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Liz Quackenbush Workshop

Ornament and Abstraction - 2006

Liz will share three days at MudFire in a hands-on workshop focused on the ornamentation and creation of handbuilt vessels. Her research into European and Islamic decorative traditions in clay have deeply influenced her work. This influence will add an important historical component to the workshop experience through slides and discussion.

The conceptual emphasis will be on ornamentation as a means to make the world more complex and beautiful. Participants will learn to create vessels that begin to develop an abstract visual language based on metaphor and symbolism. We will work with low fire clay and glazes, exploring handbuilding and brushwork glaze techniques. Please bring an inquisitive mind, an eager set of hands, and a small amount of "glaze-ready" bisque ware made in low fire clay.

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Three day Workshop
Hands On November 3-5, 2006
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
This workshop has passed and is no longer available.  Check out some of our Upcoming Workshops

Liz Quackenbush Artist Statement

Many years ago, when I was initially searching for my own artistic voice as a ceramic sculptor, I recognized kindred spirits in ceramic traditions that found inspiration in their immediate environment. Twenty years have passed since I first became aware of the ceramic Cretan "octopus "pots decorated with the image of the Mediterranean octopus they were used to trap on the sea floor, the Peruvian fertility jugs sculpted in the form of copulating frogs, and the Chinese Han Dynasty stacked house pieces which include figures leaning from the windows spilling dirty water off upper balconies. I remembered the time when I realized what all of these folk pots had in common. The beauty found in everyday life inspired them.

From this moment of enlightenment, I found permission to draw directly from the small wonders in my own life. The toads found underneath rocks by my seven-year-old son have inspired my butter dishes. Banana slugs, which surrounded my picnic blanket in the Redwood forest, have turned into serving dishes.

Years passed and as my knowledge of clay traditions grew, I became inspired by nave ceramics made during the 13th through the 17th centuries in Iran, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, and England. For example, the bumpy surface beneath the gold luster on my pieces hearkens back to the hammered metal dinnerware forms mimicked in the 13th century Iranian earthenware. The blue and white painted decoration on my pots is reminiscent of Staffordshire painted ware made in the late 18th century and early 19th century England. The copper green hatched worked pattern that I used was first used by 8th century Spanish Moors.

After years of looking outward to other traditions for inspirations, I have started responding directly to my own life and environment. Spending time each summer living in the green hills of Vermont and at the Jersey shore has had an effect on my work. Seeking to seduce the user with the dynamic natural charm of earthenware, my work romanticizes the creepy-crawly beauty of the great outdoors. The patterns of animal and reptile skins inspire my surface decoration decisions. The forms of these creatures give birth to my pottery forms.

My goal in creating ceramic work is to bridge the divide between elegant china and down to earth pottery. I deliberately leave clay surfaces irregular so that they look handled and handlable. I want my pottery to invite use, while also subverting contemporary "run of the mill" preconceptions of what is, can and should be. As I seek to develop my own "garden of earthly delights" motif, I draw inspiration from the tradition of personal intimation in ceramic form and decoration that has been handed down, quite literally, through the ages.

Liz Quackenbush Resume

1985, M.F.A., School for American Craftsmen at Rochester Institute of Technology; Rochester, NY
1984, Apprentice-Moravian Pottery and Tile Works; Doylestown, PA
1980, B.F.A., Colorado University, Boulder, CO
Foreign Travel - Crete, Greece, France, Mexico, Italy, England, Wales, Ireland
Outstanding Experience:
2003-5, TOUR NO. 11,12, & 13 ST. CROIX POTTERS, Potteries surrounding Minneapolis Area, St. Croix River Valley, MN. Exhibitor
2003, FUNCTIONAL CERAMICS, CONFERENCE, WORKSHOP AND EXHIBITION; The Wayne Center For The Arts, Wooster, OH. Lecturer, Demonstrator, and Exhibitor
2002, ISLAMIC CERAMIC TRADITIONS SYMPOSIUM; Radcliff College, Boston, MA. Lecturer, Demonstrator, Exhibitor
2000, CONVERSATIONS: A Potters Colloquium, Chester Springs Studio; Chester Springs, PA. I was one of seven participants assembled by Mark Pharis and Linda Sikora. Five days of discussion and an exhibition.
Teaching Experience:
2001, Associate Professor of Art, School of Visual Arts, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
1995-2001, Assistant Professor of Art, School of Visual Arts, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
2003, Faculty, Santa Fe Clay, Santa Fe, NM
2002, Faculty, Arrowmont School for Crafts, Gatlinburg, PA
2001, Faculty, Penland School of Arts and Crafts, Co-taught class with Peter Beasecker; Penland, NC
1999, Faculty, Anderson Ranch - Ceramics; Snowmass, CO
1994, Faculty, Organic Forms and Glazes; Truro Arts Center, Truro, MA
1992, Faculty, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts - Ceramics: Response to Site; Deer Isle, ME
1991, Ceramic Lecturer - University of Colorado; Boulder, CO
ONE PERSON EXHIBITION, Red Star Gallery, Kansas City, KS
SOLO EXHIBITION, as part of the Water Gropious Master Artist series, Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV
EARTHENWARE POTTERS, Baltimore NCECA, Homewood House, Johns Hopkins Campus, Baltimore, MD
THE ANIMAL INSTINCT, Baltimore Clay Works, Baltimore MD. Traveling Exhibition
FERTILE EARTH, The Target Gallery, The Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, VA
LA MESA, (During NCECA) The Baltimore convention Center, Baltimore, MD
THE BIG SHOW-(during NCECA), 4 Star Gallery, Indianapolis, IN
CERAMIC INVITATIONAL, Parkland Art Gallery, Parkland College, Champaign, IL
5 X 30, AKAR Gallery, Iowa City, IA
CONSUMING PASSION: EDIBLE BY DESIGN, Ross Art Museum, Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH
AFTER PALLISSY, Lacoste Gallery, Concord, MA
NCECA 2003 CLAY NATIONAL; R.B. Stevenson Gallery, San Diego, CA
21st CENTURY CERAMICS: An Extensive Survey of the best of current work in the U.S. and Canada; Columbus, OH
FUNCTIONAL CERAMICS 2003, Wayne Center for the Arts, Wooster OH
MAIOLICA, Santa Fe Clay, Santa Fe, NM
ISLAMIC CERAMIC TRADITIONS; The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA
REGARDING CLAY, NCECA Endowment Benefit Auction; Belger Arts District, Kansas City, MO
MAIOLICA EXHIBITION; Silver Works Gallery, Lawrence, KS
THE SNAKE IN THE GARDEN; Victoria Art Gallery, Bath , UK (cataloque); Midland Arts Centre, Birmingham, UK; Tullie House Museum, Carlisle, UK; Surrey Institute of Art and Design, Surrey, UK; Bilston Craft Gallery and Museum, Wolverhampton, UK
Grants and Awards:
2005, Pennsylvania Council on the Art Individual Fellowship recipient
2003, Grant Institute for the Arts and Humanities Studies, Penn State University
2002, Grant, Faculty Research, Grant, Penn State University
2001, Grant, Institute for the Arts and Humanistic Studies, Penn State University, University Park, PA
2001, Grant, Faculty Research Grant, Penn State University, University Park, PA
2001, Purchase Award, National Conference for the Education of the Ceramic Arts, National Head Quarters; Denver, Colorado
2000, Grant, Institute for the Arts and Humanistic Studies, Penn State University, University Park, PA
2004, Periodical: Kerameiki, Glen Brown; Published in Greece, (text)
2003, Book: The Decorative Vase; Lark Books, (photo and text)
2002, Book: The Penland Book of Ceramics, Linda Arbuckle, Lark Books, (photo and text)
2002, Book: The Ceramic Surface, Mathias Ostermann, London: A&C Black, (photo and text)
2001, Book: The Art of Contemporary American Pottery, Kevin A. Hluch, Krause Publications, (photo and caption).
1999, Newspaper: New York Times, Sunday, November 21, pg.16 Art Reviews (color photo and text)
1999, Book: The New Maiolica: Contemporary Approaches to Colour and Technique, Mathias Ostermann, London: A & C Black, pg.131 (photo and text)
1999, Book: Painted Ceramics: Colour and Imagery on Clay, Brenda Pegrum, Wiltshire, UK: The Crowood Press, pgs.21, 152-154, page opposite title page (photos and text)
1999, Book: Slipware: Contemporary Approaches, Victoria and Michael Eden, London: A & C Black, pg. 130-133
Permanent Collections:
Tullie House Museum, Carlislle,UK
Aberystwyth Arts Center, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Wales
NCECA Permanent Collection, NCECA Headquarters; Denver, CO
George R. Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Canada
Islip Art Museum, Islip, NY
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ