing opportunity and now it is our turn to share it with the rest of the students who were unable to attend so that it can not only be life altering for us but maybe for them too. It is our responsibility to make sure that this trip in no way disappears but instead we need to embrace our experiences and use them to our advantage in the art world. It is very hard to change the perspective you have when it is something that you have grown up with and know nothing else. By surrendering your mind to new ideals and unfamiliar concepts you allow yourself to be influenced by things around you that you were once blind to. This trip opened my eyes to say the least. I no longer look at things the same way and am always questioning the purpose of the things we use in our daily lives and through this have found them to be ridiculous and silly. How could one group of people that seem to be a lot like us, think about things in such a completely different way?

Although I do believe that we need to share our pictures and our stories with our fellow ceramic students that is most definitely not enough. Exchanging information can only do so much and does not even touch on what the real point of our trip was. The artistic skills and new knowledge of different techniques, cultures and possibilities in the world of clay needs to be spread. I am certain that holding a workshop where we practice the different things that we picked up in Korea will be much more effective and could possibly alter the way that they do their art as well. The most pleasuring thing is knowing that an entire window of opportunities has opened up for my artwork without even having to change my conceptual meanings. Art is about expressing yourself and being able to connect with the viewer through your work whether it is physically or conceptually. As students it is our duty to try and experiment with anything that we can. If we settle on a single technique so early in our career we become limited in the potential that our art has. There is no way to make something perfect until you have tried everything, failed and tried again.

The students that we met in Korea were one of the major things that made the experience as amazing as it was. They went above and beyond what was expected of a host or even of a friend. Even since we have returned they have sent us emails and stayed connected with us. Never in my dreams had I expected such a welcome and an accommodating group of people to be by our sides with all of our needs. Many of them had never been to the United States before and were more than interested in finding out about our culture. It would be my personal dream to give them a chance and somehow help them financially so that they could endeavor to take part in the same thing that we were so luckily able to do. By bringing them to Grand Valley it would give the rest of the students a chance to exchange ideas and skills in the ceramic field. Some of them were also majoring in other areas of art such as metals or fibers, which would also give those students an opportunity. I find this to be an excellent way of teaching because it is easier to learn from fellow students than from a lecturing professor. Learning from them seemed to be a high privilege and in no way did we ever feel like it was an obligation. Maybe someday the CCA can raise enough money to help these students venture into a world in which they have never been.

Saying that the experience of going to Korea and meeting famous artists and students has been the most rewarding and amazing thing that has ever happened to me, is not saying enough. I could not have been luckier to have such an amazing school that understands and cares about the learning experience for each individual experience. The trip was something I could never have dreamed of and something that I still cannot get out of my mind. I vow never to forget my life in Korea as an American emerging artist and vow to never look back on how I saw the world before my adventure. I have grown as an artist, a student, a friend and as a human being. I believe not only will my work change but my life and I believe it to be the best decision I have ever made. With my new outlook on art I can finally become an artist. With my new outlook on life I can finally conquer the world. For those who do not have the chance to travel, open your eyes, open your mind and find a way to capture everything in the world around you for it will be the inspiration that will transform you from a child to an adult and from a student to an artist.

Rebecca Hagler: Art & Design (BFA in Sculpture)

When visiting with students from the universities during our stay in South Korea there were many differences in the student’s work habit compared to ours at Grand Valley State University. Along with work habit differences there was a cultural separation with traditions in Korean social settings. And lastly, there were differences in the courses offered in the universities compared to Grand Valley State University. These three things helped me to see the differences in the academic disciplines of Grand Valley State University with schools in different cultures.

The Korean student’s work habit was not only very focused and determined but they enjoyed what they did at the same time. They worked continuously at the World Ceramic Art Jamboree as we walked around to visit each tent. Some groups that we met let us join in and help with their workshops. Each group had their own techniques and projects working with the clay from slip work to hand building to wheel throwing. Even though they were working on projects that are very personal to them, they were not afraid to let others work with them. This is different from the work ethic at Grand Valley that I have seen in the past because many of the art students set an imaginary fence around their work. They are not as eager to let other people try their techniques and as a result the collaborations we witnessed in Korea are much harder to come by at Grand Valley. I believe this is one major difference in the academic discipline with Grand Valley and the Universities of Korea.

Secondly, there was a major cultural divide. There was some assumption that it would be different in social settings when in Korea but nothing like what was experienced. I believe the respect level is much higher for each other in Korea. There is a huge separation with males and females. At Grand Valley the interaction between males and females is much different than the students of Korea. Not only was the respect level different with younger adults but also with elders. When a professor or elder would come around to see the workshops the younger males would automatically bow to them and offer the elder whatever he might have a need for at the time. This is a huge change from how the professors are treated at Grand Valley. The elders and professors are not given as much respect, admiration or acknowledgment of their achievements. Another example would be when in public there is a great respect for the elderly. When on a subway the young adults are required to offer their seats up to the elderly. Often if you do not it will be demanded of you. This respect is something that is rarely seen everyday in the United States where it is just the culture and tradition in Korea.

Lastly, there was a large difference in the kinds of courses offered throughout the universities in Korea. The biggest difference with courses offered was noticed in one of the women’s universities we visited, which are numerous throughout Korea. The students at one of the women’s universities are only offered four art majors and of those four they must pick two. The four courses offered are traditional wood painting, ceramics, fibers and jewelry making. Many American feminists would believe that these women are being offered these four choices because we live in a patriarchal society. These courses are considered to be major crafts in the United States and given harassment in the art world at Grand Valley. I myself would have no problem choosing two areas of emphasis at this women’s university but there are no courses offered in large metal work or graphic design like at Grand Valley.

There were many differences that I noticed between the academics in Korean and the academics at Grand Valley State University but the limitations that some of the students have are just the norms in Korean society.

There are also some similarities between our schools as well. We work very hard in our classes at Grand Valley State University just as the students do in the Korean schools. Because we are a liberal educational school we must follow certain rules in our academics just as they do. The academics between Grand Valley and the Korean schools are very different but also similar. I have learned a great deal from the students and their academics in Korea and now can apply those experiences to enhance my liberal education.

I plan to extend my liberal education with these experiences by continuing to explore the Korean culture. Not only can I apply the techniques of traditional Korean artwork into my own work but I plan to take Korean language courses if not through Grand Valley then through an outside source. Along with Korean culture I plan to try and learn about other cultures of the world and explore the idea of getting my masters abroad. These are the long-term explorations of my liberal education.

Meghan Kelly: Art & Design (BFA in Ceramics)

Sometimes words are only humble attempts to explain feelings, emotions, and experiences. It is difficult to properly justify situations that alter life through average words. Reflecting on my travels, I am eager to express something more. Much like art, traveling is a process where realizations linger and resurface over a lifetime. It alters direction and opens up unexpected possibilities. Art and travel are types of nonverbal communication that allow you to experience based on feeling and intuition. The amount of knowledge and wisdom gained through the absorption of different cultures and communities is enough to expand the mind and all definitions of Self. Visiting Korea cannot be deemed simply as an educational experience; it was a life-altering experience that has changed my frame of reference.

Through this life-altering experience my perspective of the world has broadened significantly; I am now a student of the world rather than a student of Michigan, of Grand Valley. Constantly being placed in situations of discomfort and of unfamiliarity, generates new interpretations, new outlooks, and opens the mind up to new possibilities. By realizing that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry and die we can recognize these shared experiences and are then more likely to understand each other. I have found that travel, movement, fluidity, flexibility, change, and adventure are natural inclinations and necessary parts of life and education. To obtain and practice these characteristics will allow me to grow as a person, an artist, as well as a future educator. Black and white seems to exist less and less to me, as I continue to discover the world painted in varying shades of gray. Traveling to Korea has expanded my knowledge of relativity; the reality of life is that we are all connected. At the same time, I realized that the vulnerability I felt being away from home made me hyper-aware of the fascinating differences. Everything is open for interpretation.

Benefits of participating in events and workshops are endless. Exposing myself to professionals has given me a new sense of community, self worth, and has encouraged me to work harder to achieve my goals and dreams. The impossibilities of life are lessened when put into prospective by the people who have already overcome them. True intellect is something that is learned through liberal conversation sparked by passionate people. As a pioneer of this program I believe whole heartedly in the worthiness of traveling, of networking, of allowing yourself to be vulnerable in unfamiliar situations, of forming relationships, of absorbing and reflecting upon information and experiences, and of allowing yourself to be in complete awe of the beauty that surrounds you. More specifically speaking, I can recall sitting around Nina Hole’s kiln in Icheon, singing various songs from different nationalities and attending to the fire. While existing happily in the dark among friends and acquaintances, I had a moment of truly being awestruck by the majesty of this ancient place. This soon transformed into an intensely vivid feeling of wellness and peace.

Traveling to Korea has also affected my spiritual persona in that I realize the eclectic gathering of experience is contributing to my expanding consciousness. As of now I have no particular religious affiliation, which is why I’m perfectly suited to writing about travel for a sense of spiritual connection. The result of my upbringing is that I’m open to most any spiritual tradition, and can see the positive elements of compassion, faith, and personal responsibility. As I grow and change I become aware of my own evolution. While seeking experiences that help me understand my own life and death cycle, I also desire to help others understand their own. The moment I experienced the spiritual resonance of the Buddhist temples of Korea, filled with statues of all shapes, sizes and adornments, monks conducting blessings, and fellow travelers kneeling to receive gestures of peace, I began contemplating the transcendence of all things. The first time I have ever genuinely and literally been overwhelmed by the presence of something greater than the landscape, was visiting the Buddhist temples.

As my life is slowing down again, I’m beginning to realize that one of the biggest rewards of traveling is returning. As I attempt to absorb, reflect on, and express my experiences, I begin to develop a deeper understanding of my own country, beliefs, customs and culture. Adjusting to the patterns and realities of other people sharpens perception, allowing for new levels of appreciation. I feel as though experience can be measured by what you do once you get home. Korea has opened my eyes to the benefits not just of international relations, but relations to all people from all different walks of life. Understanding is such a crucial part of existence, and in order to achieve understanding you must experience life from as many different positions as possible. This trip has also reinforced my belief in art, and in art education. Art helps bridge the gap between generations and cultures. Communication is difficult, however art allows for people to speak without words. Experiencing the unification of people through art has intensified my passion.

Travel has given me the opportunity to step out of the standard patterns of behavior and has allowed me to expand my perception of myself, others, the human condition, the social consciousness of the world in which we live, and the natural wonders of our planet. Similar to art, all senses are heightened while traveling. Our eyes become wide open, our sense of relationship is intensified. I have found that traveling has allowed me the opportunity to see my life in a new light, to realign my true core beliefs, to adjust my priorities and make new commitments. When I undertake traveling on a conscious level, there is an opportunity to witness myself outside my unconscious patterns and routines. I can then use that to refocus my energy and regain balance in life. It seems that unfamiliarity is a great incubator for thought. With a new exposure to such a wide variety of outlooks, I am now questioning many things that have previously seemed concrete. As I stand perched at the beginning of adulthood, everything I experience can still be applied to my life. Traveling and experiencing foreign cultures has given me a reason to question myself, my life, where I belong, and what path I want to take.

We travel, sometimes unknowingly, to learn about impatience, compassion, extravagance, spontaneity, fear comfort, pleasure, paranoia, reserve, and curiosity. While Korea resonates not only in view of past and/or continuing events, but also through the lingering lens of personal visits. While newspaper headlines may tell of terrorist threats and violence in aggressive countries, we venture forth because travel involves a degree of uncertainty and challenge. Traveling is personal, I have difficulty chronicling visits to museums, lectures, and conferences, but I will never forget the softness and kindheartedness of the people I met on this trip. When threats from neighboring communist countries arise, or with the confirmed suicide of the nation’s president, I become connected in a vivid and visceral way because I’ve been there, I know them, I remember. One of travel’s unexpected lessons is that our tense world is smaller than imagined, and most hearts are larger.

There are 195 official countries in the world and each one is unique and individual. Differing customs, values and beliefs adorn the earth’s surface and traveling is a method of increasing awareness of how other people live and survive. In our shrinking world, it’s important that people are exposed to different truths, especially along the cultural boundaries. To be aware of what exists elsewhere is undeniably valuable. The need for understanding and communication across national, cultural, religious, racial and ethnic lines has never been greater. Becoming enlightened and worldly allows for a sophistication that cannot be rivaled. Leaving what is considered familiar to navigate through unknown territory is the ultimate learning experience. Connecting and forming relationships with people in other places makes you a citizen of the world, to travel is to become educated.


Open Art Competition
September 23 - October 8

Contemporary Ceramics Association
Grand Valley State University

The work consists of an exchange between artist and viewer that is facilitated through ceramics. We would like for the piece to be interactive and sculptural. The relationship between the artist and viewer is our main conceptual focus. The piece becomes more about the process of collaborating than the actual physical outcome. We are interested in exploring multiples and the relationships they hold to a space. Clay itself is a material that relates closely with humans in many ways. This closeness allows for a parallel relationship to occur, as well as, questions to arise that call attention to relationships between the space, clay and us. This offers parallel communication between the clay/space and clay/human exchanges. This piece will be installed on the first day of art prize, and documented there after; until the conclusion of art prize. The nature of our process mirrors the temporary, and lasting effects of experiences in life. www.artprize.org

Grand Valley connects with ArtPrize artists, viewers and voters
September 23, 2009

"Parallel Communication," explores how the nature of the process mirrors the temporary and lasting effects of experiences in life. The collaborators for this project, Dean Foster, Meghan Kelly, Mackenzie Whims and Nora Hipshear, are art students attending Grand Valley State University.

Andrew Tankersley's entry "blocks," is beautiful high-fired stoneware ceramic blocks placed in a pattern. The artist has a BFA in Ceramics from Grand Valley State University and engages materials with the intent of researching their physical properties and limitations.


Michigan Ceramic Art Association “Michigan Mud” Biannual Conference
Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI
Friday & Saturday Oct. 2-3, 2009 @ Calder Art Center

Michigan Mud is a conference offered every 2 years by the Michigan Ceramic Art Association. The conference includes demonstrations and lectures by many Michigan ceramic artists. This year the featured guest artist is Mark Chatterly. Primitive figurative sculptor, Mark Chatterley, works with over lifesize figures. Chatterley has 20 years fine art experience, recognized nationally and internationally. The conference also will include sessions on construction techniques, surface treatment, and glazing. Whether a full-time potter or one who wishes they had more time to work with clay, a college art instructor or a public school teacher, a graduate student or someone still in high school, you will find many things at this conference that will be practical. There will be 15+ Demonstrations, Lectures and 4 Exhibitions (Michigan Mud Artist, Student, K-12 Exhibitions & Cup Sale) throughout the conference. For more information please visit Michigan Ceramic Art Association website: www.michclay.com.

2009 Michigan Mud Student Juried Competition

* Mackenzie Whims - G.V.S.U.
* Virginia Goode - G.V.S.U.

* Clay Connections Award to Meghan Kelly - G.V.S.U.


Fall 2009 Ceramics Student Exhibition

Monday, October 26, 2009 - Friday, November 6, 2009
Padnos Student Gallery, Calder Art Center, Grand Valley State University


Radisson Plaza Hotel, Kalamazoo: Friday, November 6, 2009 @ 8:00pm ‐ 9:50pm
Presented by Meghan Kelly, Stephanie Reahm, Nora Hipshear, Stephanie Voelck and Matt LaFleur
Grand Valley State University Students


Krasl Art Center Invitational Exhibition
Grand Valley State University Ceramics Exhibition: Instructors, Students & Alumni
Friday, February 26 – Sunday, April 25, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 5:30pm – 7:30pm

“Everyone has a relationship with ceramics, be it quotidian, functional, scholarly, inspired, or otherwise.” _Hoon Lee

Grand Valley State University’s ceramics program utilizes a cross-disciplinary approach combined with national and international diverse working methods, push boundaries and surpass expectations. This exhibition will feature ceramic art by program coordinator Hoon Lee, instructor Daniel Bare, select students and alumni.



2011 GVSU Ceramics FASA (Faculty Accompanying Students Abroad) Program in Japan: The ISCAEE (International Society for Ceramic Art Education and Exchange) International Ceramic Art Symposium

Hoon Lee: Ceramics Program Coordinator, Assistant Professor
Department of Art & Design, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Grand Valley State University

THE ISCAEE (International Society for Ceramic Art Education and Exchange) INTERNATIONAL CERAMIC ART SYMPOSIUM IN JAPAN

As the GVSU Ceramics program coordinator, I am organizing the GVSU Ceramics FASA (Faculty Accompanying Students Abroad) Program in Japan. I received an invitation to attend the 2011 The ISCAEE (International Society for Ceramic Art Education and Exchange) International Ceramic Art Symposium in Japan. The symposium is one of the largest international ceramic symposia and this year 32 universities from 15 countries were invited to participate in the symposium, including GVSU. I would like to take five of my students to Japan in September 2011 for two weeks to take part in the symposium by exhibiting their work, giving a presentation, and participating in many activities during the symposium. This project is the second international project I have spearheaded, with the first being the GVSU Ceramics FASA Program in Korea in 2009.

: To introduce and share research findings -at an international level- on ceramic forms and ways of expression throughout the history of mankind, as well as on the development of ceramic techniques, from a historical point of view. In addition, we are looking forward to stimulating and internationalizing well-known ceramic production centers in Japan, through the presentation of their ceramic culture and industry.
HOST: Tokyo University of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts

: International Society for Ceramic Art Education and Exchange (ISCAEE), Japan Society of Ceramic Art (JSCA), The Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Taito Ward Chapter

: Friends of JSCA (JSCAF), Kasama City and Toride City, both in Ibaraki Prefecture, Kasama City Board of Education, Toride City Board of Education

DATES: *Symposium: September 17 (Sat.) – September 28 (Wed.), 2011 (12 days) *Field Trip: September 29 (Thur.) – October 1 (Sat.), 2011 (3 days)


• Opening/Closing Ceremonies: National Olympics Memorial Youth Center, Yoyogi
• International Ceramic Art Exhibition: Exhibition Hall at Tokyo University of the Arts, School of Fine Arts, Ueno, Tokyo
• Anagama Firing (wood kiln): Tokyo University of the Arts, Toride Campus Toride City, Ibaraki Prefecture
• Open Air Firing in Toride: Tokyo University of the Arts, Toride Campus Toride City, Ibaraki Prefecture
• Students’ Ceramic Art Competition: Ceramics Department, Tokyo University of the Arts, Ueno, Tokyo
• Instructors’ Demonstrations: Ceramics Department, Tokyo University of the Arts Ueno, Tokyo
• Open Air Firing Demonstrations in Kasama: Ibaraki Educational Research Center, (same location as the Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum), Kasama Fine Art Park, Kasama City, Ibaraki Prefecture
• Ceramic Art Symposium in Kasama: Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum, Kasama City, Ibaraki Prefecture
• Ceramic Art Symposium in Tokyo: National Olympics Memorial Youth Center,
• Field Trip: Nikko, Mashiko (both in Tochigi Prefecture), Gyoda (Saitama Prefecture), and others


• Content: Demonstrations by instructors from various countries.
• Venue: Ceramics Department, Tokyo University of the Arts, Ueno, Tokyo


• Date: September 25 (Sun.)
• Content: Open Air Firing Demonstrations from different countries
• Location: Ibaraki Educational Research Center – Kasama Fine Art Park


• Content: Anagama Firing
• Dates: September 19 (Mon.) to September 26 (Mon.), 2011. Kiln unpacking, Sep. 26
• Venue: Toride Campus, Tokyo University of the Arts, Toride City, Ibaraki Prefecture


• Dates: September 19 (Mon.) to September 28 (Wed.), 2011
• Venue: Exhibition Hall at Tokyo University of the Arts, School of Fine Arts


• Date: September 25 (Sun.), 2011
• Theme: “Open Air Firing Techniques around the world and their influence”

• Dates: September 27 (Tue.) and 28 (Wed.), 2011

• Dates: September 29 (Thur.) to October 1 (Sat.), 2011 (2 nights)
• Program: Visit to temples, Shrines an Kilns in Nikko, Mashiko (Tochigi Prefecture), and Gyoda (Saitama Prefeture)

GVSU FASA & ISCAEE REPORT: Maureen McDonald: Art & Design, Ceramics

There is much one can do to open their eyes and broaden their horizons. Among those are doing research, looking at images, investing time and exploration and also experience. Experience being the most valuable, in my opinion. By experiencing a complete culture change, traveling to the opposite side of the world, I have been able to experience going abroad, being displaced and sampling of many cultures from all over the world. There is no better way to experience than to see and to feel, to touch, taste, explore. The time I spent exploring Japan is something I will refer back to my entire life, continuously remembering shards of the trip and cherishing the experiences I had abroad. Not only will my artwork and educational endeavors be affected by this trip, my approach to being a responsible, global citizen will forever be linked to Japan.

For two and a half weeks, I was immersed in a culture and an area completely foreign to me. Prior to our departure, we had very little information, I knew no Japanese, and had no expectations. How do I prepare for a trip I knew very little about? Arrive with open eyes and a yearning for experience. We arrived in Japan on a sunny and humid Saturday afternoon. Fast forward 2 hours, 3 train changes and countless elevator rides later, we arrived exhausted to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2011 International Society for Ceramic Art Education and Exchange (ISCAEE) symposium, hosted by Tokyo University for the Creative Arts. The opening ceremonies welcomed us and allowed us to meet many people and get somewhat acquainted with the symposium environment.

For the next 14 days, the symposium provided for a mobile community, lectures, demonstrations, exhibitions, an anagama firing and student workshops.

A unique aspect of the symposium was being a part of such a diverse but exceptionally collaborative group of people with one central connection, clay. To co-exist and converse with the same group of people daily for 2 weeks was a valuable exchange of cultures and basic human interactions. In one aspect, it seemed as if we were all at a summer camp, with so many meals, events and travels with each other. The symposium almost acted a large social activity or experiment of societies from all over the world. With our matching red and purple t-shirts with coordinating name badges, we moved and operated like a large, traveling clan of clay heads. Although a majority of the attendees were displaced from their own societies, the interaction between so many on a daily basis allowed for and enhanced a true community feeling. There was a true exchange, not only of ideas, ceramics, and friendship, but also a cross-cultural community exchange. Even with a great language barrier, the symposium was a valuable experience to learn from.

With 9 countries and 27 schools represented, 210 artists, students, professors, and instructors came together with dirt as our main connector. Clay provided the common ground among us, rendering the vast language differences into a minor detail when communicating through clay. We became friends and shared a bond over clay. Included in the symposium was the International Ceramics Exhibition, where artworks were separated by floor, first floor showing the instructors and professors, second floor displayed the student artwork. Following a welcome speech from deans of the schools and sponsors of the symposium, the exhibition opened and everyone attended the opening. The show itself had large variety of pieces, ranging from tiny pots and traveling Buddha’s to a large, human-sized sculpture of a man. The works represented each school and area by varying clay bodies, glazes recipes and process.

Demonstrations took place for two days, featuring 6-10 demonstrators each day, each exhibiting their processes simultaneously. One demonstration I particularly enjoyed was Christopher Archer, from New Hampshire Institute of Art. He quickly threw grapefruit sized spheres and then proceeded to let them dry a bit, while he threw some mugs. During his entire demo, a group of elderly Japanese women surrounded him. Although they could speak very limited English and Chris understanding very little Japanese, the communication occurring between them was an amazing thing to watch. Although I also knew very little Japanese, I was able to fully understand everything the ladies were asking. The actual mug Chris had thrown had become the transmission of communication, rendering the physical object as a catalyst for idea and information exchange. He then rolled each sphere out on a board, applying just enough pressure to locate any throwing errors and cause a deep crack, unable to be repaired. With added pressure, the crack opens and causes the sphere to lose its sphere identity and resembles an explosion of minor proportions. The purpose of the rolling is to expose the error of the maker, from the inside out. This reversal, exploring the errors from the inside out, as opposed to the opposite is an interesting and unique way of working with clay. What if more people approached their vessels in this way? What kind of vessels could be created if explored from the inside out?

Zhou Guanghzen’s artwork, demonstration, and lecture were also highlights of my symposium experience. His work was light hearted and fun, reminding me that artwork, ceramic art especially, is not always about the functionality and can have a sense of humor. During his demonstration, he didn’t speak much, just worked quickly and rapidly. Throughout the course of the day, he created a foot, balancing on the ball and toes of the foot. This foot, however, was approximately the height of an actual human leg, from foot to hip. Attached to this foot was a dancer, in tiny proportions in comparison it’s massive foot. I enjoyed the scale and proportions he was balancing in order to complete his sculpture. After viewing his lecture a few days later, I became aware of the importance of scale in his sculptures. One of my favorite pieces of his work involved a large, oversized representation of his right hand. The sculpture was photographed with himself in it, as his large, exaggerated hand is extended holding a glass of wine. His brief artist statement gives insight into his mission, “I believe that an artist should be talented in creating many kinds of things. An art work should have some kind of visual power, surrealistic shock and a sense of humor.” From the images show in his presentation and through his demonstration, I believe his statement could not describe his work and approach to ceramic arts more appropriately. I am thrilled with the opportunity I had, seeing him work, hearing him speak and learning about his approach, his artwork will remain in my catalogue of artists to reference.

The Japanese culture is a unique thing to observe and be a part of. Throughout our stay, we became familiar with the Tokyo Subway system. Each and every train ride supplied ample amounts of people watching and human exchange. The Japanese people as a whole were incredibly respectful, both to each other and to their environment. Trains packed with people, like a can of sardines, would be silent. The elderly and less capable people were always given priority of seats. Although the massive train stations themselves were constantly swarming with people, I never felt overwhelmed or crowded, regardless of the population. Even while traveling through Shibuya, Tokyo’s most densely populated ward, I never felt like part of the masses, nor did I feel or notice any large masses to combat while walking down the street. The city was a perfect blend of history and tradition mixed with urban development and technologies. Parks were found throughout the city and offered a place for locals to practice instruments, walk their dogs, ride their bikes, run, sit, picnic, and sometimes sleep. Yoyogi Park became a close favorite to us attending the Symposium, due to its proximity to the Youth center we were housed in. The Park was also the intermediate between Harajuku, a popular shopping district and the city. Included in this park was the Meiji Jingu Shrine, where visitors can experience a traditional Japanese shrine, receive a fortune, place prayers around the prayer tree or even witness a traditional Japanese wedding. Such places allow visitors to experience a history, possibly much deeper and long standing than their own. Coming from such a young country, I felt very honored to have witnessed a traditional Japanese wedding processional and also witness such a sacred place as an outsider.

The one and only drawback I could find about the city was the lack of trash receptacles. However, when found, each trash was not just a trash container, but a miniature recycling center, divided up into combustible, non-combustible, glass, cans, and plastic sections. I was extremely impressed with the recycling efforts in what is considered the world’s most populous metropolitan area, and I look forward to bringing some of this sustainable momentum into action on our campus.

The last portion of our trip was a weekend trip to the Hakone peninsula, through the mountains to the town of Atami, located on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. While this little excursion was a separate part of the Symposium, a majority of the Symposium attendee’s came along for the journey. On three chartered busses, we departed for the trip and headed first to the Pola Museum of Art. Built into the side of a mountain, the trek there offered winding, up and downhill roads and a gorgeous view of Mt. Fuji. With brief stops at the Hakone Open Air Museum and Lake Ashi, we continued to our Japanese style inn, Hotel Ikeda. The hotel featured large rooms with gorgeous views of the ocean each room with traditional Atami flooring with futon mats as beds. Each room also included a Yukata for each person. The inn also offered traditional Japanese meals as well. A large, ocean-facing room held all 200 of us for both dinner and breakfast, where we sat on legless chairs and dined on traditional Japanese food each in our own Yukata. This historical tradition of eating on the floor was an interesting experience. The unfamiliarity of the food combined with eating with chopsticks provided for some meals I will never forget. I believe that experiencing the historical traditions of the Japanese allowed for me to further connect my roots to Japan’s enriched culture.

On the final day of the trip, we visited the Creare Atami-Yugawara Studio, where large-scale ceramic and stained glass murals are created. The mural the artists were currently working on featured 26 large, organic shapes being mounted on a cast cement wall. The scale and shape of these objects were especially appealing to me, as well as the planned design of the completed mural. I was inspired by their size and also their method, by placing large masses of clay on boards and removing from that to reveal the shape. Also, by working on the floor, the artists were then eliminated most possibility for damage by moving. I will continue to reflect upon this studio visit, especially in terms of my artwork.

The Symposium as a whole was not just about ceramics and artwork. I believe the Symposium allowed for an open exchange of ideas and technologies, but provided much more than information. The Symposium allowed for a ceramics community to be formed with complete strangers in 2 weeks, allowing for deep connections between both people and concepts. The information exchanged was just the tip of the iceberg, in my opinion. This experience allowed for participants to absorb perspective and experiences unlike any one has ever experienced. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to explore the world, but also to explore societies and further attempt to grasp for my position and ideologies as a global citizen.

GVSU FASA & ISCAEE REPORT:Rachel Marcincavage: Art & Design, Ceramics

There are pictures being taken, last minute hugs, and a glimmer of fresh tears as everyone tries to comprehend the fact that our journey is over. While the final goodbye waves are shared, a flood of sadness washes over me as I bear to think that my time here in Japan has come to an end. I close my eyes and allow the events of the past two weeks to fill my senses- the crowded streets of Tokyo, the breathtaking mountains in Izu, and the peaceful coast of Atami. I think of the skilled hands of the artists that seamlessly meld with the clay to form smooth, perfect vessels, and the collections of ceramic pieces from centuries past. Images of fresh fish and pickled mystery vegetables flood my mind, as does the desire for a home-cooked meal. I picture the faces of the people that were once strangers, and the meaningful conversations we had, often despite the language barrier. Never in my life have I been so inspired by a group of people, not only for their talent, but also for their character. With this thought I return to my present, content and eager to return home.

The ISCAEE Symposium in Tokyo, Japan was one of the most significant experiences I have had thus far in my life. It was not only educational, but more importantly it was inspiring for a young artist such as myself. I was initially a bit anxious with what to expect from the conference, being so fresh in the ceramics program at Grand Valley, but I feel as if my inexperience allowed me to absorb even more from those around me.

I really enjoyed the demonstrations done by the professors and artists of the involved universities of the symposium. I had not seen much wheel-throwing work so I found those demonstrations the most fascinating. I was excited to learn that Yin Hang (Tsinghua University, China) was displaying her process for I saw her pottery in the ISCAEE exhibition and found it extremely appealing. She first made very delicate porcelain, wheel-thrown teapots and teacups. She then added these graceful, organic handles to the vessels, which was my favorite part of her work. It took her the most time to shape and form the handles. It was amazing to see her process and technique.

Another memorable demonstration was that of Jang-Ryong Kim (Jung Ang University, Korea). The artist made wheel thrown vessels that had a very interesting and visually pleasing signature. After the form was thrown, a flat ring of clay was formed around the vessel, which was then warped by spinning the wheel while smothering the ring with his hands. The result was a delicate, ribbon-like streak of clay around the cup. I really enjoyed this approach because what started out as a flawless form was given the element of chance and momentary chaos.

Two memorable demonstrations for me were from professors of New Hampshire Institute of Art. I think I responded to these because I was finally able to listen and understand their explanations as I watched their processes. John Baymore demonstrated a technique where is painted sodium silicate on the outside of a vase. This stopped the clay from being plastic and would create cracks on the outside. The heat from the blowtorch, which was used to help dry the piece more quickly, and the sodium silicate drove the moisture from the clay body inside so that a pool of water gathered at the base. I thought this was an interesting technique and was intrigued to see what the piece would look like fired and glazed. Christopher Archer’s demonstration also articulated an interesting process. The artist demonstrated his technique of making vases. First, he would form a sealed sphere of clay. After letting the piece sit, he would take the leather-hard sphere and warp it by rolling it along a table. The history of his finger marks would promote a tear at a specific point in the piece, thus creating an opening, which he would then manipulate to the desired look. I found the technique distinctive and the process personal and almost narrative.

I took something away from each demonstration, and I became very excited and enthusiastic to take the wheel-throwing class next semester. The other half of the symposium consisted of a series of lectures from the same professors from participating institutions, as well as some students. The lectures were not as captivating for me as the demonstrations were. It was at times difficult to follow the lecture due to the need to stop every few sentences in order for the speaker to be translated between Japanese, Chinese and English. There were a couple of presentations that I found extremely interesting; those being a documentary video shown by Magdalene Odundo (University for the Creative Arts, UK) and the explanation of what a CNC machine was by Professor Lee (Kang Nam University). I was not familiar with the design process of the latter, but the night before I attended a gallery opening where this technique was used; I found the pieces very beautiful, and I was intrigued to know more. CAM stands for Computer Aided Manufacturing where 2D designs are digitally turned into three-dimensional works. It was difficult to fully understand the system process in such a short amount of time, and I hope to research this process in more detail.

Magdalene presented a video on native Kenyan potters and their techniques for creating and firing traditional pottery. The video follows potters from three different communities including women who make beautiful hand-built vessels and local males who use a throwing wheel. It is a struggle for the women who make the hand-built vessels to compete with the wheel thrown pottery, for the technique allows for faster production. The central theme of the documentary is tradition and the continuation of these techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. The film shown was only a partial version, and I can’t wait to view the entire documentary for this was the lecture that interested me the most.

Overall the demonstrations and lectures impacted my understanding of my chosen field of study in a very significant way. Every aspect of the symposium influenced my thinking and the way I saw my craft. Before the conference, I thought that the point of my undergraduate education was to try and master my medium and find a voice in my work. What this time has shown me is that this profession is a never-ending lesson of new experiences and that the familiarity of my medium will come with time. There is no rushing the trial and error of ceramics and as I travel and open my eyes to new things my style and approach will develop in due course.

I have also gained a better understanding of the trials that I will face as I leave the comfort of the university atmosphere. I have learned that networking and exposing myself to strangers that love the same work as I do is exponentially important as I graduate and move on to the next stage in my education. There is no gallery show too small, or artist inexperienced; there is an inspiration in everything I open my eyes to and a connection to be made.

My favorite event of the visit was the fieldtrip to Izu, Hakone, and Atami. It was really nice to escape from the formalities of the conference and to sightsee with the new friends that I had made. I really enjoyed the Foujita exhibit at the Pola Museum of Art. I had not heard of this artist and was really impressed by his range of mediums. I preferred his paintings, for they were so delicate and the depictions of children so charming and expressive. The Hakone Open Air Museum was another high point of the trip. Not only was the setting absolutely gorgeous, but also the museum’s collection was really impressive. I recognized the Henry Moore works, but I have to say one of my favorite pieces was the structure made from wooden beams. The true treasure was what was on the inside of the wooden structure; inside was a crocheted web of bright colors that formed a play area for children. Unfortunately, I was above the age limit by fifteen or so years.

The hotel that we stayed in was absolutely beautiful and was made even more so by the use of traditional Japanese tatami flooring. Atami is known for its onsen hot springs, and the hotel had an onsen that we were able to experience and enjoy. The coast was right outside of the hotel as well so many of us went for a nice swim in the Pacific Ocean for the very first time. The trip was a wonderful experience full of fun, learning, and culture.

Japan was an amazing country to be able to visit, and I could not be more thankful for the experience. The students and staff of Tokyo University of the Arts were the most gracious hosts, providing us with delicious meals for receptions and continuous assistance in every endeavor. My fondest memories apart from the symposium are the late night ramen parties with Korean friends, shopping in Harajuku, sushi in Shinjuku, and the peaceful and refreshing experience of visiting the temples around Tokyo. I have been inspired in so many ways, in both my studio practice and life. It is impossible to experience such a trip and not walk away changed, even in the smallest of ways. In Japan we learned, but most importantly we lived.


Summer 2011 GVSU & SeoulTech International Ceramics Workshop & Exhibition
July 1 - 30, 2011

GVSU Faculty: Hoon Lee + Blair Clemo
GVSU Students: Rebecca Bloem + Brian Westrick + Maureen McDonald + Brent Westrick + Grace Anderson + Meghan Kelly + Rachel Evans
SeoulTech Faculty: Myungah Lee + Jungsuk Lee + Jeea Lee
SeoulTech Students: Misun Kim + Hyungsik Kim + Hyeuwon Park + Kyunghee Yang + Jisun Aeo + Jeonghyun Lee + Inha Cha + Jisun Hwang
Visiting Artists: Jeremy Brooks + Alanna DeRocchi + Brian Caponi + Kyungmin Park



Art & Design Department
Grand Valley State University
1412 Calder Art Center
1 Campus Dr.
Allendale, MI 49401

Ceramics Program Coordinator
Associate Professor of Art & Design
Grand Valley State University
1402 Calder Art Center
1 Campus Dr.
Allendale, MI 49401

Ceramics Technician/Instructor
Grand Valley State University
1404 Calder Art Center
1 Campus Dr.
Allendale, MI 49401