For UNF ceramics majors under associate professors Trevor Dunn and Stephen Haywood, trees are so much more than oxygen or paper. To them, wood is the fuel for their kiln that shapes their work into masterpieces.
Students featured in the UNF Wood-Fired Ceramics Invitational spend hours, sometimes even days, firing pieces in a wood-fire kiln. According to Zachary Mease, a ceramics senior featured in the gallery, the end results are dependent on how close the clay was to the fire, what kind of wood was being burned, and for how long.
According to Dunn’s opening speech, he sees the Lufrano Gallery and wood-firing as a social mission. Wood-firing is carbon neutral and eco-friendly. Dunn, as well as some artists featured, said they enjoy the community aspect that wood-firing brings. Someone has to watch the kiln every hour of the day and add fuel to it every 5-15 minutes.
Each artist interviewed felt the same sense of community that drew Dunn to wood-firing.
Tracey Tanner, a junior, said that her pieces were all fired from one kiln, which shows the incredible diversity that wood-firing can produce. Her piece, Hireath II, features clay that was laid over kiln posts. She said that Hireath means “homesick for a place that doesn’t or no longer exists”, and is a word that cannot be directly translated into English.
As far as sticking with ceramics, Tanner said she enjoys the element of chance and the problem solving that ceramics presents.
Kaity Asimos is a senior whose piece, Biohazard, is featured in the exhibit. It is a gas mask inspired by the Fallout and Borderlands video games series. She was attempting to get a look that invoked a modern idea, so she put her piece directly in the firebox, allowing it to have a kind of bubbled texture. Her goal was to make it look like something someone would find thousands of years in the future and wonder what happened.
Even students who weren’t featured in the gallery found Dunn’s lecture interesting.
Katie Fosburg, a graphic design junior featured in the Italy gallery said she enjoyed the context the lecture provided, and that through learning about the hard work and dedication that the artists put into the pieces shown, her point of view of ceramics changed.
Donald Lim, a senior who’s also featured in the Italy gallery, said that the exhibit was pretty interesting, especially as a biomedical sciences major (which, he admitted, is not a fine art), and it allowed him to have a new respect for art.
The UNF Wood-Fired Ceramics Invitational is located in the Lufrano Intercultural Gallery in the Student Union East (Bldg 58E), room 2401 until Oct. 14. It’s open Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
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