Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's Up Right Now

Annual Iron Pour Pot Luck Dinner

All invited, bring your friends and family and BRING a DISH, side or main.

Chips and drinks will be provided!

Friday at 6:00 PM, in the 3D Room


Burn in begins at 10:00 am on Saturday.

All participants need to be on-site by 9:00 AM to help out and set up charges and whatever else needs to be done. We hope to start charging around noon and maybe have hot metal around 2:00 PM. Make sure you bring lunch on Saturday and snacks, it will be a long day. There will be Gatorade and water for the work crews only.

SCRATCH BLOCKS will be for sale, as long as they last until pour time on Saturday, $15 a piece.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Interesting Site

Gwynn Murrill Art

As many of you know I am NOT a lover of clearly objective art, however this is one artist I find very exciting. It is clear that a whole lifetime of investigation and experimentation has gone into finding the true essence of the animal. Enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Blog to Check Out

ARTwork by Joe MacGown

Some cool work at the blog of Mississippi artist Joe MacGown. Take a look at this how he has linked his professional website with the blog and how he represents his work.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Second Trip to the Scrap Yard

The Green Machine

Trip number two was pretty easy. The machinery operators knew we were coming and had set some iron on the side for us. It was a quick trip and we got some good metal. Next is the trip to Birmingham for other raw materials; coke, core paste, and ladles. Pictures of that later.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Pincher

A Monster from the Scrap Yard- The Pincher

Chris and I went last Wednesday to go get our first load of scrap iron from Shemper's Recyclers here in Hattiesburg. It's always an interesting experience. Normally Shempers is buying scrap, but once a year they agree to switch things around so we can come in an buy metal from them. Thank God they do, or we would never have iron pours.

Getting there and actually getting the metal is the easy part. Everything we do up to that point, especially when making purchases at the University, is so complicated; paperwork, people to call, arrangements to be made. Uggh! In the end I guess it's all worth it. And a big thanks to Shempers, I know it's trouble for them to help us out, but they do it every year!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Senior Project

I have been remiss in my posting! Been busy, what can I say? I thought it would be good to talk a little bit about senior project. The image above is of Georgie's ceramic sculpture work. The image represents probably less than half of what he has made as part of his senior project requirements. Less than half! I think the biggest thing that most student's don't consider is the shear massive amount of work needed to complete the project. Never mind the 20 page paper and the full portfolio due at at the end along with the museum show. Every year I have folks come to me for advisement and think they can take two or three additional studios at the same time as a senior project. When I hear this I laugh. It's pretty much not possible if you want to have a good senior project experience AND do well in all your classes. Why would you want to have all that stuff to do anyway? The senior project is such an amazing time in your student career, why cram it up with all this other busy work that will take away from your experience?

I still remember my senior project. I was lucky as I had enough foresight to get rid of all my core classes and art histories so that I only had senior project, a photo studio, an easy theater workshop and a fun art/math course. Just enough classes to keep my financial aid but easy stuff so I could fully enjoy my final semester and make as much work as humanly possible. My job for my last two years of school was to drive a stretch limo in NYC. Boy were those fun times! And some very late nights as well. I worked at my job pretty much solid from Friday afternoon to late Sunday night, usually starting with airport pickups from JFK, then the Broadway dinner and theater crowd, followed by the late night club scene. An hour or two of sleep and then it was off again with weddings, and maybe a longer trip down to Atlantic City. Sunday was a repeat of the other days. I was always back at the studio Monday morning where I could take advantage of a full five days of studio to get a huge amount of work done. I also learned that no one worked in the morning so I could have the studio all to my self. On top of that the shops at our school were open half the time they are at USM and then whole building closed at midnight. No 24/7 access like we have here.

It's never too early to start preparing for senior project. Using the last studio class or two in your course requirements to start developing your body of work is imperative to giving you a head start with your project. Working out structural and material issues and technical problems should be done prior to starting your project, not halfway into your final semester! Senior project is not the time to be inventing new things, or trying some crazy new material that you have never worked with before, it's a time for developing a body of work that already has some momentum in it, something you know you can work on and develop further, something you can push the limits on, in a huge way. It's also important to do something you love as you will be spending hours and hours and hours with it, as well as investing all your money into it.

Senior project + all your money, all your time, every ounce of your soul = an amazing body of work, and then maybe grad school, shows and exhibitions, grants, fellowships and who knows what else!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Group Projects

As sculptors and ceramic artists we don't get many opportunities to work together as a group. For the most part I hate group projects but I miss the fellowship that comes from working together with other artists. Things like wood firings and iron casting are the perfect ways to hang with the group, accomplish something useful, and be creative.

This past week and into this weekend Mark Rigsby did a wood firing out at his studio. A bunch of us partook in the project. Folks from upper level were invited as well as some faculty and staff. A number of folks joined in, Krista, MJ, Anna, Ken and some other folks I think. Every one helped with aspects of loading and stoking. It's big work and it is so much easier and more fun when a bunch of people help out. MJ Hill has some good pictures on his blog, check 'em out.

Projects like this are a perfect opportunity to learn something new (including how to make smores)! I look forward to see what comes out of the kiln!

It's a good time to remind folks that we have a big iron pour coming up soon, another good opportunity to work together and make something happen!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Around the Studios...

Photos by Gary Ratliff
Most of these images are from ART 361, Sculpture I, James Davis instructor, the rest are from around the 3D Arts Studio.
Thanks Gary for your images!

Monday, September 14, 2009

"You Think my Work is Pretty?"

It's been a busy couple of weeks. Everybody seems settled into their classes and critiques are underway along with many interesting projects. As we begin the new semester I think it's important to a take some time to think about what the critique is and what it means to each of us individually.

In school, critiques (often referred to as "crits") are a necessary part of education (and grades). Outside of school the critique can be an essential tool for building a successful body of work. As an artist long out of school I look for those instances when I can get good solid feedback. Of course in school and out-of-school there are always the critics who are going to tell you what they think, whether you want to hear about it or not. I still remember being a student and having to deal with folks who knew nothing about my work and yet felt compelled to tell me all that was wrong with it. Sometimes this even included the instructor! As I got older and more mature I realized that my instructors new more than I gave them credit for, but my lack of experience didn't allow me to listen and take their comments into consideration. I know better now!

In Nita Leland's essay Surviving Workshop Critiques she mentions about being wary of critiques that are nothing but "feel-good sessions". How right she is! How boring is it to have everyone just nod their heads and say, "yes, it's pretty". What a waste of time! Ms. Leland has some good ideas in her essay, check it out.

In ARTSEDGE Joyce Payne lays out a basic outline for a critique session. Although there are some points I tend to skip over in my classes, one idea that she mentions I find to be critical and unfortunately it's one we don't often stick to; Describing the work without using value words such as "beautiful" or "ugly". Her essay reminds me of why that is so important. I think it is something that I am going to try and push in more of my class critiques. Also check out her section called Judgement and Evaluation. Wow, that's a tough one, especially for us, it will be a good one to discuss in class. I am curious to find out what all you students think about the value of discussing the originality of a work and what makes it so. When I was in school this came up on a regular basis, but it doesn't seem to be something that comes up enough in our class crits. That's something I would like to change. To start we might have to have a conversation about what "original" means... Wow, that could be an interesting discussion.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Semester!

Wow! Already another semester is coming around the corner. It hardly seems right, but at the same time is also one of the most exciting times of the year! Lots of preparation on the part of the faculty, some new tools, and full class sections for all the 3D, ceramics, and sculpture classes. The 3D Arts Building will be a very busy place starting next week. Soon our halls will be filled with lots of new work, but to start off in a positive way, here is some of the fantastic work we got at the end of the summer semester.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ending up the Summer Semester

It has been a terrific summer term! With a few exceptions almost all the students really have risen to the occasion during this intense summer session. Last year was my first year doing this course and we got in only one jam packed kiln at the the very end. This semester we have tripled that effort with three jammed kiln firings (I can't even count how many bisque firings we did). Just last night we loaded it up and set it to candle over night, boy it was packed! We had way, way too much fun with this last load-up! We are tag team firing (me in the AM did the bumps, James will do the body reduction, and Taylor will do shut down in the afternoon.) The volume of work we got this semester was just grand. I can't wait to see everything during the final critiques on Tuesday. Here are a few picks of our kiln crew and the final packed kiln. Cheers!

From left to right- Taylor, Crista, Anna (front), James, and Amlan. I am pretty sure we have successfully recruited Amlan to the dark side.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Final Senior Project - Nicole Moree

Nicole Moree- Artist Statement

I am from Florence, Mississippi and have been attending USM since 2005. The concept of my Senior Show is “overprocreation”. This body of work is my reaction to the society that I live in. People procreate at a rate that astounds me. I believe our society is a lazy and selfish one. We live in an era where people dodge responsibility or try and pass it on to someone else. My work is based upon the outrageous number of babies that are spat into existence by people who are not prepared for the responsibility of rearing them. We live in a time in which this can all be prevented, but it seldom is.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring ARTwalk

Here are some images from the April 18th, Artwalk that students and some faculty and staff took part in. I was a great success and for the most part the gallery was jammed with viewers. I tried to get a few pics when it was a bit more quite. I can't stress how important it is to show your work, as a student or a professional. People need to see what we do and I know the folks of Hattiesburg are very appreciative of the work that they see. Shows and exhibitions are also very important for resumes and can help a great deal in getting more shows, grants, into grad school, jobs, commissions, to name a few. Take advantage of every opportunity to show, you'll be happy you did!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wood, Wood Everywhere and Not a Bit to Burn!

Last week the Sculpture I class finally finished their wood projects. A few delays and some extra time and everybody had something to show. I really wasn't sure what I was going to see; so many folks decided too early on they hated wood, but in the end we got some good stuff. My overall opinion is that we had some very good ideas but could use a bit of work on the execution. No doubt wood is one of the harder materials to learn to use, some folks had an easier time than others but overall and I think the students did a fair job of working with it.

Student Scholarship Competition

Just in... the applications and portfolios for next year's scholarships are due TOMORROW!!! Talk to the folks in the main Art Office or there are some applications on the bulletin board in the 3B Bldg.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Work About the Enviornment

3D students from Jen Torres' class had group installation projects where they had to pick a subject that dealt with current issues about our environment. They had over a week to get their works together and only a few hours to put them up so we could interact and critique them. There were four works, dealing with the human footprint, pollution of our oceans, party pollution and overpopulation. They were very interactive, had some performance aspects and best of all broadened the student's concept about the type of impact art can have on a wider audience. It was by far one of the more fun projects!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


A Selection of student cupolas from the student cupola contest at Sloss, The National Conference on Cast Iron Art, 2009. The last furnace on the bottom of this post is the one made and run by our USM students, Taylor and Nicole, with the assistance of Dustin and Scarlet.

Students from all over the US, 14 teams, design, build, and then run their furnaces in this national level competition. There is a competitive feel, and everyone gets a bit crazy, but to just be able to build your own small-bore furnace and have it melt and pour iron is a pretty big feat for all of the teams. Our folks did a fine job!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Pottery and Art Sale

Spring Pottery and Art Sale
+ Friday, May 1, from 1 PM to 6 PM
+ Saturday, May 2, from 9 AM to 1 PM

At the 3D Arts Building on West 4th Street, USM campus, Hattiesburg, MS.

All students currently taking upper level (300, 400 and grad classes) in the 3D area are invited to participate in the pottery/art sale. We had great success last time and many members of the local community expressed great interest in coming to another. Last time everybody made some money. 15% of all sales goes back to the area to help purchase a new clay mixer so badly needed.

The work does not need to be just pottery and/or sculpture, if you make jewelery or do printmaking, those kinds of works will be accepted as well. The most important thing is that we have quality work, no cracks in pots or glazes, no sharp edges on sculpture, 2d work must be matted or even framed, that kind of stuff.

Everyone who participates must put in several hours of work during the sale, minimum.

There will be a sign up sheet on my door this week, get your name down, reserve a space!

More Sloss...

The Internet connection I had at the hotel was pretty much non existent. And of course I don't really remember everything that happened every day, so I'll post some more images and summarize.

Our students did GREAT! Their cupola worked just fine during the competition and they worked well together and were calm and professional. I am very proud of them, I know James is too.

The whole conference was exciting and the performance pieces on Friday night were totally out there. I felt like I was in Fellini's 8 1/2. I ran the workshops and was supper busy all week as was James who was teaching the large mold workshop. He did a great job as well; after a near disaster with a large mold he magically pulled it all together to get the job done. I would have freaked out. It was a tough week, we all worked very hard, physically and mentally, but I also got to see my Sloss Family, there is nothing better than that!