Clay is intimate and impressionable. It responds immediately to the touch of the artist, a touch it will carry the rest of its life. Ceramics is a diverse medium that includes a range of possibilities from the functional vessel to large-scale sculpture. It is a medium that fosters participation and a sense of community. MECA’s Ceramics program also is intimate, diverse, and communal. Its team of working, professional faculty deeply engage students in the continuum of the full creative process, from making clay to firing kilns.
His ceramic artwork explores the counterpoint of control and chance. The constructed clay forms: vases, jars, teapots, platters and pouring vessels, are glazed with the intention that the glazes will interact with each other and the kiln atmosphere to create a synthesis of material, form, and process. His artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States. Mark has received individual artist fellowships from the Maine Arts Commission and the New England Foundation for the Arts/NEA.
BFA and MFA, Kent State University
Ceramics Faculty - Mark Johnson
Ben Gaboury '09
HometownNorth Attleboro, Massachusetts
I got into it in high school. I came here pretty much knowing I would major in Ceramics. It just came naturally to me.
HOW HAS IT EVOLVED?
My style has changed a lot – I’ve taken a lot from art history classes, and I think it really shows in my work. A lot of my work is inspired by different artists. I started adding imagery to my work - from stencils at first, and then drawing by hand.
YOU DRAW ON YOUR CERAMICS?
I do. I discovered an underglaze pen online and tried it out. It lets me combine ceramics and drawing. I wouldn’t want to do one without the other.
DID FOUNDATION HELP?
Yes—even years after the foundation, you find you still use everything you learned.
BESIDES CERAMICS, WHAT’S IN STORE?
I’d like to be a college professor someday.
Ben Gaboury '09, Ceramics
What are some of the career paths for someone who majors in Ceramics?
Our ceramics graduates have gone on to a range of careers. Some have become successful studio artists making and selling there work in galleries and on-line. Other graduates have gone to work in larger production studios. A number of our graduates have gone into K-12 education. Graduates have opened there own galleries. Others have gone on to earn MFA degrees in graduate school. Our graduates have been hired as technical assistants at colleges and art centers.
How do you prepare your students for the real world?
The ceramics curriculum provides the students with a rigorous course of study that prepares them for the real world. Ceramics majors take courses take teach them how to formulate and make their own clay and glazes. They also learn how to fire a range of kilns. Majors learn about the history of the medium as well as issues of contemporary practice and theory. Students also take a course in professional practices that prepares them for a career as a practicing artist.
What are the prerequisites to major in Ceramics?
Students take two semesters of ceramics electives as the prerequisite to major.
What unique skills do your students get?
The ceramics students get a deep experience with a range of ceramic processes. There is a strong commitment to gaining confidence with the medium. Ceramics majors take courses take teach them how to formulate and make their own clay and glazes. They also learn how to fire a range of kilns. Students are provided with access to a state of the art facility with excellent ventilation.
Will I be able to incorporate other media or interests with my work as a Ceramics major?
Ceramics majors are encouraged to develop and explore their personal interests in their major work. Students have often chosen to incorporate a range of materials into their art work. There is a ceramics elective course called Mystery, Material, and Metaphor that requires the use of multiple materials.
What are some of the classes that are offered in your department?
Introduction to Handbuilding, Introduction to Throwing, Advanced Throwing, Tableware, Atmospheric Firing: Raku and Soda, Mystery, Materials, and Metaphor Clay, Culture, and Context, Slip Casting, Clay and Glaze Chemistry, Junior Studio, Senior Studio
What are the faculty like?
All of the Faculty in the ceramics department are master teacher committed to providing students with thorough education. the ceramics faculty are active studio artists the are showing and publishing work nationally.
What are your facilities like?
The ceramics facilities are excellent, there are 30 electric wheels, 6 electric kilns of various sizes, 2 test kins, two updraft gas car kiln an indoor Raku kiln and a soda kiln, rooms for clay mixing, glaze mixing, and moldmaking
There are separate studios for the ceramics majors.
What are some examples of internships your students have done in the past?
Students have interned at the Cathedral School and gained valuable teaching experience. Students have interned with practicing studio artists and at community art studios.
How many students (juniors and seniors) do you typically have in your major?
There are typically 12 to 18 ceramics majors.
Can you give me some examples of Artist at Work in your department?
Ceramics students have taught in the Cathedral School program, held annual an Senior Ceramics exhibition, participated in Holiday Sale events and gallery shows outside of MECA. Many students have attended summer workshops at national craft centers including Haystack, Penland, and Watershed Center for Ceramic Art.