Making and collecting go hand-in-hand because artists need
input to help stimulate their output. What is it about these pieces that
inspire these wood-fire artists enough to bring this work into their homes
to interact with on a daily basis?
“For the Fire” shows the work of several prominent ceramic
artists along with a piece from each of their personal collections. All of
the artists in the exhibition work with wood-fired kilns and live or work
between I-80/90 and US Route 30. In the west, Dick Lehman and Mark Goertzen
operate the Lehman-Goertzen studio in Goshen, Indiana and fire in Mark’s
kiln in Michigan. Mark Nafziger of Brush Creek Pottery is resident potter at
Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio. John Balistreri is Professor of Art in
Ceramics and head of the 3D studios at Bowling Green State University. Cary
Hulin runs the Holmes County Pottery in Big Prairie, Ohio, firing one of the
largest wood-kilns in Ohio. And, finally, ending in the east, Kirk Mangus,
Professor of Art, and Eva Kwong, adjunct faculty, are both
internationally-renowned artists who teach at Kent State University.
One of the goals of this exhibit is to showcase the
tremendous variety within the wood-fire aesthetic as not
all wood-fired pots are the same. In fact, though most fired ceramics today
is fired with either gas or electric, the vast majority of historic ceramic
work was fired with wood. Only after petroleum-based fuels and electric
kilns became cheaply available did wood stop being the fuel of choice.
in the 1960’s, Japanese potters began relearning the use of more primitive
wood-fueled kilns to recapture the look of the older historic pottery they
admired. These kilns did not protect the pieces from the flying ash given
off by the burning wood, as the more modern designed wood-fueled kilns did, but
allowed it to change the surface of the pieces. This interaction between ash
and piece is the basis of the current “wood-fired” aesthetic and what
wood-fired work from work fired in kilns using other fuels. This exhibition
helps to show the variety of surfaces and finishes
the various wood-fired kilns commonly used today.
Beyond exhibiting the work of these artists, this exhibition
also invites you into their homes, as it were, to
a sampling of the art that inspires them and has
the work they create. Whether it’s the first piece the artist collected or
the work of a dear friend, these pieces
these pieces all serve to inspire.