Saturday, October 20, 2018

2018 Warren MacKenzie Advancement Award - Kelsie Rudolph

Kelsie Rudolph here – one of the 2018 WMAA recipients. This grant made it possible for me to travel to South Korea to work with artist and designer Hun Chung Lee. As one of the most important contemporary artists here in South Korea, he is widely recognized for his ceramic furniture and business Bada Design Atelier. I met Hun Chung a few years ago through a recommendation by my professor Josh DeWeese. At the end of my short stay at his home/studio he offered me a job, to come stay and work after I graduated. So here I am two years later! It’s been an incredible first few weeks of work and travel with a few more to go. 

During my first two weeks here, we were working on some commissions and small design objects. Hun Chung has two other assistants working in the studio who have been here for two years, so they are there to help guide me as we go along. The first week was consumed by a plate order for a restaurant – 100 square slab plates. 

While we were executing the plates, Hun Chung was designing a sushi plate set that consisted of historical and referential forms like ink stone grinders and daikon or root grinders as well as two other more formal objects. This production consumed the second week of work and rolled right into the third. 

We then began making large slabs to construct a large chair, or couch for one person as he likes to call it. 

The chair is nearly completed within a few short days and will be finished by Monday. 

Hun Chung is one of my favorite artists and designers so it is a complete honor to be here working in his studio. It is a large compound with his home and large gallery space attached. It is up on the side of a mountain in Yangpyeong. 

This is an incredible, fully tiled ceramic room that he and his assistants constructed over the course of a few months. It is an insane experience. I will try to get some better images and possibly a video of it, but as you can imagine the experience is difficult to capture.

Although I came here to learn technique and skill for large-scale handbuilding, we have been talking a lot more of the importance of leading a life in the arts, and enjoying the work that you engage in by enjoying the life you lead first. It’s been really motivating to watch in the studio as he moves gracefully from vessels to sculpture to large scale furniture. It’s crucial to his practice that he is mobile between these objects, as he comes back to each with a refreshed sense of what he has to offer and what he needs to be doing as an artist. I will touch more on this in the final post while I take more time to talk with him and try to understand more fully what it all means, to him and to me.

My next post will consist more of the bits of travel, studio, and museum visits that I am able to do on the weekends, so stay tuned!

And please take a peak at his website to find more finished pieces as I'm not sure I will be here to see the chair to its fully finished form -

Thursday, October 18, 2018

2018 Warren MacKenzie Advancement Award--Issac Logsdon

This is Issac Logsdon, one of the 2018 Warren MacKenzie Advancement Award recipients. As a part of my award, I have had the opportunity to travel to Central Arizona to attend a five week workshop at Arcosanti. Just a couple of weeks ago I graduated from the program, which includes learning the philosophies and construction methods behind the experimental urban laboratory, called Arcosanti, started by the architect and theorist Paolo Soleri. As a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Soleri turned away from a heavy reliance on city planning centered on driving cars, envisioning the cities of the future to be extremely dense and connected, while remaining in touch with the surrounding undeveloped nature. Here at Arcosanti, these philosophies have been put into use by using a minimal amount of land for residential and commercial spaces and leaving the huge majority of land left as natural spaces.

In the 50s, Soleri began slip casting directly into fine silt from riverbeds to make ceramic sculptures, bells, and other wares. This technique was later applied to casting large concrete architectural elements directly in forms carved out of the compacted silt. At Arcosanti, the silt from the Agua Fría riverbed has been used to create vaults, domes, housing, and more. 

Soon I will be traveling to Death Valley National Park, CA and Santa Fe, NM to work with adobe with the organization Cornerstones.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

2018 Warren Mackenzie Advancement Award- Ireland

I’m Katie Coughlin. I am currently writing from Switzerland. I graduated this past summer from the Ohio State University with my MFA. I received the Warren MacKenzie Advancement Award in May and decided to start my research at the end of September. As a 2018 recipient, the WMAA has allowed me to travel to Ireland to research my family ancestry as well as the habits of the Benedictine order of nuns. Two very different routes of research, but growing up Catholic, I have never been able to disassociate being Irish from being a part of a larger cultural history through religion.

To start my journey, I travelled to northwestern Ireland. Set in the stunning landscape of Connemara, sits the oldest Irish Benedictine Abbey, Kylemore. Originating in Belgium, the monastery was given over to the Irish nation in 1682, becoming a place of education and religious guidance for young women during the persecutions. The turbulent times ahead led the nuns to relocate to Dublin, then back to Belgium and then finally to Connemara when the original abbey in Belgium was destroyed during WWI.

Although this background information is interesting, my main curiosity lies with the religious garments of the order. One of the few remaining orders to wear full habits, I am interested in the sisters's relationship to their clothing as well as the construction and sewing process. Due to the advancement of technology, specifically within the speed of making, there is only one monastery within Ireland that may make some parts of their garments, at this time the sisters who do make the habits are currently in Slovakia and I am not permitted to visit. All the other abbeys purchase whatever is needed through a company based out of England. 

My second cousin Mary, on my Dad's side, works at Kylemore and was able to take me around and show me everything that was going on and changing within the abbey. She was also able to arrange a meeting for me with the head abbess. I met with Abbess Maire of Kylemore to discuss her history as a nun as well as the shifts she has witnessed within the dress of the order throughout her time of commitment.
Abbess Maire

Kylemore Abbey in the distance

View from the Abbey

My favorite part of the monastery was the Gothic Chapel. It is very small and not used often but is quite beautiful. 

The Gothic Chapel

The next section of this research sent me to St. Gallen, a city outside Zurich, to visit the St. Gallen Abbey, where I am right now. Stay tuned for the next post!

Monday, March 12, 2018

George Timock's Amazing Packing

The NICE students got to attend a demo by George Timock on his fantastically obsessive way of packing and shipping his work. Both his work and the packing were stunning. George was at Northern Clay Center for the opening of Expatriate Ceramics, an exhibition about how experiences abroad shape an artist's work. George spoke his time at the International Ceramic Workshop in Hungary and its impact on him as an artist and teacher.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

McKnight Resident Derek Au

Derek Au has been in residence at NCC since January as a McKnight Resident Artist. He been meeting with NICE artists and talking about his process, his experience working in Jingdezhen for the past decade, and, the open source glaze database that he created. Some of the work he made while in residence is currently on display as part of the Expatriate Ceramics exhibition at Northern Clay Center. It has been amazing to have him working here these past few months!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


The NICE artists went out to Linda Christianson's for a studio tour and a great conversation around her kitchen table. Linda had sleds waiting at the top of her driveway for us to take down the hill on a perfect February day in snowy Minnesota.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Jeff Oestreich Studio Visit

The NICE students headed out to Jeff Oestreich's on a recent wintery night for a potluck and studio tour. We got to see Jeff's collection of historical pots from three impressive Bartmann jugs he has in the corner of his dining room to a Michael Cardew platter by the door, and we had a lovely dinner with lots of stories and laughter. Jeff currently has the treadle wheel Leach used in his studio and many of us jumped on the opportunity to try it out.