Friday, May 2, 2008

Half-a-Million Pots

Half-a-Million Pots is a celebration of 30 years of ceramics at the Benton Center in Corvallis, Oregon. The Benton Center is a satellite campus of Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC) in Albany, Oregon. Exhibits of pottery and sculptural pieces are being presented at various venues in Corvallis and Albany including: Corvallis Arts Center, OSU Memorial Union (MU) Concourse, Footwise, The Book Bin, Corvallis Benton County Public Library, LBCC North Santiam Hall. I am part of the group exhibiting work at the OSU MU Course. The exhibit runs from April 30, 2008 to May 30, 2008.

As part of this event there was a reception at the Corvallis Arts Center last night and panel discussion by Jay Widmer, Cynthia Spencer and Cheryl Crownover. Tomorrow, Saturday, May 3, 2008 Cheryl Crownover will present a workshop to demosntrate hand-building techniques.

Below is a short description of the history of the Benton Center Ceramics Studio.

Half a Million Pots
LBCC Benton Center Studio

LBCC opened a Corvallis campus when they acquired Washington grade school in 1978. I was teaching with Gene Tobey on the main campus when I was offered a chance to establish a ceramics program in a second grade classroom. Our facility was humble but the director wanted to offer classes before a kiln could be constructed. That first term we made pots and journeyed to my Alsea studio where we glazed, had lunch and later fired the pots. The first stoneware kiln became a foot hold in the play shed where we expanded with new kilns and an outdoor raku patio. A few years later in 1983 we began a unique experimental salt glaze class that continues to attract talented students and instructors. With the closing of the main campus studio in 1990, ceramics was consolidated in our unassuming facility but was enhanced with the construction of a new shed and two new salt kilns. With new class offerings, capacity enrollment, artistic and energetic students and instructors, the program continued to flourish.

This vibrant group of ceramists formed a creative learning community with positive support from college administrators. The local public would swarm our semi-annual pottery sales, returning resources to further grow the program. This momentum was recognized by Benton Center director Penny York when planning for the expansion and renovation of the Benton Center in 2004.We were rewarded with a beautiful and functional studio that puts our ceramics program front and center for all students who dream of making their own pots.

Over the last 30 years since we emerged from the second grade one-sink classroom studio, many talented and committed potters have become instructors, studio potters, kiln builders and professional artists and enriched our community with their hands, hearts and spirits in clay.

To celebrate our 30 years of Benton Center ceramics, Jay Widmer, Cynthia Spencer, and Cheryl Crownover will be showing at the The Arts Center, April 23-May 20, in Corvallis. We have also secured other venues to showcase the work of Benton Center talent; the MU Concourse, Footwise and Book Bin windows, a display case at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, the Benton Center plinth and the North Santiam Hall at the LBCC Albany campus.

1 comment:

work in clay said...

Alright! Thanks for adding my blog to your blog. It's great seeing what folks have to say about pottery. Nice slide show!