Sunday, January 5, 2014

Another Exciting Year to Begin

Really, it's was a huge fall semester and now we are already in to 2014! I didn't update once even though we had a spectacular semester. Honestly we've been posting more on our USM Sculpture Guild Facebook page.

We have had some great success in our program and that is shown with a recent increase in new majors. We call it, coming over to the dark side. Another very exciting thing happening is a search for a new assistant professor in ceramic sculpture. If you work in academia you know how hard new positions are to come by so we are especially excited. I thought in my next few posts I would show images of our spaces and some student work too. We are not a huge program, but we have our own building for sculpture and try to make improvements each year. We are an undergrad program in sculpture with ceramics as one of our mediums. We have a small (and growing fast) group of dedicated and talented majors, many of whom are planning for graduate school and other careers in art. Anyway, I could spend hours talking about our wonderful majors but if you come here as a student to study or are lucky enough to get an interview for the faculty position you'll see what I am talking about!

Ceramics studio

Group crit space

Kiln pad

Matt Scott, left, talks about his work in upper level sculpture

Michelle talks about her ceramic sculpture in Sculpture I class

Sculpture I crit

Ceramic studio, from another direction

Sunday, August 18, 2013

As Always, Running Behind

Classes start in just a few days! Wow, what a crazy busy and fast summer!

I still can not believe it is over. On the flip side, I am very excited to see all the students and have received many emails from folks excited to get back into the studio. As for myself, I have been in the studio for a decent portion of the summer building a new body of work and have high hopes that within the next few weeks all our 3D studios will be filled with the buzz of creation and bodies busy making things of all shapes and forms.

Howard Paine, our new department chair, has been working overtime to get things in order for the new semester. I give him huge kudos for the work he has done, he had a big mess to contend with and until the GHB is renovated there will be issues of all sizes to deal with. The new Art office is now on the second floor of Southern Hall, directly above where it used to be. If you are on that side of campus make sure you go by and introduce your self.

On the issue of the GHB, renovation has not yet stared, we are still working on the programming (planning of spaces, etc.) and the architects and engineers are working on drawings. The actual renovation with not change much with the layout, but will give Art and Design some better classrooms designed for visual art leaning and instruction. We still have a year to go so patience will be important, but when it is done it will be better than ever!

Be sure to check on SOAR and see where your classes are meeting. Many of the drawing and design classes will again be doubled up in studios aiming for some chaotic environments, but for now there is nothing we can do about that until renovations are complete.

We had some excellent summer classes again, the ceramics section is always fun and the furniture design class did chairs this summer. It was a hard class but the end results were inspiring!

Crit day, everyone sits in their chairs

Everyone was expected to make their own design and fit the chair to their taste and size.

Tristan in his "big boi" chair.

You see, size does matter, that's me in the same chair!

See everybody soon!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More Summer Images

From the ceramic summer intensive studio and the crafts: chair class.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Classes

Pictures from the ceramics and crafts:woodworking class this summer. Just getting going, wheels are whizzing, kilns are burning, chairs are being designed and models being constructed. More images later.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:3D Arts Building, The University of Southern Mississippi.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Long Awaited

The theme for this post long awaited; long awaited post, long awaited end of semester, long awaited graduations, and long awaited new department chair. Needless to say it has been a kick-ass busy semester. I feel like I am finally coming up for air as do most of the students.

Mother Nature's installation art.
We started it all with a tornado that ripped through our community and through campus, effectively rendering a good portion the Art and Design spaces unusable, including the Museum of Art.
Up the street from my house.
We had to very quickly scramble to get a lot of things back in place to get the semester moving in the right direction. Luckily nothing was amiss over at 3D, but many of our students had been severely effected. Our chair, John House and his admin assistant, Cathy Ventura, did an amazing job keeping everyone sane and working to find new spaces for classes. Our dean's office double-timed it to get everything back in order; Deans Moser and Gillespie really did have some sleepless nights working on our behalf. However, the task is really only beginning as they continue to work to procure permanent solutions to our seemingly permanent loss of space as a department. There may be some real silver linings here, but more on that later as the plans become more official.

The biggest issue for us was finding an appropriate space for our two seniors to do their sculpture thesis. These shows had some installation aspects and we needed to make sure the space was right. Our seniors, Ashley Mell and Hillary Fairburn, did the lions share of the work in finding (and fixing up) a space and it was fraught with much stress and anxiety, but with the help of Charles Price and Kyle Goddard we really were able to make it happened. The college chipped in a bunch of funding and a raw space was transformed into a real showplace for art. 

The senior thesis show turned out amazing and we had great attendance at the reception.

Hillary Fairburn's work

Ashley Mell's work, detail

This semester we also had a faculty search for a new department chair. I can only imagine what it must have looked like to the candidates as they came in to view our program and we have no real studios, no real home, offices all crazy and all the classes tucked into any available space. Non-the-less, we had three great candidates and in the end the decision was unanimous and we selected Howard Paine, he's a digital artist and printmaker from Tennessee, formally from the Memphis College of Art. He'll be here in July and we are so very excited to work with him in rebuilding our great program.

Weirdly enough through all this tragedy I feel like we are actually stronger as a department. With the great work and support of Dean Moser and our new President, Dr. Bennett, It seems we are really poised to grow and expand. The sculpture area is doing well too. We will have a lean semester or two in the upper level classes but then we have quite a few new majors starting up with us next fall. Very exciting! Some of these folks are really talented and I cant wait to work with them. So much potential!

For June we will have upper level ceramics studio classes in the mornings and then in the afternoons we will have a chair design and construction class in the wood shop. It will be a busy and hectic time but it also be exciting and probably move way to quickly!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spring Semester 2013

2013 already!? It's hard to imagine. A week into the semester and we are already busy. Two seniors are working on their senior thesis in sculpture, and all our classes are full in 3DD, and all levels of ceramics and sculpture. The only class a little under-enrolled is Sculpture I, not surprising when you see the class conflicts on the schedule. However, I am pretty sure the instructor, Chris Lee, is OK with that as having nine or so folks in the wood-shop is way safer than the 17 in there last semester.

It will be an interesting semester as we look for a new Art Historian and a new Department Chair, and as we enter into re-accreditation with NASAD. Although the self study process is annoying (in a major way) the last time it netted us some major new equipment, renovations, technology and helped the department with positions.

In the sculpture area we have lots going on this semester- conferences, an iron pour, the annual student show, senior thesis show. Below is listed the stuff we know about, more dates, as related to the Sculpture Guild (student club) will be posted once we have them.


  • Iron Pour, Friday March 1st.- we will have a small pour on Friday starting at 9:00 am. You are responsible for bringing your own completed mold and small chunk iron. Contact Jen if you have questions,
  • NCECA (National Council on the Education for Ceramics Arts) March 20 - 23, this big conference will be in Houston. Finally! A conference we can drive too. Right now myself and two students are going, and I am trying to encourage other students to jump on board. The department has committed to paying the cost of transportation. This is not a group outing, once in Houston students are on their own, but it's nice not to have to pay for the gas! This is a very important conference for students, artists, teachers, and craftspeople I hope more folks will consider going. A few things to think about- 1) the cost will be about $215 for registration, cheaper if you buy or are a member. 2) about $500 for hotel for three nights, cheaper if you share a room. 3) $150 - 200 for meals and incidentals. 4) there may be additional transportation costs around the city as our car gets you to the convention center and then students are on their own. Also, going to conferences is way fun, a great way to network and makes for some good lines on the resume, never mind all the super art you'll see and the artists you'll meet.
  • Annual Student Show, March 28 to April 12- Entries will be received from march 4-7. Get entry forms from the museum director or the Art Office. This is a juried show and awards are given out. A great opportunity to show your work to the world and to add lines to your  resume! The show reception and award presentation are March 28th from 5-7 PM.
  • SLOSS, National Conference on Cast Iron Art and Practices, April 10-13 in Birmingham at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. This is held at an amazing location and is the best way to meet other artists working in cast iron. Many of us have been going for years and years to this conference. This is low cost (under 100 bucks if students register before early March) and has camping opportunities for cheap accommodations. You might be able to do this whole conference for under $500! Check it out. It generally is held every other spring in the same location. This year it is under new management, so-to-speak, and promises to have even more of a professional level atmosphere than ever before.
  • USM Senior Thesis Show, April 25 to May 11. This is going to be a big one! Make sure you check it out, there will be some exceptional work by our best and brightest seniors. Reception, April 25, 5-7 PM.

That's all for now folks! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Busy Semester

Yikes! It's been way too long since I updated this blog. That's what happens when you are so busy!

Over in 3D we have full classes in many of the studios and that has made for some tight working conditions, but we are getting buy and some good art is coming out of it all. It's about mid-point of the semester and we are really beginning to see some people get their groove on and make some cool stuff, some pictures of student work in the next post.

As far as events go we had Christo come to campus in early September and do a lecture and that was way fun. He hung out with us at the 3D Building for about an hour prior to the lecture and several students got to meet him at the official pre-lecture reception. It's the best campus wide arts lecture we have had in many years. Many thanks to the College of Arts and Letters for funding this project, and John House, our department chair, who did an amazing job organizing the many details that made this whole event possible.

We also had a student organised iron pour with the hot rod in September. It was early in the semester to take care of some works needed for senior project. We'll do another one on November 30th, which will be bigger and have more students involved. The pour went off without a hitch and I am very proud of my students for doing such a good job getting everything organised and ready.