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Ohio Northern Ceramic Professor Luke Sheets Accepted into International Exhibit

Luke SheetsDrinking vessels form a vital component of both the ceramic artist’s work and everyday life. These functional forms are the focus of a recent competition held at the Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago.

“Drink: Functional Forms for Every Libation” was the theme for this year’s 2nd Lillstreet International exhibition. This annual competition addressed contemporary issues in ceramic arts and was designed to challenge the ever changing scope of the discipline.

Juried by Beth Lo, a professor of art at the University of Montana, the exhibition showcased tea bowls, flasks, mugs and many other functional pieces. “Part of the works’ concept had to focus on functional forms related to drinking,” stated Lo.

Out of 150 entries submitted from around the world, Ohio Northern University’s ceramic professor Luke Sheets was accepted into this prestigious show.

Only 45 artists were eventually juried into the show.

“For me, it’s the thrill of exploration with the clay, surfaces, and firings that keep the next pieces coming,” explains Sheets. “Experimenting with different forms and styles and drawing on historical inspiration as well as ideas from other media allow me to create an evolving series of pieces.”

Sheets earned his BFA degree from Ohio Northern and the MFA in ceramics from Bowling Green State University. He also had work accepted into other national competitions including the 8th Annual National Juried Cup Show. In 2005, he had work published in 500 Cups: Ceramic Explorations of Utility and Grace, a book printed by Lark Books. Currently, Sheets teaches ceramics at ONU and is responsible for the three-dimensional studio arts program in the department of art & design.

After exhibiting at Lillstreet, he will be part of the Carbondale Clay National in their “Function with Flair” show.

“Ultimately, I am interested in making a good object—one that grabs the viewers’ attention from across the room, draws them in, and compels them to handle the object,” Sheets describes. “It’s this touch, this interaction of hands, pots and lips, this use, that truly finishes and brings a functional piece of pottery to life. I attempt to make pieces of quiet beauty and utility. Then, users can develop a fondness for the piece once they notice the nuances with each re-visitation.”

The Lillstreet International’s “Drink: Functional Forms for Every Libation” exhibition ran Monday, September 14 through Sunday, October 11, 2009.

Founded in 1975, Lillstreet Art Center is a large community of artists and students working side-by-side in a friendly environment which encourages and inspires artistic growth in the individual. Lillstreet Art Center supports the arts through an artist residency program, gallery, studio space, education, and an outreach program.

Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second edition of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2009-10 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image: Lichen Stone, wood fired stoneware.