Want to win a handmade cup? And the MFA thesis show (finally!)

Hey!  Where are you and what are you doing?  I’m sitting in my studio, waiting to have a meeting with my adviser.  I’m hoping he’ll have some novel ideas about shipping my work.  I have a show in Colorado in June, and I did a shipping estimate for it yesterday.   Guess how much it was?  The person who guesses closest will win one of my small translucent porcelain cups!

Winner’s cup may differ from what is shown here.

I’m going to be strict here, and say you must be following this blog in order for your guess to be counted.  How do you do that?  Simple: enter your email address in the box on the right hand side of the page where it says, “Stay in the loop!”  Leave your guesses in the comment section here; the contest will end & the winner will be notified on Sunday at 5pm ET.

Alrighty then.  As you begin formulating your guesses, I’ll enthrall you with the remainder of this post.

As I was saying, I got the shipping estimate.  It’s now clear to me that I either:

a) need to find a wealthy sponsor


b) need to figure out a different way to ship my pieces,


c) I’m not willing to change my work


d) I don’t own a teleporter.

I really hope I can figure this out, because I’m not sure I can afford to do the show otherwise.

Moving on, here are some pictures from the MFA thesis show opening reception, which was held on April 7th.  It was really fun to see everyone who came out to the show.  Extra high highlights were my parents, who flew in from ND, Meredith Morten, who many of you might remember from my adventures at the ICS in Hungary last fall, and Bethany Rusen and David Doktor, who braved the east coast traffic from Philadelphia. 🙂

Click on one to open a photo viewer.  The photos end with the installation process for my 22′ porcelain column.

Why Hungary?

How did I end up in Hungary this semester? That’s a very good question, and it’s one I get asked quite often here.

The answer is tri-fold:

1) I didn’t study abroad as an undergrad and I’ve always regretted it. Both of my older sisters spent semesters elsewhere (one in Puerto Rico and one in Australia). They both loved their time in these other places. This semester is kind of – well, not kind of – it is my last shot to have my own semester abroad. This spring I’ll be working fiendishly on my thesis show and report, so it won’t be possible to be anywhere other than UMass-Dartmouth. And then the plan is to graduate, so it follows that there won’t be any more study abroad opportunities!

2) I know the current director of the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. (Eric Kao, a UMassD grad: MFA Ceramics, 2009.) I saw him at NCECA (national ceramics conference) last year and he mentioned that he thought it would be great for UMassD to have some sort of an exchange with his program. When we spoke, I was really busy, so I didn’t really take time to immediately think about his suggestion.

3) After final reviews last May, I had some time to reflect on the year, and I thought, “Hey, maybe I should take Eric up on that offer, and see if I can study abroad in China for a semester.” I love porcelain just a little bit, as I’m sure you can tell from the byline of this blog, and Jingdezhen is referred to as the porcelain capital of the world. It has a 1,700 year history with the material. Pretty Amazing. But then I had some health issues (everything’s fine now) and I decided China was maybe not the best place for me to be at this point in time. I still wanted to study abroad though, so after talking to my adviser, I decided to apply here, to the International Ceramics Studio of Hungary. This place also has a strong history with porcelain (not nearly 1,700 years, but still good); I believe this is largely due to its proximity to the Herend Porcelain factory.

So, here I am! I’m grateful to have this opportunity and I’d like to thank everyone at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth for making it possible. Instrumental in the process have been: Profs. Jim Lawton, Susan Hamlet, and Deborah Carlson, Dr. Memory Holloway, Artisanry Department Chair Alan Thompson, as well as Dean Adrian Tio and Assistant Dean Heather Bentz. I’d also like to thank my fellow graduate students at UMD in ceramics and many other departments for their support.

UMass-Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts is home to many talented, hardworking, and kind professors, administrators, and students. I remember being amazed when I first got here at the depth of skill and originality shown in the undergraduate and graduate work, across all departments. This is a school where the students are encouraged to find their own voice and make their own work, something I think is somewhat rare in universities. I can quite honestly say that this program has shaped who I am, what I make, and how I regard the act of making.

Want to see some work by some UMass affiliates? (Sorry if I link to you and you don’t want me to! Email me and I’ll take it off. Also email if I didn’t link you and you want to be linked.)

http://bethanyrusen.com/, http://laurenldeserres.com/home.html, http://abbierpowers.com/,

http://averylucasart.com/home.html, http://www.katzceramics.com/, http://dhameehahn.com/home.html,

http://tomshieldsart.com/home.html, http://jodistevensart.com/home.html, http://www.lasseantonsen.net/Site/Home.html,