Ceramics artist holds demonstration, lecture

October 17th, 2012 Comments Off on Ceramics artist holds demonstration, lecture

Ceramics artist John Oles demonstrates some of his techniques to students on Oct. 15. He planned to let the pieces dry overnight and to demonstrate the next day how to trim them and “put the sexy on.”

John Oles, ceramics artist, visited Mississippi State on Oct. 15–16 to deliver a short lecture and demonstrate some of his techniques to students in Professor Robert Long, Lydia Thompson and Critz Campbell’s ceramics classes.

Oles, an adjunct professor at Loyola and Tulane Universities, is the recipient of the 2010 Ceramic Arts Emerging Artist Award from the National Council on Education.

Oles studied ceramics at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and received a BFA in ceramics in 1998.

In 2004, after a series of odd jobs including teaching high school, the artist moved to North Carolina and entered the Penland School of Crafts.  Oles described that time period in his life as heaven.

“You have that opportunity to be around people that when you tell them, ‘I’m a potter,’ they don’t ask what your real job is,” he laughed.

In 2005, Oles moved to New Orleans for graduate school and was soon after forced by the destruction of Hurricane Katrina to relocate for a semester to The University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.  While there, the artist lived in his car and worked out of a corner of the undergraduate studio.

He then returned to his current home of New Orleans to finish his MFA in ceramics at Tulane University.

The artist said his family was a huge influence on his career decision.

“We weren’t a big art family,” he said.  “But we were a big food family.”

Oles explained that he went into ceramics because he liked the idea of the communal aspect of eating and being able to create art that finds its way into the kitchen or home.

The artist showed some of his work, including cups, tea bowls, nesting bowls, altered bowls, teapots and pots for food and celebration.

He discussed glazes and said he enjoys the white/Celadon glazes because they complement and don’t compete with food that’s being served.

“They let whoever’s cooking have more say in how the presentation’s going to be,” he said.

Of all the pieces he makes, though, Oles said his favorite is the tea bowl.

“If I could make one object, I would make tea bowls for the rest of my life,” he said.

Oles said he loves that the handleless cups can serve as a meditative object in the morning when drinking coffee and can serve as a relaxing use for red wine later in the day.

Vist his blog.

More photos from the visit:

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