Responding to The Orangeburg Massacre by Alexander Thierry

I always jump at the opportunity to work in new ways and I have been struggling to work in ways that encourage thinking about my place in this world.  I recognize the privilege I have while trying my best to comment on situations, politics, events, and the many things that I find morally and ethically wrong.  By making work in response and being asked to make work in response to the Orangeburg Massacre, I was finally able to find how my voice could be used.

The Orangeburg Massacre occurred on February 8, 1968, after multiple days of unrest in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  Home of two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), now South Carolina State University and Claflin University, the town of Orangeburg saw tensions rise over the "members only" bowling alley in town.  Students protested at the bowling alley over two days, with local law enforcement attacking protesters on the second day.  Eventually, the scene was cleared, the day was over, but the segregation and the rightful passion of protest were still there.

On February 8th, students and protesters were gathered at the front of the South Carolina State University campus.   The protestors lit a bonfire and remained peaceful.  The police and fire department put the fire out and South Carolina Highway Patrol was called to reinforce the police presence.  As law enforcement was lined up at the front of campus, they claimed they heard shots and began to fire into the crowd of around 200 protestors.  At least 28 protestors were injured and an additional 3 were murdered, Samuel Hammond, Henry Smith (both SCSU students), and Delano Middleton.  

There were some officers that were charged but they were swiftly acquitted.  There has been no official investigation and although time has past, there has been no closure for people affected by this event. Although sometimes masked, the racial tensions in Orangeburg, South Carolina are still rumbling.

The following pieces are my responses to the events of February 8, 1968, but the message has a similar feeling to many events of racial discrimination and events that are rightfully getting more time in our current main stream information channels.  This is still a huge problem.  We must keep the discussion going.


"Equal" Justice, Arrested. unfired clay, underglaze, wood, water. 18" x 5.5" x 20". 2018

"Protected" Protest, Murdered. unfired clay, underglaze, wood, water. 18" x 5.5" x 20". 2018

More Cups by Alexander Thierry

I am starting the new year, with a bunch of prep work for the Spring semester, with the hope that I will have more time in the studio.  I will be having a solo show in February at South Carolina State University that will have some brand new work... that is not made yet.  

However, some work that is made, was accepted into a couple of shows.  There are some galleries below with photos and information.

These two cups will be traveling to Pittsburg, PA for the Palliative Pour Exhibition juried by Chris Gustin.  This exhibition is part of the NCECA 2018 Venue Generated Exhibitions and will be on display from March 2 - 30, 2018, at Threadbare Cider & Mead.

These two cups will be making a voyage to the Big Easy.  Andrew Gilliatt chose these cups to be included in the Geaux Cups Exhibition at Clay Center of New Orleans from February 2 - 24, 2018

As these cups make their way to these shows, I am excited to get back in the studio and make more sculpture and pots in 2018.  I spent a lot of time and effort, in 2017, adjusting to teaching full-time at the university level and now have a good plan in place to stay balanced between students, administrative work, and studio time.

Since KU... by Alexander Thierry

Since graduating from The University of Kansas in May, I have been extremely busy.  After working with Israel Davis at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in June, I accepted a teaching position at South Carolina State University.  In my first year as an Assistant Professor of Ceramics, I have been trying to organize the ceramics studio, write curricula, and continue to make work.  The experience has been stressful, informative, and has really allowed me to grow as an educator.

In my first semester, I am teaching five classes; Ceramics I, Art Appreciation, 3D Design Fundamentals, Art Education Seminar I, and Art Education Seminar II.  With a wide variety of classes, I have had to fall back on all of the education that I have received, including my past experience as a public-school educator.  Prepping for this many classes has become a job of itself.  I am so thankful for my education from Truman State University in really preparing me to create curricula that are interdisciplinary and required me to take the beginning sections of all of the studios in Truman’s program. 

Also preparing me for my current position was all of the teaching and studio maintenance experience from the University of Kansas.  Working closely with the studio technician is something that allows me to do my job both as an educator and maintaining a ceramics studio, welding area, and a woodshop.  Go hang out with Joe at KU and you can learn a ton.

As far as my own work and research, I have been working on ideas of bringing the screen-printed imagery and process to the sculptural work similar to that of my thesis.  I am beginning to draw more and work some of that drawing on to my surfaces as well.  I am excited to get some of this work through the kilns and cannot wait to have more time dedicated to the studio as winter break approaches.

I have been lucky to have been selected in a few exhibitions but have neglected to share that information with the public.  At the beginning of the semester, I was part of the Kansas City Clay Guild’s Teabowl National, and The Almighty Cup Show at Gandee Gallery, in Fabius, New York.  Two of my sculptural pieces were selected for the Biennial Sculpture Exhibition at the Tryon Fine Arts Center in Tryon, North Carolina.  Below is a photo from the show in Tryon and shows the slaking qualities of, A Tall Drink .

A Tall Drink . stoneware, porcelain, water. 36” x 14” x 66”, 2017.

A Tall Drink. stoneware, porcelain, water. 36” x 14” x 66”, 2017.

Currently and opening on Friday, December 1st, Remnants of Sunday Meals, will be on display as part of the Fine Contemporary Craft Exhibition at Artspace Gallery, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

As we move towards winter break, I plan to get a good amount of work completed, both pots and sculptural work.  I am also working a few proposals for exhibitions and applications for summer residencies.  I am looking forward to the next few months with great anticipation and will be sharing a good amount of images via Instagram.