The September issue always feels a little bit like the first day of a new school year for me as we get back into the rhythm of the monthly magazine schedule. This year I feel that way even more so, as I step into my new role as editor.
Like Sherman, my experience in our field is as both a maker as well as an editor. It’s a privilege to come to work and research different artists, exhibitions, events, and technical topics in my chosen field. It’s also a great environment because I work with an editorial and production team made up of people who also have backgrounds in ceramics, including our new assistant editor, Forrest Gard. He joined our team in June and in addition to getting accustomed to our busy schedule at the office, is also settling into a new town, and setting up a new studio. We can’t wait to see what he makes (in his studio, and here at the office).
This month we are focusing on great work made by up and coming artists in both our undergraduate showcase and Liz Howe’s review of the National Student Juried Exhibition organized by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) as part of their 2014 conference held earlier this year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Expanding the focus beyond the classroom, Kathleen Whitney discusses the work of Theaster Gates, who has a community-centered approach to mentorship and learning. Through his artwork, he is focused on helping others gain skills and learn to be artists, and posing important social questions related to his personal experience.
Teaching and learning on a smaller, studio scale is also important; experimenting, shifting your focus, and trying new techniques or tools in your own studio can lead to great ideas. Bede Clarke, who is profiled in this issue by Glen R. Brown, has made several transitions with his work (from functional to sculptural, and back again, and from wood-fired work to earthenware) during his 30-year career.
To encourage some exploration in your own studios, Clarke also shares his techniques for the surface decoration on his most recent body of work. And don’t miss his recipes for wood-fired clay, slips, and glazes as well as the low-fire clay, slips, underglazes, and glazes he’s using on his most recent work on page 68.
Want to mix up more tests? Ray West shares information on saving money on plasticizers for white clay bodies using some soda ash or lithium and a little chemistry know-how in this month’s Techno File article on page 64.
If you haven’t already noticed, we love to share images, recipes, quotes, retro covers, and even questions that come up in the office, or sneak peeks at what we’re preparing for the next issue on social media. If you want to catch up, share, or get in touch with us between issues, please follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/CeramicsMonthlyMagazine, Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/CeramicsMonthly/ Instagram: Ceramics Monthly, and on Twitter:@ceramicsmonthly. If you’d like to send me an old-fashioned letter or email, I’d love to read that, too.
We’ve noticed that most people now write to us using one of these social media platforms rather than sending letters or email, so the former Letters page is now our CM Interactive page, where we can let you know about the great content related to each issue that we just couldn’t fit into print, but want to share with you. These extra images, recipes, videos, archive articles, and suggestions for expanded reading will be included in the browser-based version of the issue available to all print subscribers online (all you need is a computer or tablet with an internet connection and your subscriber number from your mailing label), and posted in abbreviated form on our website, www.ceramicsmonthly.org, and on social media. Check out page 14 to see what we have planned for this issue’s extras.–Jessica Knapp, editor.