Back to Peters Valley by Alexander Thierry

For a good portion of the Summer of 2016, I was a Studio assistant in Ceramics at Peters Valley School of Craft.  My time there was incredible and it really opened up my mind to working in the craft school environment.  I had take workshops at other craft schools before but that was the first time I had actually worked at one.

Recently, I was able to go back and take a workshop to refresh my glaze chemistry skills.  I took a workshop with Bill Carty and it was amazing.  Bill did an wonderful job taking his crazy, vast knowledge of ceramic materials and explaining/teaching to a bunch of artists.

We spent a lot of time looking at the Stull Chart (pictured below), to understand the outcomes of glazes.  After testing a bunch of glazes and placing them on the Stull chart, we were able to play around with different variations, colors, and effects.


I am just now realizing that I did not take many photos but here is another one that has some tests that I did.  Overall, this workshop was amazing and I am glad that all of the material presented was given to us in the form of a bound book and a flash drive that contains all of the goods.



Anagama at Clemson by Alexander Thierry

I had the pleasure of meeting and making a connection with Valerie Zimany and Daniel Bare, of Clemson University Ceramics, at the National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts (NCECA) Annual Conference in March.  While talking with them and talking about my proximity to Clemson University and my love of wood firing, I was very excited when they invited me up to Clemson to take part in the firing of their anagama.  The anagama at Clemson is located just off the main campus in a wonderful little, wooded area.  I was able to stay for a couple days during the firing and had no problem, other than a little rain, hanging up my hammock to catch a bit of rest between shifts.

 A nice flame shooting out of the chimney of the Clemson anagama

A nice flame shooting out of the chimney of the Clemson anagama

The visiting anagama workshop leader was William Baker.  Will makes some incredible work and gave a pretty good artist slide talk out at the anagama during a heavy rainstorm.  Check out his work by clicking on his name and his online shop can be found HERE.

This firing was nice and relaxing for me mainly because I was not in charge.  I was able to be a contributing member of my shifts but had the pleasure of sitting back, splitting side stoke wood, and calling out stokes.  Overall a fun firing.

I had a wonderful time meeting and talking with students, professors, and others.  I even had the pleasure of being asked by Connor Alwood, a Clemson graduate student, to trade some work from the firing.  You can find Conor's Instagram by clicking on his name, and a nice little interview HERE.  See photos from our trade below.

 A super sweet, little, ewer made by Conor Alwood.

A super sweet, little, ewer made by Conor Alwood.

 A painbow made it through the wood kiln and now lives with Conor Alwood.

A painbow made it through the wood kiln and now lives with Conor Alwood.

Artfields Jr. Jury Panel by Alexander Thierry

As I write this, I am scrolling through almost 800 entries to the Artfields Jr. competition.  Looking at all of the images of student work is incredible.  There is such a wide variety of skill levels, media used, and imagery, along with some really promising work from multiple age groups.  I am so happy that I was asked to be on the jury panel right after I moved to South Carolina and was pleasantly surprised that such an organization and competition existed.

Artfields is a wonderful program in Lake City, South Carolina, that provides opportunities for students to learn about art, take classes, and provides support for the arts in Lake City.  However, Artfields is most known for the Artfields art competition and festival that takes place annually. This year the competition and festival runs April 20th - 28th, 2018.  During this competition, $120,000 is awarded to artists from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.  The grand prize is $50,000.

 Artfields Jr. is the student part of the competition and is open to students from 1st grade - 12th grade.  Prizes for this portion of the competition range from honorable mentions to $500, juried in categories determined by grade level.  Along with the prize money, a large selection of the student work is displayed during the festival in proximity to the previously mentioned Artfields competition.  Again, the work for the Artfields Jr. show is top notch and is worth checking out if you are in the area of Lake City, South Carolina.

I would like to thank Jim Arendt for passing my name along to the people over at Artfields.  Jim is a fantastic artist that teaches at Coastal Carolina University, in Conway, South Carolina, as well as the Gallery Director at the Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery.  Jim was also the first winner of Artfields grand prize. He is fantastic artist, teacher, and friend.

If you are an artist in the states mentioned above, or an educator in South Carolina, keep an eye out for the call for entry for the annual Artfields and Artfields Jr. art competitions.  They are both wonderful opportunities to show work, and compete for large amount of prizes.