Ceramic Artists Display Their Work at Wabash College• February 17, 2004
Scott Dooley’s works are hand built teapots and decanters that are non-functional, brightly colored, whimsical ceramic vessels. They almost appear to be alive and Dooley says of his art, "My early work was strictly functional and I actually worked for a production potter for about a year. But the idea of making something for its formal as opposed to functional qualities seemed really freeing to me." He continues, "I was making thrown work that I envisioned being used by someone every day making them a better person because they had reconnected with the earth. Now that I have distanced myself from that kind of self-consciousness, my work is a lot more successful. Now when I get to work, I just think about having fun." Dooley earned a master’s of fine arts in ceramics from Kansas State University. He is an assistant professor of art at Wittenberg University. Dooley’s artwork has been exhibited internationally in Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and South Africa as well as throughout the United States.
Dick Lehman uses a special technique called "saggar firing" to achieve truly remarkable results on his ceramic ware. His works are vases and jars upon which the negative images of leaves or ferns are burned into the vessel itself. Through an accident during a windstorm, he discovered that fresh leaves and grasses could leave their image on a really hot pot. An internationally known expert on this process, Lehman’s pottery has been the focus of a number of articles and dozens of exhibitions over the last 15 years. The result of a delicately balanced process, these saggar vessels are rare in their perfection. As the artist says, "However even now, more than ten years later, the best results are sparingly attained and seem elusive. With the success rate for the best works at far less than 20%, I’ve needed to develop a tolerance for more failures than successes." In addition to creating his saggar ware pottery, Lehman owns and operates a production pottery studio, travels internationally, writes and teaches ceramics and firing techniques, and has served as the President of the Potters Guild of Indiana.
The third artist in this newest exhibit is Jessica Bryce Pickert and she describes her work as, "A quiet quest to find home within internal and external landscapes of time, memory and space. Earth bowls and wooden mixing devices become maps and metaphors recording the journey to find home through spirit, stories, and delicacies of the kitchen." Jessica uses Japanese porcelain to create very personal vessels that are suspended from wooden objects. The use of kitchen objects reflects the artist’s "search for a place to call home, the bowls stand in as ‘place symbols’ and reminders for how home feels and what home can be. I think of my work as an offering, a prayer, and a thanks for home." Pickert holds an MFA from the University of New Mexico and creates site works as well as ceramic sculpture.
The exhibition "Offering Vessels" continues through April 10, 2004 in the Eric Dean Gallery of the Fine Arts Center of Wabash College. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9-5 and Saturday 10-2.