Professional ceramics artists will give a joint lecture at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow in Speight Auditorium. The artists will also be doing open live demos in the ceramics survey classroom throughout the day.
Although Laurie Caffery and Tyler James Anderson have different specializations within the ceramics world, they have worked together on many occasions in the past and have developed a friendship in addition to a work rapport over the years. Caffery said their lecture will discuss their varied backgrounds and will allow for questions about making art a career.
“Pursuing a livelihood in art is like the wild wild west, particularly in today's market where an artist typically has to play the role of their own marketing and brand management team in addition to the role of artist,” Caffery said.
Caffery is a studio artist who runs her own studio art business under her name and makes functional ceramics. She spent time teaching pottery but said “she felt the pull towards” pursuing a career producing her own pieces full time. After spending some time developing both her business and her craft, she began making pottery full time in 2019.
She loves what she is doing because she feels an innate need to create and loves the freedom that producing her own work professionally gives her.
“Working creatively has been essential to my emotional well being since I was a child. In short, when I'm not making something I'm excited about, I feel that something is just not right. As an adult, I also love that I am able to call the shots and run my own business,” Caffery said.
Anderson is the owner and founder of Moon Hand Pottery in Asheville, NC. He said his main focuses within ceramics are on “slipcast and wheel thrown functional porcelain, as well as wall tile installations.” Although his background is in music, he ultimately chose to pursue ceramics as his career.
“There is something special and magical about bending the elements to your will to create something as humble as a cup. The ceramic arts also allow a great deal of creative experimentation and demand a wide breadth of knowledge to achieve one's desired effect,” Anderson said. “I find that I thrive in situations where creative problem solving comes into play and clay likes to throw you curveballs constantly.”
Emily Thomas, junior fine arts major with a concentration in ceramics and vice president of the ECU Ceramics Guild, said that as a fellow functional potter, she is very excited for the artists’ visit.
“Outside of ECU, I would not have the opportunity to attend live demonstrations and ask questions about working potters in the industry. During their stay, we get to learn new skills and techniques, but we also get to build connections with the artists, and we have a lot of fun too,” Thomas said.
Caffery said that she is excited to visit ECU because she loves when she gets the chance to return to her roots of teaching and connect with fellow artists, sharing knowledge and seeing how other studios run.
She said that even people without a specialization in ceramics or even art will be able to find something helpful or interesting in their lecture.
“I am so glad for every opportunity I had in college to learn from creatives in different fields because it helped me understand what I ultimately wanted to chase in my career,” Caffery said.
The lecture and the demonstrations throughout the day tomorrow are free and open to the public.