When the 52nd Annual Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts convenes in Pittsburgh this coming March 14 – 17, Standard Ceramic will transform its facilities into several galleries that will feature exhibitions by noted ceramic artists. In addition, eight universities will be featured in “pop-up” shipping container galleries on the property. Standard Ceramic is located
in Carnegie, a nearby community just fifteen minutes from the downtown conference location. Conference attendees will be able to travel to the site via charter buses and make their way through the galleries, viewing the art and touring Standard’s clay-making and glaze operations, its ClayPlace@Standard gallery space, Ceramic Supply Pittsburgh, and the company’s offices. Local musicians will perform throughout the opening, with food and drink provided.
The 2018 conference theme – Crosscurrents: Clay and Culture – will explore sources of inspiration that influence and impact work in ceramics today. The Standard exhibitions will address this theme. Over the next several months, we will feature stories about these artists and their shows here on our website. Visit us often to read about this exciting event.
The NCECA Bus Tour to Standard Ceramic on Wednesday, March 14 will bring conference attendees to a veritable smorgasbord of ceram
ic art, both inside and outside of Standard’s facilities. Detroit non-profit Pewabic will park its mobile museum and traveling kilns in the alley between Standard’s main buildings, staging pop-up raku firings throughout the multi-day events.
Pewabic is a century-old institution in Detroit founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry and her partner, Horace James Caulkin. Caulkin was a dental supply dealer and Perry’s Detroit neighbor, who invented the Revelation Kiln for firing dental enamel. Perry had had some instruction at the New York State School of Clay-Working and convinced Caulkin to allow her to experiment with his small basement kiln. They formed a partnership, hired an experienced pot thrower named Joseph Herrick, and by 1903 had a $1,000 order for bowls and lamp bases from a Chicago firm, Burley & Company. Perry’s distinct glaze – described by Burley & Company as “soft and dull, yet lustrous and of a texture that is a delight to the touch” was popular and the pieces were marketed as “Miss Perry’s Pottery” or “Revelation Pottery.” Perry and Caulkin called their business Pewabic Pottery after a copper mine in Perry’s hometown of Hancock, Michigan. The word is of Native American origin.
Perry and Caulkin expanded their line to include architectural tiles and filled an order for the Griswold Hotel in Detroit. With the flourishing Arts and Crafts Movement of the time, they soon had many commissions for architectural work. When the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts was established in 1906, Perry served on its board, along with architect William Stratton, whom Perry later married in 1918. Perry established a ceramics department at the University of Michigan and taught at Wayne State University. Pewabic moved into a Tudor revival-style building on East Jefferson in 1907, where it remains today. The building was named both a State and National Registered Historical Place in the early 1970s.
Today, Pewabic is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit dedicated to enriching the human spirit through clay. In the spirit of its founder, Pewabic continues to be a leader in innovation and takes as its mission “progressing clay,” by encouraging experimentation, promoting new ways of thinking. and developing innovative methods.
To this end, Pewabic has outfitted a modified transit van into a mobile museum focused on the science and process of clay. Their “Street Team” works out of a towed trailer that houses traveling kilns. The team will bring pre-made pots by Pewabic artists to the Standard exhibits and do pop up raku firings. The finished pieces will be given away to attendees.
Through education and community outreach, Pewabic is “looking for new ways to make ceramics relevant and accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. We believe that everyone has creativity waiting to come out. Like our founder, we are creating our next makers, artists and appreciators. And like our founder, we are supporting and recognizing the contributions of everyone who takes part.” NCECA visitors will enjoy this hands-on approach at what is bound to be an exciting and informative afternoon.
To learn more about Pewabic, visit http://www.pewabic.org/about-pewabic/