GV Ceramics Students Create Pottery Exhibit

By Kate Branum | 9/25/16 9:54pm

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GVL/Kate Branum - Transformative Vessels Exhibition

by Kate Branum / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Transformative Vessels, an exhibition created and curated by Grand Valley State University ceramics students Betsy Vollmar, Andrea Burns, Holly McDermott and Kelsey Wittenbach encourages viewers to see wheel-thrown ceramic objects from a new perspective.

The exhibition opened Sunday, Sept. 18 in the Padnos Art and Design Gallery in the Calder Art Center on the Allendale Campus.

Vessels of all sizes, textures and colors occupy solid white pedestals scattered throughout the gallery space. Each vessel began as a simple structure and were transformed into pieces that push the line between functional and sculptural.

Many of the finished vessels are elements of the in-class assignments completed last semester in a pottery wheel-throwing course taught by GVSU ceramics instructor Sean Larson.

“We were all in a class together last semester and we were all instructed, for our first project, to make 10-inch cylinders, and we had to make multiples of these 10-inch cylinders,” McDermott said. “So, these (vessels) are projects we made after making those cylinders. Most of these started as a cylinder or even as a short cylinder and we transformed that type of vessel, the traditional, basic form, into either a more functional piece or a piece that isn’t functional.”

The purpose of this exhibition was to challenge the assumption that vessels are strictly functional objects by removing certain necessary elements of functionality.

“Most people know that (vessels are) for eating or drinking or storing things, so we tried to create these vessels that have interesting forms and interesting surface textures,” Vollmar said. “Some of them have bulging surfaces, some of them are cut through, some of them are indented, some of them are transformed entirely where they couldn’t hold anything, like a liquid for instance.”

The exhibition is free for all to attend and will run until Thursday, Sept. 29.

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