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Ohio Northern University A&D Professor accepted to month-long artist residency and to lead session at international ceramic conference

July—Ohio Northern University’s ceramics professor, Luke Sheets, has been awarded a month-long residency, and then will lead a topical discussion session at this year’s European Wood Fire Conference, at the highly respected Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center located in Denmark. The conference will take place August 28–31, 2014.

Prof. Sheets will present a session called, “Slip Casting for a Wood-fired Aesthetic.” It focuses around his thought processes in regards to form and the technical challenges of developing casting bodies and slips that react and interact favorably with the wood kiln.

“Over the past several years I have grown more fascinated by and interested in the slip casting process,” said Prof. Sheets. “I have been teaching mold making and slip casting for about 6 years now. Over that time… I am starting to feel free with the process and can improvise to suit my aesthetic needs. I am interested in using molds and the slip casting process to create parts that then can be assembled into many and various forms that lend themselves to the wood kiln’s atmosphere for finishing.

“Slip casting and wood firing may seem antithetical but there are other artists working with these processes. Their work either utilizes slip-cast functional forms whose sheer numbers create building blocks for the artist to manipulate and arrange or incorporates the use and appropriation of commercial molds then assembled into a chimera of images and ideas.

“My own interest lies somewhere in between these two approaches. I begin with my own molds for various cup forms and use these as parts to form asymmetrical vases with hard edges to cut and catch the woodfire’s path. Recently, I have also started to make molds for various components that can be assembled and rearranged instead of casting multiples of the same form.”

Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center was established in 1997 with the goal to offer an international artist-in-residence program. Guldagergaard, meaning Golden Acre farm, has several beautiful buildings dating from 1915. The estate was the private home of a tulip and fruit farmer until the 1990s.

As an artist-in-residence at Guldagergaard, Prof. Sheets will have his own studio area in the studio building with full access to all the facilities and equipment—gas kilns, electric kilns and wood fired kilns as well as glaze, plaster and mold making workshop, slip casting room, auditorium, library for research, photo equipment, 3D print workshop, silk screen print workshop, wood workshop as well as the gallery. There, Prof. Sheets will exhibit his work at the conclusion of the residency.

The artist-in-residence program combines an international atmosphere and wide professional dialogue within a concentrated work period, with the exchange of knowledge and research into materials, techniques and ideas.

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. Following graduation, Luke was resident potter at Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Center for 2 ½ years before moving to Kanazawa, Japan. While there, he shared a studio space with two local Japanese potters until his return to Ohio in 2005. Through travels to countries like the Czech Republic, Korea, Italy, and France, he has continued to explore wood-firing in various ceramic traditions. His research interests also included 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. He has spoken at various national and international conferences including NCECA’s 48th Annual Conference in Milwaukee, WI, and the First European Wood-Fire Conference in Germany. At ONU, Prof. Sheets teaches ceramics, sculpture and 3D design. He also is the adviser to the Kappa Pi international art honorary.

Ohio Northern University’s quality, student-centered education distinctively combines nationally ranked sciences, arts and professional programs for more than 3,600 students in its five colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering, Pharmacy and Law.

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 “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 2014–15 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image: The Main House and Studio Building at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center