Through a Ceramicist’s Eyes

On May 11th Art House hosted a Ceramic Open Studio Open House. To learn more about the program please visit Ceramic Open Studio

The open studio on May 11th, organized by studio tech Billy Ritter, was a wonderful example of master teaching artists demonstrating their craft and inspired students exploring new techniques and challenging themselves with new ideas and approaches to clay.

Billy invited ceramic artists Brinsley Tyrrell, John Miyazawa and John Klassen to demonstrate their wheelthrowning and handbuilding techniques.  Brinsley, a nationally respected sculpture and enamel artist, recently started sculpting in clay and watching him make his multi-faced vessels was a delight.  The charming expressive faces emerged slowly as Brinsley sculpted the clay delicately by hand and with an array of wood tools. 

Billy also used many hand techniques; reshaping thrown vessels into wonky and original shapes and transferring screen prints to the surface of these pots.  It was fascinating to watch Billy transform wheelthrown bowls into contemporary deconstructed  forms.

John Miyazawa demonstrated throwing on his own crafted wheel.  Powered by the artist, this unique wheel allowed John to expertly throw tea bowl shapes and then use it as a great tool in reshaping these bowls as he stacked them into vase-like shapes.

John Klaasen demonstrated on the wheel as well, creating a rethought bowl and cup form that was loose, with a wonderful character and personality.  Playing with both the balance of the shape and the thinness of the clay these bowls and cups relaxed into jaunty angles and playful poses.

The participating artists demonstrated at different work stations during the entire time, discuss and concurring with each other and answering questions from visitors.  Visitors also worked on their own projects, practicing newly learned techniques on their own pieces and joining in that dicussion on how and why they were doing things.

Billy organized an incredible event and workshop, one where participants and visitors had a conversation on technique and aesthetics, a refreshing change to the usual question and answer pace of most workshops.  Here visitors and students alike could get their hands dirty trying new techniques and create a project of their own reflecting the ideas they were exposed to.

Mark Yasenchack is a teaching artist who grew up in Parma, Ohio. After graduating with a B.S. in Biology from Baldwin-Wallace College he pursued a career in art and teaching that combines subject matter and patterns from his biology background with the craft of ceramics, mosaics and collage and the love of teaching kids. Currently his focus has been mosaic murals that combine hand made clay tiles with the traditional stone and glass tesserae. He has been delighted and inspired by the magic of working side by side with pre-schoolers and teenagers to create murals to create not individuals items but collaborating and communal creation.



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