April 30, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Annual Ceramics Sale Features Work by VSU Faculty, Students

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s Department of Art will host its 12th annual Mother’s Day Ceramics Sale from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, May 2, and Saturday, May 3, in Room 136 of the Fine Arts Building.

Besides a few of his own creations, Michael T. Schmidt, interim art department head ceramics professor, said that all of the pieces available for purchase were created by VSU students currently enrolled in advanced ceramics courses. Hundreds of items are for sale, including teapots, vases, utilitarian cups, bowls, plates, and jars, as well as sculptural forms.

“It’s a great opportunity for community members, students, faculty, and staff to visit the Fine Arts Building and step inside the ceramics studio,” he said. “Most people don’t even know we have such a great faculty with outstanding student work. They know about the gallery or the theatre or the symphony; the ceramics lab is right around the corner from all of that. Visitors get a chance to talk with the students — and the professor  — ask questions about ceramics, and see the equipment and the end results of their hard work and dedication to a difficult craft. Plus, they can buy something handmade and useful, and it makes a great gift, too.”

Thirty percent of all sales will benefit the Department of Art’s Visiting Artist Fund. Schmidt said the department uses these funds to bring visiting ceramics artists to the campus for one- or two-day workshops and lectures, a tradition at VSU.   

In a previous interview, Schmidt noted that bringing nationally and internationally recognized artists to VSU was “imperative. While enrolled at VSU, the students are receiving a rigorous education housed in facilities that are top quality. Since I am the only ceramics professor at VSU, everything ceramics related comes from me. However, I feel it is essential for students to see how others work in the discipline of ceramics and field of art in general. I also believe that the students should get a female perspective on ceramics. My goal is to bring ceramics artists to the Department of Art that are different from me and how I work and teach. Watching, listening, asking questions to an outside artist or educator gives the students a different perspective; hopefully this helps in their quest to become a mature artist … The experience is invaluable.”

Previous visiting artists have included Julie Guyot of Tallahassee, Fla.; Mark Knott of Atlanta; Brian Jensen of Utah Valley University, Utah; Brooke Cassidy of Charleston, S.C.; Suzannah Zucker of the University of Georgia; Stephen Heywood of University of North Florida; Chuck Johnson of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; and Ryan Fitzer of Southern Methodist University, Texas.

Funds from the sale will also benefit student travel to the annual National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference. Schmidt said students who attend the conference have the opportunity to see high profile ceramics exhibitions and artist demonstrations; interact/network with other students, faculty and artists from across the United States and around the world; investigate graduate schools and residency programs; and experience much more. The 2014 conference was held in March in Milwaukee, Wis., Schmidt’s home state. The 2015 conference will be held in Providence, R.I.

Schmidt said that the community’s and university’s “support is truly appreciated.” He encouraged everyone to “just stop on in, listen to some music, and see what’s happening in the world of clay at VSU.”

VSU’s Department of Art offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in art, the

Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in interior design, the Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in art education, and the Bachelor of Arts with a major in art. Individuals seeking instruction in ceramics are exposed to a variety of methods and concepts, such as coil, pinch, slab construction, extruding, and wheel throwing techniques in a traditional studio environment. Emphasis is placed on the creation of functional and sculptural forms, employing a wide range of materials, like stoneware and porcelain, with an exploration of techniques, such as electric/oxidation, raku, soda firing, and high fire reduction. Advanced ceramics students gain exposure to methods and concepts, such as plaster mold making, multiples, sets, installation, and digital transfers.

Contact Michael T. Schmidt, VSU professor of art, at mschmidt@valdosta.edu or (229) 249-4913 or visit www.facebook.com/michaeltschmidtceramics for more information about the Mother’s Day Ceramics Sale.

Call (229) 333-5835 or visit www.valdosta.edu/art to learn more about VSU’s Department of Art.

Visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/valdostastate/sets/72157644032939367/ to view photos of select items available for purchase at the Mother’s Day Ceramics Sale.