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.

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