After Alfred A Ceramic Homecoming.

Linda Cordell, Samantha Henneke, Kristen Kieffer, Aysha Peltz, Elizabeth Vorlicek, Adero Willard, Blake Jamison Williams

Opening Reception: Friday, November 5, 6pm-8pm
Ceramic Demos: Friday November 5, 9am-12pm or 1pm-4pm

Early memories of playing in the mud, sand. Play-Dog and flour dough connect us to clay. These memories are what shape us as makers and continue to pull us back now to porcelain, terracotta and stoneware. Throwing clay, trimming a foot on a pot, pouring slip into a mold, and rolling a coil are quintessentially mindful activities. The impulse is to squish and form in the mud and plastic materials is that the core of our practices as artists and humans on this earth. Curiosity and tapping into the senses is critical to the work of these seven artists being in a material that can look and be transformed into anything. Their connection to material, idea and history is inherently translated to the viewer through a critical sense of wonder and discovery. The artists in after Alfred: a ceramic homecoming are linked in a shared undergraduate educational experience that encouraged a respect of what material can do in all stages of the process.

The seven artists in after Alfred: a ceramic homecoming graduated from the NYSCC at Alfred in 1995 with their BFA degrees Peltz and Vorlicek returned to Alfred to pursue their MFA degrees in the ceramics. Willard is now a visiting assistant professor at Alfred working with the next generation in clay. Vorlicek remembers Andrea Gill encouraging her to apply to exhibitions and to forge opportunities as a group with fellow Alfred graduates. In 2018 she and Blake Williams did just that when they started discussing the possibility of designing an exhibition for the NCECA 2020 conference in Richmond. Vorlicek said,  “we wanted to bring together a group of strong Alfred women who worked in the field of ceramics and art, who pursued teaching careers in high school and higher education and show studio pottery and other avenues for bringing their art into the world.” Because of the pandemic, the group's exhibition was realized a year later in their online exhibition of Our Past Shapes Our Present in Cincinnati. The group is thrilled to show the common gallery with after Alfred, and to be a part of the legacy in Alfred clay.

This exhibition was organized with the help of Sharon McConnell's exhibition design class. The students researched the artists, made miniatures of all the artwork and a scale model to assist with the layout of the show, installed the work, and finally lit the exhibition. This speaks to the power of the colon gallery, as a profound teaching tool, and the relationships that have already formed with current Alfred students and alumni in a ceramic continuum.

The artist would like to thank Sharon McConnell and her class for giving us this exhibition opportunity. We would also like to thank the offered university community, including the faculty, staff, TAs, and fellow students for the support we have received throughout our time at Alfred and supporting our careers in the following years.

 — Elizabeth Vorlicek