Clay time

CeramicsA cross-program collaboration featuring artist Trisha Baga transforms the ceramics studio and offers inspiraiton. 

By Amelia Spinney, guest blogger
Undergraduate and graduate students as well as staff members experimented in clay in February at the Allston studio of the Ceramics Program at the Office for the Arts at Harvard. Trisha Baga, a founding member of the Ceramic Club of New York, came to campus as part of the Josep Lluis Sert Practitioner in the Arts program, a project of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts  that brings together artists and students. The Ceramic Club, which meets monthly at Greenwich House in New York City, makes a wild variety of forms, and while Baga was at Harvard, students worked under her guidance to create an array of unique items including clay protest signs, cats doing crunches and magical figures. (View a slideshow of the event here.)

CeramicsBaga is best known for immersive installations that project video through fields of hand-wrought objects. She showed films while visiting campus, including one that required the used of electronic 3-D glasses, and one that was projected against a disco ball as part of a screening held at the Harvard Ed Portal.

Dina Deitsch, interim director at the CCVA, and Kathy King, director of education at the Ceramics Program, joined forces to coordinate Baga’s visit and to transform the gallery at the ceramics program into an active art-making space for the week.

“We were thrilled to offer Trisha this unique residency,” said Deitsch. “Trisha opened her studio practice to the students and general public through a complicated, multi-pronged program of making and screenings, which would not have been possible in any other space.”

“Trisha transformed our environment to one intent on exploration of the immediacy ceramics can provide as a transformative material – specifically with the range of narratives Trisha provided as inspiration,” said King.

Students and other participants will be invited later this semester to glaze the clay sculptures they built. They’ll have the choice to donate the sculptures to a fundraiser hosted by the Ceramic Club, and selections of the donated sculptures will also be displayed in the Carpenter Center later this year. 

Amelia Spinney is a teaching fellow at the Visual and Environmental Studies program at Harvard, and an artist and educator in the Boston area.