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Ohio Northern University ceramic professor accepted to national show

October—Ohio Northern University’s ceramics professor, Luke Sheets, recently had work selected to “Artifacts from the Inferno: Contemporary Wood-Fired Ceramics,” an exhibition of wood fired ceramics at the Baltimore Clayworks. The exhibit opened October 5 and closes on November 9.

About 92 wood firing artists and over 130 wood fired vessels and ceramic works were accepted to this year’s show. The exhibit showcases a range of wood-fired surfaces and the expansive growth of the wood-fired process.

The juror for the exhibit was Jack Troy. A potter, teacher, and writer from Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, he taught at Juniata College, received the 2012 NCECA (National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts) Excellence in Teaching Award, and has taught more than 220 workshops around the world. He has worked at the Institute of Ceramic Studies, Jingdezhen, China and was an invited artist at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan. Troy has exhibited widely and has published a number of articles and books on ceramics.

“It wasn’t so long ago that the term wood-fired ceramics conjured up some fairly predictable images of pots and sculpture,” said Troy. “But in the past half decade, the aesthetic spectrum of this genre has expanded as the second generation of practitioners builds experimental kilns, investigates various woods, clays, firing protocols, and personal visions. While many of us get better at what we already know to do, younger wood firers are working out moves of their own, sometimes in midair after bouncing off traditional diving boards. This exhibition showcases the persistent exploration of forms and surfaces as wood-firing continues to attract a widening clan of participants and connoisseurs.”

Founded by nine artists in 1980, Clayworks is a mid-sized cultural 501(c)3 non-profit, attentive to its neighborhood, possessing a national and international reputation for artistic excellence, artists’ support, and community involvement. The mission of Baltimore Clayworks is to develop, sustain, and promote an artist-centered community that provides outstanding educational, artistic, and collaborative programs in the ceramic arts.

In the past 30 years, Clayworks has grown to involve 13 resident and 30 member artists, 26 trustees, 15 full-time, part-time, and contractual staff along with more than 25 teachers, 20 interns and work-study students, dozens of volunteers and, hundreds of donors, all of whom make Clayworks a unique, vibrant and community-centered institution. Its exhibitions showcase the best of international, national and local ceramic artists working in ceramic sculpture, pottery, tile, installation and conceptual ceramics. The educational programs, which began with 40 dedicated individuals, teach the discipline of ceramics to more than 1200 students, and through its nationally acclaimed satellite programs, reach 500 children and senior adults in Baltimore’s most challenged neighborhoods.

Prof. Luke Sheets is an assistant professor in ceramics and director of the 3D program at Ohio Northern’s department of art & design. He earned his BFA from Ohio Northern University and his MFA from Bowling Green State University. His research interests include experimenting with clays and glazes to discover how they react with wood-kiln firing and incorporating local materials into the process. His work has been accepted into many national competitions including “History in the Making: Ceramic Traditions / Contemporary Objects,” the Majestic Galleries’ National Juried Competition 2009, the “Drink: Functional Forms for Every Libation” international competition, the 8th Annual National Juried Cup Show and the 6th Annual “It’s Only Clay” National Exhibition. In 2005, he had work included in “500 Cups: Ceramic Explorations of Utility and Grace,” and most recently in 2013, was published in “500 Teapots: Contemporary Explorations of a Timeless Design” (Vol. 2), both books published by Lark Books. At ONU, Prof. Sheets teaches ceramics, sculpture and 3D design. He also is the adviser to the Kappa Pi international art honorary.

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, 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 with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. 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, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second and third editions 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 2013–14 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image:  Brown Is Beautiful, 9" x 8 " x 8", wood-fired stoneware