Featured Profiles Archive

Artist Jay Strommen at The Chicago Ceramic Center

 "Jayzo" Strommen at The Chicago Ceramic Center For Chicago artist Jay Strommen, life is all about transforming the conceptual into the material.  Strommen, also known as “Jayzo”, is the founder of the Chicago Ceramic Center at the Bridgeport Art Center located just southwest of the home of the White Sox on Old Bubbly Creek.  A lifelong accomplished ceramic artist, Strommen opened the center in October of 2015 with a beginning wheel throwing class for about 15 students.  Just as Strommen’s clay pieces are sincere expressions of his artistic ideas, he sees the Ceramic Center as an evolving manifestation of a collection of his ideas about the usefulness of the human hand, the importance in mentoring, global politics, agriculture, and the petro-chemical industry.    Strommen tells his personal history with constant references to people, places, and experiences that helped to form and direct him.  The son of a Minnesota bicycle shop owner, he learned early to use his hands.  “Everything about my childhood,” he says, “was all about figuring out how to be useful, how to use your hands to make something useful. ...
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Skutt’s Mike Sievers to present Kiln Workshop

February’s Second Saturday at Ceramic Supply Chicago will feature Mike Sievers from Skutt Ceramic Products in Portland, Oregon.  Mr. Sievers is the Director of Marketing at Skutt and an expert in the operation and maintenance of kilns.  He will present a very useful seminar on various aspects of kiln use.  He says, “This information can be applied to all makes of kilns, not just Skutt products, and is useful for both teachers and potters, alike.”    Mr. Sievers will customize his presentation for the skill level of workshop participants.  He will cover a comprehensive range of topics, starting with how to properly, safely, and efficiently set up the kiln room.  He will discuss the importance and types of venting, for both the room and the kiln, touching on how this often-overlooked factor can influence kiln life and the quality of fired pieces.  Next, he will review programming the kiln, comparing the advantages of manual and automatic programming.  He will provide a pre-firing check-list, discuss things to do during and after firing, and go over some basic maintenance tips that will make the kiln last longer.  Finally, he will demonstrate how to make simple repairs, such as changing an element. With over 23 years of experience at Skutt, Mr. Sievers inevitab...
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Judith Schwartz, Ceramics Scholar

“Scholar” is not a term often associated with ceramic artists, not even with those who have spent a lifetime expressing through clay.  We tend to think of artists as doers, not thinkers, or perhaps as people who do their thinking with their hands.  For Dr. Judith Schwartz, of New York University, humankind’s most elemental making material inspires a complexity of thought that spans the gamut of intellectual disciplines.  From anthropology to architecture, from art history to politics, Schwartz looks to clay to inform these human pursuits. As a board member and program chairperson at Clay Art Center in Westchester County, Schwartz helped guide In Our Backyard, a yearlong series of programs that explore the impact of ceramics in the New York area.  Schwartz calls clay “the newest oldest material on the face of the earth,” noting its ubiquitous nature in both history and present times.  She points to a recent article in the New York Times that tells of an archeological find in Israel.  A ceramic shard marked with writing was clearly used as a note pad for a shopping list, directing the ancient servant to buy wine, flour and oil, and not to be late!  (See ...
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Creative Evolution: Tom Radca, Ceramic Artist

With more than four decades of working with clay, Tom Radca has made a lot of pots. This 65-year old ceramic artist virtually buzzes with enthusiasm about his work. The history of his years as a potter is a virtual creative evolution, as he continues to transform his inspiration and techniques. There are no signs of complacency or burnout in this man who is opening a new door with the founding of his Radca Ranch School of Ceramics on the family farm outside the rural village of Port Washington, Ohio. Radca explains his motivation: “I don’t care how successful one of my series is. When I’m tired of it, I’m done with it.” This willingness to move forward to wherever his creative impulses take him drives the diversity of his work. He credits many mentors along his way with guiding him, but it is his openness to what presents itself that yields his vast creative output. Radca’s start in ceramics improbably can be traced to the United States Air Force. As an uninspired high school student during the Vietnam era, Radca knew his fate would likely take him to the battlefield. In 1969, he enlisted in the Air Force, a move that landed him in Wichita, Kansas working as a jet mechani...
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Michael Harbridge Presents a “Puzzling” Mold Workshop on August 12

Michael Harbridge Presents a “Puzzling” Mold Workshop on August 12
Join us for August's Second Saturday Free Demonstration.     Michael Harbridge will give a demonstration of his Puzzler molds, an easy way to create forms by pressing wet clay into plaster molds. Fr...
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Join Us for the Next Second Saturday Free Demonstration

Join Us for the Next Second Saturday Free Demonstration
Brush Use and Care Demonstration Royal Brush Company 2nd Saturday, July 8th, 2017 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM July's Second Saturday at Ceramic S...
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This Weekend: Guest Artist Justin Rothshank at CSC

This Weekend: Guest Artist Justin Rothshank at CSC
Free demonstration and presentation by Guest Artist Justin Rothshank   2nd Saturday, June 10th, 2017 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM   Justin Rothshank has been working as a studio ceramic artist in Goshen, Indiana since 2009. In 2001 he co-f...
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$5000 Prize DEADLINE JUNE 9!

$5000 Prize DEADLINE JUNE 9!
Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize In 1997, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Contemporary Craft, a $5,000 prize for excellence in the field of contemporary craft was established. The biennial award is given in conjunction with a catalogue, juried exhibition in the gal...
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The Drawn Surface: Underglaze Pencil and Washes on Clay with CJ Niehaus

The Drawn Surface: Underglaze Pencil and Washes on Clay with CJ Niehaus
Upcoming at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh       The Drawn Surface: Underglaze Pencil and Washes on Clay with CJ Niehaus Saturday, June 3 10 am - 4 pm
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