Press Releases

Scholes hosting display of test tiles based on renowned Cushing’s Handbook

Alfred University | 12/04/19

Milo Beebe, a current art student at Alfred University, and the late Val Cushing
Milo Beebe, a current art student at Alfred University, and the late Val Cushing

An exhibition of ceramic tiles with glazes meticulously reproduced from the late Val Cushing’s landmark 1994 publication, Cushing’s Handbook, is on display on the main floor of Scholes Library, along with sketchbooks, tools and artifacts from Cushing’s pottery practice.


An exhibition of ceramic tiles with glazes meticulously reproduced from the late Val Cushing’s landmark 1994 publication, Cushing’s Handbook, is on display on the main floor of Scholes Library, along with sketchbooks, tools and artifacts from Cushing’s pottery practice. The exhibition will remain in the library through January.

 The display of test tiles alone offers an extraordinary overview of Cushing’s methodical and painstaking work with ceramic glazes during the course of his career as a ceramic artist and educator. The tiles were installed by Keith Simpson, raw materials technician at the School of Art and Design at Alfred University; Brooke Cashion, adjunct professor and Grinding Room assistant for SOAD; and John Hosford, art librarian/coordinator libraries.

Additional materials in the exhibition are on loan from Elsie and Eric Cushing of Alfred. The complete exhibition was mounted with the support of The Grinding Room at Alfred University and Scholes Library.

 The test tiles, arranged in neat rows in tall cases on the main floor of Scholes Library serve as an homage to Cushing’s works. The display details the myriad shades of color Cushing was able to achieve in his ceramic glazes; Simpson and Cashion achieved each shading using notes and recipes collected in Cushing’s Handbook.

 Cushing received his BFA from Alfred University’s School of Art and Design in 1952. He returned to Alfred University after a two-year stint with the U.S. Army in Korea and completed his MFA in 1956. After a short stint teaching in Illinois, he again returned to Alfred where he taught until retirement in 1997 and was designated professor emeritus. He died in 2013.

He remains a revered figure in the history of ceramic art. His classical, utilitarian stoneware vessels were included in more than 200 exhibitions over his career, and his work can be found in the collections of many public and private museums and galleries, including the Smithsonian, the Brooklyn Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt, and the Everson Museum of Art.

Cushing also devoted his life to teaching students both at Alfred and various craft schools and schools throughout the world. In 1987 he was named a Fellow of the American Craft Council. Additional awards included an artist grant from the National Endowment of the Arts; a Fulbright grant for teaching and research in Manchester, England; and an artist-in-residence grant at the Archie Bray Foundation, as well as at the University of Wolverhampton, England.

Images of the tiles may also be viewed at www.alfredgrindingroom.co....