A showcase of contemporary American ceramics and a professional development and networking opportunity for ceramicists, the Indiana Clay Conference takes place October 7 and 8 in Bloomington. A partnership between Indiana University Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, Purdue University Fort Wayne, and the Michiana Pottery Tour, the third biennial conference comprises 12 lectures, panels, discussions, and four artist demonstrations at the Monroe Convention Center, as well as three exhibitions on the IUB campus. The conference will also provide a showcase for work by current ceramics students in the Eskenazi School.
Registration for the conference is available to the general public at www.indianaclayconference.com, with student and one-day pricing available.
Two exhibitions at the Eskenazi School’s Grunwald Gallery offered free and open to the public complement activities at the convention center. "The State of Clay III" comprises juried works as well as ceramics made by demonstrating artists and conference organizers. Also currently on view, "Derivations" is an invitational exhibition of ceramics by artists who have studied at IU, encompassing figurative works, vessels, slip-cast pieces, ceramic installation and time-based media. "Derivations" is partially funded by the IU Bloomington Arts and Humanities Council through the Public Arts and Humanities Project and the College of Arts and Humanites Institute.
A reception for the Grunwald exhibitions takes place Saturday, October 7, from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring a talk in the gallery by "State of Clay" exhibition juror Dick Lehman at 6:45 p.m. "Derivations" will remain on view through November 11.
Bloomington community clay artists who are members of the Local Potters Guild display their work in a companion show at The Cook Center, also on view Saturday, October 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. The Gayle Karch Cook Center for Public Arts and Humanities is located in Maxwell Hall on the Bloomington campus.
Sunday, October 8, at 5:15 p.m. at the convention center, Brian Harper offers the conference keynote. In “Our Clay Commons,” Harper will present ways in which conference attendees can participate in and help build a shared wealth of knowledge in the ceramics field. Associate professor of fine art and head of the ceramics area at IU-Southeast, Harper is a widely exhibiting ceramic artist and founder and executive director of the nonprofit professional association Artaxis. Artaxis.org houses a directory of contemporary ceramic art and serves as a network for professional artists, gallerists and curators, universities, and others. Using examples from his own research and efforts building Artaxis, creating his teaching website Claybucket, and mentoring students, he will make the case for the value of building and maintaining a clay commons through information sharing and volunteer action.
Artists who will demonstrate techniques during the conference include Eskenazi ceramics alumni Stephanie Galli (M.F.A. ’16) and Von Venhuizen (M.F.A. ’96), as well as Pete Pinnell and Andréa Keys Connell. Also at the convention center, the Eskenazi School’s Tim Mather, associate professor of ceramics, offers a historical review of the Indiana ceramics scene in a lecture at 5 p.m. Saturday, October 7 and faculty member Linda Tien and artistic partner Ellen Kleckler lead a panel on collaborating across time and space on Sunday, October 8, at 4:15 p.m. Artist bios are available at www.indianaclayconference.com.
Established in 2019 to strengthen connections within the clay community in Indiana, the Indiana Clay Conference seeks to support and advance the state’s ceramic artists and nurture the next generation of makers through relationships, opportunities, and education. Conference organizers anticipate 175-225 attendees from Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan at the 2023 conference.